International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Network

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The International Concierge & Lifestyle Management Network

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  • September 06, 2017 10:22 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    What many of you don't know is that I have quietly been designing and maintaining our numerous websites for years now. I taught myself website design years ago because we didn't have enough money to hire someone to do it for us. Since there was so little information on it back then, believe it or not  my only resource to learn how to do a website was to read the Microsoft word "help" file. Took a few weeks, but our website finally went up around 1995. 

    Needless to say, I've learned a few things since those early days. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me over the years...

    Keep your website up-to-date.

    If visitors notice that your content isn’t up-to-date, then you lose credibility and quite possibly a valuable client! You should visit your website every week and add copy, articles, images and the like. I also suggest you remove any information that might be obsolete.  At the very least please make sure that your copyright date is in the current year and your blog has current articles in it.  

    Click here to read more

    What many of you don't know is that I have quietly been designing and maintaining our numerous websites for years now. I taught myself website design years ago because we didn't have enough money to hire someone to do it for us. Since there was so little information on it back then, believe it or not  my only resource to learn how to do a website was to read the Microsoft word "help" file. Took a few weeks, but our website finally went up around 1995. 

    Needless to say, I've learned a few things since those early days. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me over the years...

    Keep your website up-to-date.

    If visitors notice that your content isn’t up-to-date, then you lose credibility and quite possibly a valuable client! You should visit your website every week and add copy, articles, images and the like. I also suggest you remove any information that might be obsolete.  

    At the very least please make sure that your copyright date is in the current year and your blog has current articles in it.  

    Give people a reason to come back

    Don't just put up a website and then never edit it again. A website is a living and breathing thing that needs to change. This way they don't forget you.  

    • Perhaps add a calendar of special events around town
    • List shows/events you can get tickets to
    • Create a blog!
    • Add some articles or a resource directory with helpful links and information

    Use the new technologies that come along and give clients a reason to come back and again and again.

    Your ABOUT US page

    One of my biggest pet peeves is the "about us" page. I can't tell you how many sites I have visited that only have two or three general sentences telling me about their company. 

    When I hire someone, I always go to their site and read about them. I want to read about the business owners and find out how much experience they have. If there is a picture of the owner, even better!  If I see no information about the owner or the company, I often wonder what they are hiding and why.  Do I hire them? Not very often.

    Address your client’s objections within the copy of your website

    Some good ones include...
    • I don't have enough time.
    • I don't have enough money.
    • It won't work for me.
    • I don't believe you.
    • I don't need it.
    Write a short paragraph addressing these concerns and any others you come up with. 

    Tell me where you are located!

    I understand that you want privacy. Trust me I get it. However, I can't tell you how many websites I have visited that don't have their location on it!  All I get is the company name, telephone number, an email address or contact us box and that's it!  If I do a Google search on a company in Raleigh NC for example, and I type in "Raleigh Concierge" ... if you don't have the words "Raleigh, NC" somewhere on your website, the search engines will not pull it up. So you'll lose a LOT of local business. At the very least put your city/state/country somewhere on your site.

    Until next time!

  • August 08, 2017 10:36 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    I’ve received quite a few scam emails recently. One in particular wanted to hire us to do dozens of things for them. This scam (called the Nigerian Advanced Fee Scam), places a legitimate order for services from your company. All of a sudden they get desperate and need everything immediately! So you go out and purchase everything they require and ship it to them. Of course they promise many more services from you. The bank draft they send to you, or the credit card they give you, bounces of course.

    That being said, I thought it might be helpful to post a few tips on how you can spot these emails …

    First and most important ... if they ask you if you take credit cards IT'S A SCAM! Everyone on the planet accepts credit cards.

    Was the email really written by the person who sent it? If I send an email, my automatic signature with our logo is clearly displayed at the bottom. You’ll never receive an email from me unless it’s there.

    Look at the return address. Scammers tend to use the free email accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail. Plus, their contact information is never at the bottom of the email. In fact, you won't see it at all.

    Is the email filled with grammar and spelling errors? If it is, most likely it’s a scam. Many scammers don’t speak English very well, let alone write it, so they tend to make a lot of mistakes. People in the business world never send an email out with errors. We also do not use a lot of exclamation points like this !!!!!! I use exclamation points but usually only one.

    Is the email written in all uppercase letters? Or all lowercase with no punctuation? It’s a scam!

    Is it from a guy name Chad who will be "in country"? The words "in country" are a HUGE tip off.

    Do I have to really tell you that if they want to wire you money (so please email me your bank account number) … DON’T!

    If they tell you “this is not a hoax” … it probably is.

    Don’t click on the link … or the file that is attached … ever!!! If you know them and are not expecting anything from this person, just shoot them a quick email asking if they just sent you a file.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. It’s a scam. I’ll bet you anything that you did not win millions of dollars from the lottery in the United Kingdom.

    If they ask for any type of personal information, don’t give it. A legitimate company will not email you requesting this information.

    If you get an email from a department store or business that you frequently use with a coupon code, don't trust it. Open up a new page on your browser, buy the item and paste the code there.

    If you receive a scam and would like to report it, here are a few links for you …

    https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx - the Internet Fraud Complaint Center. A partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center

    Forward the email to Spam@uce.gov … the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

    Report the scam to Consumer Fraud Reporting ... https://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/reporting.php

    Good luck!

    Katharine Giovanni

    (To read more about Mrs. Giovanni, please visit her website at www.KatharineGiovanni.com)

  • July 20, 2017 11:53 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    I was doing a search on companies the other day, specifically concierge companies, when I noticed something very odd. Most of the websites I found didn't give me any information about the owner of the company! The "about us" section was generic and had no names in it. There were no biographies, no list of staff ... nothing.

    I don't know about you, but I like to know who I am doing business with. I like to read about the history of a company, and when I call them, I also like to have a name to ask for.

    I completely understand that many of you might wish to remain anonymous for security reasons. I get that. I also understand that security issues might be why I can't find where you are located any where on your website. At least give me the city and state!

    That all being said, I have both good news and bad news.

    The good news is that hiding your name and company location will indeed help keep you secure in today's world.

    The bad news is that it might cost you customers.

    Hiding your name and company location might cause people to wonder why you are doing this. They might suspect that you have no experience, or worse that you have a something to hide. When I run across these websites, I wonder about their experience. Do I hire them? No.

    At the very least, I humbly suggest that you put your name and title on the website. You don't have to have a long biography, a short one will suffice.

    You also don't need to list your full address, just give me the city/state where you are located. I might not know that 212 is New York City, so to find out where you are I'll have to do an internet search on your area code. I've done this search many times over the years, but your clients won't. They'll just click off and go to your competitor.

    Here are a few more tips…

    Test your site on several browsers - Don't assume. That's my top tip for everything in regards to business. Never assume anything. For example, don't assume that since your website looks great on Chrome, it will look great on Firefox as well. It might not. I suggest you load it into several browsers. I also suggest that you make it "mobile" friendly so people can view it on their smart phones.

    Make sure your website is up to date! I found dozens of websites that looked like they hadn't been updated in months. Several had old logos on them that linked to companies/associations that are now out-of-business. If I noticed, then you can be sure a client will and that will cost you business. Telling the client that you belong to an association that no longer exists is not a good business practice and you might lose the client.

    The really bad news here is that you don't know how many clients you've already lost because they won't email you!!!!

    So if you are wondering where the clients are, I would go take a look at your website first.

    Until next time,

    Katharine


  • June 28, 2017 11:18 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    I had to go for a CAT scan a while back (I’m a breast cancer survivor so I get scanned regularly), and I often strike up a conversation with the hospital staff while I’m there. Being a concierge and front desk trainer, it’s become a habit to talk to people I stumble across during the day. If I can help just one person, it makes my day! 

    When we arrived, my husband and I parked in the lot of the hospital, walked into the reception area, signed in, and quietly sat down to wait for them to call my name. Ron has been a pillar of strength through this cancer nightmare and has been solidly by my side for every appointment, surgery and treatment. Five years later and he STILL comes with me to appointments. When they called my name, I walked over to the woman behind the first door so I could be registered for the test.

    “Good morning Mrs. Giovanni” she said brightly as I walked through the glass door.

    Is it a GOOD thing that everyone here knows me by name? I wondered as I sat down.

    “Are you the one who taught me to say ‘it was my pleasure‘ a few months ago?” she immediately asked me.

    “Yes, yes I am” I said to her smiling.

    “Oh, I’m so glad I’m the one checking you in today! I’ve been wanting to thank you for weeks now. I’ve been saying that ever since I saw you and the response has been amazing. Patients and staff are not only treating me better and with more respect, but I’m getting so much positive feedback! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. My supervisor loves it and said I might get moved up!”

    Click here to continue reading (plus there is a video on this page)

  • June 22, 2017 4:54 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    How would you answer Disney's famous question "what time is the 3 o'clock parade? Watch Katharine's video blog for the answer...


  • June 01, 2017 2:21 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    So many people have asked me about crazy concierge stories over the years, I finally decided to write them all down. Names and places have been removed to protect the innocent! Enjoy! 

    I’ve been teaching people how to be a concierge for 20 years now, and as a result I have collected some truly strange stories! Some are from independent concierge companies, others are from hotel and residential concierge.

    Concierge around the world are asked to do weird stuff all the time. Some are asked to purchase elaborate gifts, others might be asked to find rare animals like albino peacocks. Another friend of mine had to regularly feed a client’s chickens, while one concierge had to bail a client out of jail. If you search the internet for strange concierge and hotel stories, you’ll find tons of them. All part of the job for a concierge! As long as its legal, moral and ethical a concierge will do it.

    To protect everyone’s privacy, I am not going to reveal any names or cities. Although a few stories walk the line and might be rated R, they are all fun to read. 

    Want to read the stories?  Click here: https://katharinegiovanni.com/18-crazy-concierge-stories-wont-believe-asked/

  • May 22, 2017 2:48 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    If you would like to work for a concierge, or wish to start your own concierge business, then read on!  I've gathered some great resources to help you on your way. 

    Looking for a job as a concierge in a hotel or property?

    Here are some resources....
    You can also contact local concierge and hotels directly.

    Looking to work FOR an independent concierge company? 

    I suggest that you first look in our directory to see what companies are located within your city. 

    If you don't find any, then simply Google them by typing in your city name followed by the word concierge. For example, you could search for companies within Chicago by using the word "Chicago Concierge" and see who pops up!  Then just contact the companies.

    Want to start your own concierge company? 

    I can help. Just visit my website at www.KatharineGiovanni.com and click on "for entrepreneurs". You can also buy my book "The Concierge Manual". 

    Looking to train your concierge staff?  

    I love training!  Visit my website at www.katharinegiovanni.com to see what programs I offer.

    Good luck!

    Katharine


  • May 12, 2017 1:16 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Do you have your contact information on the emails that you send to people?

    No?

    You could be losing clients if you don't.

    I got an email just yesterday from someone who wanted to do business with me again. I knew this person so it was a legitimate email. What threw me wasn't what he said in the message. It was the fact that he didn't have any contact information at the end. No telephone, no website ... nothing! Just his name.

    If I'm going to take your email seriously, I have three house rules that I live by.

    First, if you don't have formal contact information at the end of your email, I'm going to assume you are spam and will delete you. At the very least, you should have your name, company, website and telephone number. I also have links to my social media pages in mine. I have set it up to automatically go on each and every email that I send out.

    Second, I check people out and will visit their website to see who they are. If you don't give it to me, then it's a safe bet that I'm not going to use your company.

    Third, if you don't address me by my real name I'm going to delete you. You get extra points for spelling it correctly. Please don't write to me as "Dear Giowell Group" because that tells me that you didn't take the time to look me up on my website and you have no idea what we do. I will usually just hit the delete key.

    I tell everyone to write your emails like you would a formal old-fashioned letter. With an opening and closing. Although I frequently use "with joy and peace" I have also used "sincerely", "kind regards" and "warm regards" depending on who I am writing. I always add a "thank you" as well. Your contact information should be at the bottom. Most people are on a tight schedule with tons to do and don't have the time to go and search out your website. So give them a tiny bit of information in your email! 

    Have a great week!

    Katharine

  • April 07, 2017 11:21 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


  • April 03, 2017 3:29 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Here it is in a nutshell … with all due respect ... 

    If you post a logo on your website that states you are a member of an association, Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, or the like, then it goes without saying here that you probably should be an actual member.

    Why?

    You are misleading your potential clients by telling them you are a member of an organization when you are not.

    I’ve been doing some research for a new edition of one of my books, and have been visiting people’s websites to see what new changes and trends are out there. While on a website, I often click on the logo they display to see if they are a member of a particular organization, or to find out more about the company.

    Imagine my surprise when I discovered many websites I visited are misleading people!!!

    Here’s what happened when I clicked on the logo they displayed …

    • It led me nowhere. Literally. The association was no longer in business.
    • It led me to an association, but their logo had changed.
    • It led me to a company, but when I searched their online directory I didn’t find them

    “Well, while I agree with you Katharine, no one really checks these things, so it doesn’t matter”

    REALLY?

    If I am going to hire you to do something for me, I guarantee you I’ll visit your website and will check on your credentials. Call me crazy, but I actually prefer working with companies who are actual members of chambers and associations, and who have taken the time (and money) to be professionally trained. If I find out that you are misleading me, then I’ll simply go to a competitor who actually DOES have these credentials.

    The sad thing here is that you won’t know it happened!!!

    So you're losing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars from a potential client who quietly scrolled to another company when they discovered that the links and logos (your credentials) on your website were false. It doesn't matter if you simply "forgot" to update it ... the result is the same. They will hire your competition.

    If you are telling people that you are honest and ethical and will do a great job for them, then I highly recommend that you be honest and ethical on your website. If you are NOT planning on renewing your dues with an organization, that's fine, then simply remove the logo!

    Lack of information will also scare them away. Allow me to explain.

    Your website is telling me to hire you because you have an awesome service or product, but you won’t tell me your name or what experience you have, and you’re telling me that you belong to associations when you don’t. Some of you don't even tell me what city you are located in!  How can I hire you if I don't know what city you're in?

    Would YOU hire them?

    Exactly my point.

    Here’s another quick tip … I also read people’s bio’s and “about us” pages, and what I found wasn’t pretty. While most had the page on their site, many gave me very general information about their company. They didn’t tell me what the owner’s name was, nor did they post what actual experience they had. I highly recommend you post your name, title, and a brief biography that tells me why I should hire you.

    Until next time!

    Katharine Giovanni

    (Katharine is Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of ICLMNet. She is a concierge & front desk staff trainer and consultant as well as a best-selling three time award-winning author. For more information please visit www.katharinegiovanni.com)


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