What is a Virtual Concierge?


If you are not familiar with the term, you might be wondering, “What is a virtual concierge?”

A virtual concierge saves you time by performing tasks within his capabilities.  Sometimes, a virtual concierge is quite skilled and can save you hours on a task.

A virtual concierge, or virtual assistant, may be well educated or not.

He may perform simple or complex tasks for you.  But what exactly can a virtual concierge do for you?

What Does a Virtual Concierge Do?

There are many services that a virtual concierge can perform, including both standard tasks and others that you might not expect!

Mundane Tasks

A virtual concierge can perform some of the more mundane tasks in your life, to save you time and boredom.  For instance, your virtual concierge can schedule appointments and manage your calendar.

He can also answer your phone calls and take messages while you are busy.  In addition, he can make calls on your behalf, to try to get in touch with busy people.  Finally, he can fill out paperwork for you, whether it is a car registration, a business license, or a permit application.

Negotiation, Reservations, Hiring, and Events

A virtual concierge can perform some more advanced tasks as well.  For one thing, he can negotiate with vendors, suppliers, or customers on your behalf.

He can also make reservations for restaurants, theaters, or other events.  In addition, he can help you to hire a chef, personal trainer, or other professional.  Finally, he can buy and send flowers, gifts, and cake for events like birthdays and anniversaries.

Organization, Planning, Research

A virtual concierge can perform all of the above, but he may have a few other tricks up his sleeve!  For one thing, a good virtual concierge may be able to handle organization for a project you are working on, acting as a go-between for you and subcontractors or freelancers.

He can also help to plan an event, such as a wedding, birthday party, or dinner date.  Finally, a virtual concierge can conduct research to answer questions you may have.  This can save you valuable time, which you can spend on other things, whether business or personal.

Who Uses a Virtual Concierge?

Many different people and companies may use the services of a virtual concierge.  The following list is by no means exhaustive, but will give you a good idea of the variety of situations where a virtual concierge can help you.

Hotels

Hotels may use one of two virtual concierges: a machine, or a remote human being working for the hotel.

A machine may not be able to answer advanced questions or fulfill unusual requests – at least not yet!  However, a machine can answer some basic questions for hotel guests.  Usually, this means a kiosk with a touch screen and answers to frequently asked questions.

This type of virtual concierge can help newly arrived hotel guests to get their bearings.  It can also help them with suggestions for local restaurants and attractions.  The machine will likely have some information on each suggestion.  It might even be able to book a reservation for you!

For anything else, a machine can refer you to a human virtual concierge.  This person can try to negotiate to get you into a restaurant if there are no openings.  This would be difficult for a machine to do.  A human virtual concierge may also be able to send out for anything you need that the hotel does not carry.

Apartment Complexes

At high-end apartment complexes, a virtual concierge may be assigned to one or more tenants.  A virtual concierge can help new tenants to get their bearings by answering questions about the local area.

He might also provide recommendations for places to buy new furniture, the best place for exotic grocery lists, and a killer Thai restaurant.  In addition, he can help a tenant to find the ingredients and decorations for hosting the perfect dinner party.

When a tenant moves out, the virtual concierge might even help the tenant to find reliable moving services in the area.  The name of the game is making sure the tenants stay happy, so that they stay longer!

Business Owners

A business owner will have different needs than a hotel or apartment complex.  Some things a virtual concierge can do for a business owner include:

  • creating and managing a website (pictures, content, editing, SEO, fielding customer inquiries)
  • screening and hiring contractors and freelancers providing services to the business
  • taking and making calls
  • managing the business owner’s schedule
  • typing and proofreading an audio or video version of a speech or book

A virtual concierge can help a business owner to save time, which he can then use to grow his business.  In this way, a virtual concierge often pays for himself, due to an increase in business productivity.

New Parents

Many times, new parents are overwhelmed with the responsibility of a newborn.  This is compounded when one or both parents need to return to work.

A virtual concierge can help by:

  • arranging for errands to be done for the couple (groceries, bill payments, etc.)
  • performing research to answer parent questions about newborns
  • arranging for a competent and responsible babysitter or daycare, and screening multiple candidates

Couples with two or more children, all close in age, will have even more need for this type of assistance.

Is a Virtual Concierge Worth the Cost?

You might be wondering whether it is worth the price to pay a virtual concierge.  This all depends on how much money you can make with the time you save.

Example

A lawyer can spend an hour mowing his lawn, and not spend any money.

Instead, he decides to hire a local landscaper to mow his lawn.

The landscaper spends one hour mowing the lawn, and charges $30.

The lawyer works on a case for a client, billing at $200 per hour.

The lawyer earns $200 during this hour, but pays $30 to the landscaper.

Thus, the lawyer ends up $170 ahead.

Of course, there are other considerations.  If the lawyer finds it relaxing or likes the exercise, then he should mow his own lawn.  However, many tasks are arduous, at best, and a waste of your time, at worst.

In these cases, you should outsource the work to others and spend the time on something else.  If you outsource the work to someone more efficient at the task than you are, you can save both time and money!

Let’s look at an example in the context of hiring a virtual concierge.

Example

A business owner wants to proofread and optimize his website.  He thinks it will take 10 hours.

Instead, he hires a virtual concierge, skilled in web design, to do the work for him.

The virtual concierge estimates 5 hours of work at $40 per hour, or $200 total.

The business owner decides to spend 5 hours on business development that day, making $400 in sales.

So, the business owner spends 5 hours working, instead of 10 hours.

The business owner also earns $400 in sales, but pays only $200 to the virtual concierge.

Thus, the business owner has an extra $200 to spend, and an extra 5 hours in which to spend it!

Many people refuse to spend even one penny hiring others, out of some misguided sense of frugality.  Before you make this same mistake of doing everything yourself, think long term.  Also, think about the time and money you can save by outsourcing.  It could be more than you think!

One word of warning: make sure to hire a competent virtual concierge for the tasks you wish to outsource!  Hiring someone without the necessary skills might mean that you spend more time and money correcting mistakes, instead of saving time and money!

Once you find a competent virtual concierge, hold on to him at all costs.

When Should I Hire a Virtual Concierge?

There are a few circumstances when you might want to hire a virtual concierge, even when the calculations above suggest otherwise.  These are cases when you are thinking long-term for your business or personal life.

Too Much Demand on Your Time

If you are extremely busy in your personal life, it might be time to hire a virtual concierge to take care of some tasks for you.  The reduction in stress from an extra hour per day of freedom can mean the difference between health and illness.

Don’t let pride stand in the way of hiring people to help you!  Henry Ford, John Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie were all masters of business.  However, they didn’t build their empires by running around frazzled while refusing to hire anyone.  Keep that in mind!

Your Business is Expanding

If you are a business owner and your business is growing, you should consider hiring a virtual concierge.  As hinted at in a previous example, a business owner often has more important things to do than setting appointments and proofreading websites.

An executive needs to have his mind and calendar clear to make decisions that will affect the future of the business.  We each have 24 hours in a day.  Anyone who misuses his time, whether a high school student or a business owner, will not see the results he wants.

You Want a Contingent Workforce

A virtual concierge is a good option if you need help in your business, but do not want to hire a full-time worker with salary, benefits, and all of the headaches (payroll, insurance, etc.) that go along with it.

How Do I Hire a Virtual Concierge?

Hiring a virtual concierge will depend upon the type of business or personal services you need.  You will want to check references and credentials, see work samples, and interview any candidates before making a final decision.

For more information, check out my article on how to find virtual assistants.

Also, check out my article on how to hire remote employees.

Conclusion

Hopefully this cleared up any confusion about virtual concierges and what they do.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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