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  • August 21, 2019 1:36 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    My number one business tip of all time?

    Switch out the words “you’re welcome” to “it was my pleasure.”

    Many of you have heard me tell this to people. What you might not have heard is WHY I tell people to do this.

    In today’s high-tech world where we are all actively staring at our phones, true customer service tends to get lost. You say “thank you” to someone, and you might get a quick “sure” or a nod of their chin. Saying “it was my pleasure” is a display of authentic kindness. When someone is expressing their gratitude by saying “thank you”, answering with a casual “no problem” or “it’s nothing” trivializes and devalues it.

    Is THAT how you want someone to feel after an interaction with you?

    Saying “it was my pleasure” immediately raises you to an entirely new level of customer service. Actually, it raises the bar for you personally as well as it makes you stand apart from everyone else around you. An exceedingly polite “it was my pleasure” makes people think. It stops them dead in their tracks.

    People might not remember what you said or did for them, but they will ALWAYS remember the feeling they walked away with.

    This is why the last interaction with you is the most important as THAT is the one they remember.

    Here’s an example of what I’m talking about…

    Apologies for the interruption, but search engines only allow you to post your article in one place ... To read the rest of the article, please visit the article's page on Medium...

    https://medium.com/@katharinecgiovanni/four-words-that-will-change-your-business-b1ddad76d197

  • July 18, 2019 12:34 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Life is hard. Or it can be great. It depends on your perspective. Two people can look at the exact same thing and each have different thoughts about it.

    Take a traffic jam, for example. You could stress out about the drivers cutting in front of you, or the fact that you might be late for work. From there you would arrive at your office grumpy and late. You might then take it out on your associates and make everyone around you miserable. Then, instead of going out to a nice lunch with them, they might avoid you like the plague and let you eat that stale granola bar you've had in your desk for weeks.

    Or you could look at it this way. Being stuck in traffic allows you to finally listen to that audio book you've had in your car. Or, you could call your mom and have a nice chat with her!  You could sit there and be thankful for the fact that you have a job to go to, many people don't. You arrive at work happy and ready to go and might have the most productive day you've ever had. Plus your associates invite you out to lunch with them and you laugh and have a wonderful time.

    (Apologies for the interruption, but search engines only allow you to post your article in one place) ... Please click here to read the rest of the article: https://vigyaa.com/@KatharineGiovanni-1843/stuck-in-a-rush-hour-traffic-jam-449b95ab/ 

  • June 17, 2019 4:39 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    "I can’t believe you called me back!”

    Sadly, I get this reply a LOT when I respond to email as I am very quick to reply. Even if I can't answer right away (I might be in a meeting), I generally reply with a quick "I got it and will get back to you by __) as soon as I can. I send them something so they know I saw their message. They feel valued.

    Voice mails? As often as possible, I answer within one business day or sooner.

    Why do I do this?

    First, it’s good customer service.

    Second, it gets clients. I have gotten many clients because I respond so fast.

    Unfortunately, I seem to be abnormal in today's world as most people don't practice this. I actually had someone tell me once that I shouldn't answer people fast because they will think that I don't have anything better to do.

    REALLY? I strongly disagree! (And yes, they actually said that to me.)

    Please click here to read the rest of the article

    (Apologies for the interruption, but search engines only allow you to post your article in one place)

  • June 05, 2019 10:30 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Don’t you hate it when your computer crashes?  Happened to me a few months ago. In fact, it didn’t just crash, it CRASHED! So badly I had to take it to The Geek Squad to be fixed.

    The good news is that it works fine now. The bad news is that I lost all my apps. I didn’t lose files because I regularly back my files up to a second hard drive.

    So while I was reloading everything, I thought I would share my ten favorites with you…

    Copperwww.copper.com – a free CRM that works with your GMAIL account. I just love it.

    Wavewww.waveapps.com – If you can’t afford Quickbooks, then this is a good FREE Accounting software. Love free!

    Bufferwww.buffer.com – my social media scheduler. Although you could use Hootsuite, Buffer works better for me.

    Mailchimpwww.mailchimp.com – this is where I keep my email list, send out newsletters and other marketing materials.

    Canvawww.canva.com – a great software where you can design your own graphics and marketing materials.

    Pexelswww.pexels.com – need royalty free images? Pexels is the place for you.

    Animotowww.animoto.com-  If you want to create your own marketing videos, Animoto is fantastic

    Picmonkeywww.picmonkey.com – Don’t have Photoshop? Try Picmonkey!

    Zoomwww.zoom.us – video conferencing software. Perfect for webinars.

    PayPalwww.paypal.com – merchant services. Been using it for years now.

    There are many more that I use, this is just to get you started.

    Good luck!

    Katharine


  • April 18, 2019 3:10 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    By Katharine Giovanni

    How do concierge get their clients into the best restaurants? Magic!

    Actually, we have a bunch of techniques that we use to get our clients a table. Below are a few. 

    1. Use an App such as…

    a. www.opentable.com

    b. http://www.rezhound.com

    c. https://www.eater.com

    d. https://www.exploretock.com

    e. @LastMinuteEatin - If you are in New York City, you can go to their Twitter Feed for same-night reservations. You might check other cities to see if there are similar services.

    3. Eat at the bar. Ron and I have done that many times and have had excellent meals with no waiting for a table.

    4. Be flexible with your dates and eat mid-week.

    5. Eat at less popular times such as late afternoon or late evening.

    6. Check their Facebook and Twitter pages that morning to see if they post anything about last-minute reservations.

    7. Just show up and give it a shot. Many accept walk-ins, but you’ll have to wait. Make sure you are dressed properly so you look like you belong there.

    8. Do something really old fashioned. Call them! If OpenTable says they have nothing, call the restaurant directly. They always keep a few tables for people who call them directly. People who book online are often no-shows and restaurants want to fill those seats. Call in the morning, and then again later in the day.

    9. Want a weekend reservation? Call them on a Thursday and ask if they have any cancellations. Why Thursday? That’s when most will call and confirm weekend reservations. Ask when you should call again if they don’t have anything!

    10. Call and ask to be placed on their waiting list

    11. Check charity and auction sites as many people donate restaurant reservations.

    Please click here to read the rest of the tips.

    (Search engines only allow you to post an article to one blog.)

  • March 22, 2019 11:53 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    I have three questions…

    Are your customers/guests happy?

    Do they come back and buy again?

    Could you do better?

    Yes. We could all do better. Even someone who offers five-star concierge-level service is always striving to do better.

    That being said, the first step to offering concierge-level service is to map out your customer/guest experience. From the very first greeting to the last, what happens? Where do they go? Who do they speak to? Map out the steps. ALL the possible steps, no matter how many.

    Then, after you’ve mapped out your customer’s journey, there are some questions you might ask.

    • What could ruin a customer’s experience? Brainstorm them all and then solve each one.
    • How responsive are you to incoming customers/guests’ questions and issues? How long does it take your staff to respond via email, telephone or online?
    • Does your support staff have all the tools they need to effectively do their jobs?

    Click here to read the rest of the article on Katharine's LinkedIn Blog!


  • February 20, 2019 3:39 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    By Katharine Giovanni

    About 15 years ago, I was flying home from a training gig and arrived at the airport. Since I had been training people for two days, I was tired and ready to go home. I got into line at the gate to get onto the plane, and as I stood there, I found myself surrounded by a group of Japanese businessmen. Now when I say surrounded, I mean SURROUNDED. We were standing shoulder to shoulder with their arms and shoulders touching mine. Since I’m a typical American and like to have some personal space around me, this situation made me uncomfortable. So since I was in no hurry to board the plane, I stepped out of line and moved to the back.

    A little while later, I was sitting comfortably in an aisle seat on the airplane. After I got settled, I politely nodded to the businessman next to me. Since it was obvious that he didn’t speak English, I opened the book that I had brought with me and started to read. About thirty minutes later, he decided to visit the restroom. So he stood up, lifted his leg, and tried to crawl over my body. Since I generally don’t like people I don’t know crawling over my lap, I immediately stood and held my hand out indicating he should wait. I then politely motioned him to go by. I sat down and tried to go back to my book.

    I just knew he was going to do it again upon his return, so I was ready when he arrived a few minutes later.  However, before I had time to stand up, the leg came up a second time and he tried to crawl over me. I repeated the performance I gave a few minutes before and stood, held out my hand, and motioned him to go back to his seat.

    After it was all over, I quietly sat there and tried to breathe. I attempted to calm myself by reading my book, but after I read the same sentence four times, I knew that it was impossible. So I put my book down and glanced around the cabin. Imagine my surprise when I saw all the Japanese doing the exact same thing as my seat mate. My anger dissolved in a heartbeat. I immediately realized that a gesture they consider to be polite and normal in Japan, we consider rude here in the United States.

    How can you be mad at that?

    My journey into the world of international protocol began. I purchased a few books, visited websites, and made absolutely sure that I checked out the customs of my clients’ countries before I met with them. I’m not saying I always get it right, but I’m trying.

    This leads me to international gestures. Please be careful here because a gesture that is common in the United States might be terribly rude in another country. For example, if someone asks you for directions in the United States, you might raise your right hand and point with your finger. However, pointing is considered extremely rude in many countries. If you have to point, then I suggest that you point using an open hand with your thumb curled into the palm of your hand and your other four fingers locked together.

    Here are some examples that I pulled from the wonderful book Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conway. The book lists dozens of countries and protocols:

    Talking with your hands

    In the United Kingdom, it is considered impolite to talk with your hands in your pockets. Also, Brits keep their hands on the table when eating (as opposed to Americans who put their hands in their laps).

    Gestures

    In Japan, even the slightest gesture can mean something, so make sure you don’t make any expansive hand or arm gestures. Although pushing your way through a crowd is extremely impolite here in the U.S., it’s not in Japan. In fact, I’m told that it’s the only way you can get on the Japanese subways.

    Eye contact

    In the U.S., direct eye contact is a sign of honesty. However, in Latin America, prolonged eye contact is considered aggressive, so if clients are not looking directly at you when they are speaking, then they are being polite. In Japan, prolonged eye contact is considered rude, as is pointing.

    Respect their comfort zone

    Americans have a few odd quirks, and this is one of them. As I mentioned above, when we stand next to someone, we like to have a two- to three-foot comfort zone around our body at all times. If someone invades that personal space, many will take a step back to reestablish our personal comfort zone.

    Not everyone feels this way though. Latin Americans like to stand close when they’re speaking to you, which is hard for an American because we’ll instinctively want to step back to keep our distance from them, which the Latin American will find rude. Greeks are expressive and will stand close to you and might even kiss you when you first meet them.

    What other quirks do Americans have? We’ll talk about anything— our family, our kids, our career, even sex, just don’t ask us how much money we make. Americans hate to tell people how much money they earn. Many Europeans don’t care and will tell you their earnings in a heartbeat. Americans? Not so much.

    Heads and hands

    When someone from Germany shakes your hand, it’s often accompanied by a nod of the head. Germans find it insulting if you speak to them with your hands in your pockets.

    Left hands

    In the Muslim and Hindu world, your left hand is considered unclean. So use your right hand as much as possible.

    Feet

    Feet are considered unclean in South Africa and India, so don’t touch anything with your feet. If you do, apologize immediately. In Singapore, you shouldn’t sit with your legs crossed because it shows the bottom of your feet, which is considered extremely rude.

    Gifts

    Be careful when you are giving gifts, especially when it comes to color. For example, the color for mourning is black in the United States, red in parts of Africa, and white in Asia. Never give anything made from cowhide to Hindus, as cows are considered sacred.

    I could go on and on, but I won’t, of course. This was just a small sample to give you a little taste of international protocol and how important it is. If you want to offer concierge-level service, then you must have a good working knowledge of other people’s customs around the world.

    One last thought. If you don’t understand the person because of his heavy accent, please don’t pretend that you do. Honesty is always the best policy. Smile and apologize, and then gently tell the person you’re having a hard time understanding him. Ask him to slow down a bit. The key here is to make the person realize that you are genuinely trying to understand and help him.

    For more information about international protocol, I suggest that you visit http://www.kissboworshakehands.com. I actually have a copy of the book on my desk and will read the necessary chapter when I have an international client flying in so I know what to say and do. Another great protocol site that I use quite often is http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources.

    Copyright 2019 by Katharine Giovanni. All Rights Reserved.

    If you wish to reprint this article, please email us.


  • January 02, 2019 2:40 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    For anyone who follows me on social media, you know that I enjoy posting good news facts and articles to combat all the negativity. So, to start 2019 on a positive note, here are a few really great things that happened in 2018.

    1. Twelve boys who were stuck in a cave for 3 weeks in Thailand were successfully rescued.
    2. According to the United Nations, the ozone hole will be healed over the Arctic by 2030. 
    3. A man donated 200,000 air miles to several people so that they could fly home for the holidays.
    4. In the United States, more than 100 women were elected to the House.
    5. Researchers were able to reverse some damage to Alzheimer’s brain cells. It’s more complicated, but that is the gist of it. So exciting!

    Click here to read the rest of the article (originally posted in my LinkedIn blog)

  • November 14, 2018 10:45 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    By Narrin Schwartz

    I’m still recently a new member of The International Concierge & Lifestyle Management Network, based out of Wake Forest, North Carolina. Actually, I happen to be in my second year of membership within our web of concierge and lifestyle professionals. Currently, I am 1 of 105 lifestyle managers in this global network of independent concierge professionals of ICLMNET. I am proud to be part of a community of concierge services & personal assistants that help you live your best life possible.

    Click here to read the rest of Narrin's article

  • October 22, 2018 11:48 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    For me, customer service is a way of life. It’s not what you do; it’s who you are. It’s something that comes from deep inside of you. I can always pick out the people who practice this philosophy because they’re the ones who hold doors open for people, say crazy things like “please” and “thank you,” and pick up their garbage when they leave the movie theater. Plain and simple, they’re just nice people. They’re warm, friendly, approachable, easy to talk to, and are quite adept at turning lemons into lemonade.

    It’s a philosophy that we should all live by.

    Years ago when my eldest son played soccer, I remember walking off a soccer field after a game when I noticed a pile of empty water bottles on the side of the road. There were at least thirty of them, all piled on top of each other. Since no one was picking them up, and every parent was just walking by them, I decided to take a few minutes and dispose of them.

    Please click here to read the rest of the article


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