When Samuel Zaretsky needed to pick up train tickets in Manhattan, he faced a common dilemma for a busy professional: Where to find the time? Wouldn’t it be nice if he had his own concierge who could take care of the 50-minute roundtrip drive to the ticket office?
It turns out he did have a concierge.
A new concierge service for lawyers
It’s a new service offered by his employer, the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, with Circles by Sodexo, the food services and facilities management company. The concierge, which helps lawyers with everything from dining reservations to travel reservations, had just been up and running for a few weeks. Zaretsky, a real estate lawyer in Kirkland’s New York office, decided to give the service a try.
“A few hours later, the train tickets were delivered to my desk by a member of the concierge team,” he says. “I probably saved around two hours of time during peak business hours. And the concierge has been really helpful in researching and planning for other trips, too.”
Since then, the concierge has become invaluable to Zaretsky.
“My travel planning and trip organization has greatly benefited from access to the concierge service,” he says.
For concierge services, time is money
And as they say, time is money. That’s particularly true when you’re billing clients by the hour. Today, concierge services aren’t limited to hotels or platinum credit-card members. Even college students are getting their own concierges. They’re also making inroads at law firms and other organizations that want to improve their staff’s efficiency.
A concierge for lawyers isn’t to be confused with concierge lawyering, another popular trend. Concierge lawyering is a movement to offer better access to your lawyer. With a concierge lawyer, a client can meet a lawyer anywhere from their home or business or even set up a Skype meeting. Concierge lawyers make house calls like doctors used to, so that their clients don’t have to miss work to meet with an attorney.
A concierge helps lawyers make the most of their time
Kirkland’s concierge service flips the script, giving its lawyers a concierge.
“It’s a personal assistance service that offers life management solutions to assist our attorneys by saving time and bringing balance to their busy lives,” explains Libby Grant, Kirkland’s concierge. “The concierge service is free of charge, and assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
For a busy lawyer like Zaretsky, having the Kirkland concierge on hand has helped him make the most of his time.
“It’s great that companies are acknowledging that employees want to both work hard and maximize their time at work and have stress-free fun and maximize their time outside of work,” he says. “On-site concierge services enhance both worlds.”
Here are some of the requests concierges handle for lawyers
Grant, the Kirkland concierge, says her team has fulfilled several noteworthy requests since opening in late 2018.
- One attorney was away from home on his daughter’s third birthday, working on a trial. He requested a specific bicycle for her gift. The concierge bought it, arranged for it to be assembled, and delivered it on on her birthday.
- A Kirkland attorney left his coat at the barbershop he visited with his son. The concierge arranged a pickup so he did not have to go back.
- The concierge also found a Christmas tree for an attorney who was visiting friends in London. He delivered it to the apartment door, along with a Christmas tree stand.
- Another attorney asked the concierge to buy two pairs of dog booties for her two dogs. After extensive research, the Kirkland concierge found a store that still had dog booties in stock in the middle of a winter storm.
Some requests are elaborate. One attorney had to travel internationally, with the closing on her new house scheduled a little more than two weeks away. She contacted the concierge for help with the move. The concierge found a full-service mover who handled everything while she was away. She even booked the movers, packers and other contractors and arranged for unwanted items to be donated. The concierge also coordinated activities with the realtor and the new condo board, and took care of the details necessary to move out of her home of 18 years and into a new place.
“We do everything from sending last-minute flowers or a gift to a friend, spouse, client, to comparing flight and hotel prices,” says Grant. “We even helped an attorney who cracked a phone screen five hours before leaving for an international flight and needed to get it fixed. Kirkland Concierge found someone that would go to the attorney’s home and fix the phone screen before leaving for the flight.”
How Kirkland’s lawyers use their concierge
Talk to Kirkland’s lawyers, and they’ll tell you that the concierge — which is free to use — frees them up to do more with their time. That seems to be the value proposition for a firm like Kirkland and one of the reasons Sodexo is offering more concierge services to its clients. Ultimately, it allows their customers to deliver better customer service.
Lauren Biksacky, an attorney in Kirkland’s Chicago office, started using the concierge after two colleagues told her about it. Her co-workers used for everything from picking up contact lenses they forgot at home to dropping off a down payment check at a realtor’s office for a recent condo purchase.
“I realized that the concierge service is really designed to make our lives easier,” she says. “I have been taking advantage of this perk ever since.”
Biksacky says she views time as her most valuable asset. For her, the real-time savings have come in unexpected ways. Take her clothing subscription from Rent the Runway Unlimited in Chicago.
“It’s a 20-minute walk, each way, from our office to the store, and I go several times a week for my returns,” she explains. “When I discovered that Kirkland Concierge would make all my returns for me, it was a game-changer. While I still do sometimes return items myself to break up the day and get some exercise and sunlight, the concierge has saved me countless hours with my clothing subscription returns alone.”
She adds, “I estimate Kirkland Concierge saves me anywhere from two to four hours every week with personal errands.”
Are concierges the future of customer service?
It’s easy to see the benefits to customers. Whether you’re a time-strapped college student or busy attorney, a concierge lets customers focus on what they do best. Often, that directly affects customer service.
Adding an employee-facing service like a concierge may not be the first idea that comes to mind when a company thinks about ways to improve customer service. But, if Kirkland’s experience holds true for others, it might be the right one.