There has been a lot of hype surrounding the Vertu mobile phone, arguably the ultimate in personal communication. The phone also comes with what it calls a Concierge service, an equally exclusive option for those people on the go, who like things planned ahead of time wherever they are in the world. EXECUTIVE wanted to know more and went to Karen Bou Fayad, Vertu’s marketing and public relations manager in Lebanon for the lowdown on one of today’s must haves and its bespoke customer service.
E When did Vertu decide to establish the Concierge service and what was the corporate philosophy behind it?
The idea of establishing the Concierge service came in the earliest phases of the development of Vertu. The whole philosophy of the brand was to create an unforgettable experience to his clients. What makes Vertu so special is the obsessive attention to details and the craftsmanship that is behind each product. Each component was selected in order to make the use of a Vertu phone an unparalleled experience: The scratchproof sapphire crystal screen, the jeweled ruby bearings under each key, the exceptional sound quality, and the hours of work spent in the assembly of a phone, the level of performance, etc. To compliment this experience, Vertu decided to offer his clients the unique Concierge service, an integrated customer experience, where the service is accessed directly from the phone simply and easily by way of a dedicated button on the side of every phone. This is unique to Vertu and is not available on other phones. Neither are other services so instantly and easily accessible.
E Fair enough. How many Concierge users are there in Lebanon? What percentage of Vertu users, both in Lebanon and abroad, have signed up for Concierge?
Concierge is complementary for the first year, but a lot of our clients are so satisfied with the service and find it so useful that they subscribe to it at the end of the first year.
The frequency of usage of the Vertu Concierge can be very different from one client to another. The most frequent requests the lifestyle managers get are information about hotels, restaurants, theaters, concerts, musicals, sports events and so on. Unfortunately, we can’t disclose detailed figures on the percentage and the number of Concierge users.
E How much does Concierge cost and what services are on offer? What is the most used Concierge service?
As mentioned earlier. Concierge is a service that comes with every Vertu phone. The Vertu clients gain access to a dedicated team of lifestyle managers, capable of helping them get the most out of their valuable free time. The service is available 24/7 in English, French, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese and German. There are three kinds of service: Support on issues related to Vertu and Vertu products, questions regarding the phones, the distribution, the company, etc. Secondly there is an emergency service in which we can put the client in touch with doctors and organize car repairs and services and lastly there is the Lifestyle service through trips can be organized and restaurants recommended and booked. Concierge can also give shopping advice. All three services are widely used by our clients. The lifestyle service is highly appreciated for the quality of the work and the recommendations of the Concierge managers.
At the end of the first year, clients will continue to be supported on issues relating to Vertu products. Those clients wishing to subscribe to ongoing lifestyle support can do so. There are two levels of service. The standard service, similar to the level of service received during the first year, is available for £650 ($1,140) per annum. Those who wish a more bespoke and personal service can subscribe to VIP service at £3,600 ($6,300) per annum. This includes a personal lifestyle manager who oversees all requests relating to a small group of specific clients
E Can you give us some real life examples of how Concierge is used?
Certainly. A woman recently wanted to arrange a small 21st birthday gathering with friends in Switzerland. Vertu Concierge recommended the perfect location, managed all contact with the venue and even organized drinks, food and a cake for the event. A regular business traveller used Vertu Concierge to arrange a last-minute trip including all flights, car hire, accommodation and a gift to thank his hosts at the end of the trip. The client particularly liked dealing with one person, who had responsibility for all of the arrangements. One Vertu client was head over heels in love with the red pair of shoes of her dreams and had tried in vain to bribe the sales team of a very famous luxury brand store to strike a name from the waiting list and replace it with hers. Even the brand’s customer service couldn’t help. The shopping specialists of the Vertu Concierge knew that those shoes could only be bought at the firm’s own stores, so the selection was limited. They telephoned the entire brand’s stores in the world, negotiated with the sales managers, had the staff of the headquarters rummage through the stock room and finally met with success. A few days later, a courier brought the client’s house the pair of shoes of her dreams.
E Phew! Ok so what is the profile of the Concierge user?
Vertu’s customers are lovers of the most beautiful things in life such as watches, clothes and cars. They want to be surrounded by accessories that fit their personality and lifestyle. Most of our clientele is male. However, some models of Signature and the last Pink and White special editions have shown a very strong response among women. I would say that the profile of the Concierge user is the same than the general profile of Vertu’s clients. They are lovers of the most interesting experiences in life and expect Concierge to answer their needs and compliment their lifestyle. The requests the Concierge will receive are based on the clients tastes and hobbies. The Concierge will be asked to recommend the most select restaurant to the best pub to watch a football match!
E What do you say to those who counter that if you can afford Vertu you don’t need it?
Vertu Concierge is a personal service consisting of a team of specialists dedicated to developing a global database of international suppliers and testing these to ensure they will deliver the best service exclusively to Vertu clients. Their expertise is not limited to a country or a domain.
When a request comes through the team of experts combines his or her expertise with services held within the knowledge bank to deliver solutions in response to the client requests. They have extensive international experience, and an undeniably international outlook. For clients this means the service can be extremely useful, not only at home, but also when they travel. The lifestyle managers try to get to know each of the clients better in order to deliver to them customized personalized recommendations and suggestions that will answer the best their personal needs and tastes. The Concierge users are therefore sure they can receive the best assistance at any time and in any part of the world they are living in or traveling to.
E How many establishments have signed up to be part of the Concierge infrastructure? What does it cost them? In Lebanon which is the sector – hotels, restaurants, car hire etc – that has responded the most to Concierge? How can we measure how much business Concierge has brought to those businesses that have signed up?
No establishment will need to sign up to Concierge to be part of its database and recommendations. As the Concierge service is dedicated to offer the best service to his clients, the lifestyle managers will only recommend the best response to their clients needs. They have an international database and strong relations with key locations and suppliers. Not only will the Concierge service will always try to update his database with the newest and the best locations and services on an international level, he will also take in consideration the clients’ experience and feedback about places or services he recommended to answer other users requests. However, the Concierge may also contact some establishments to organize special offers to his clients. The best example would be the themed offers for the owners of the Pink and White Special Editions phones, such as priority personal and Christmas shopping at Barney’s and Harrods, complementary pink champagne at the Raffles Grill in Singapore, priority booking in the Spas of the Mandarin Oriental in New York and Singapore and the Georges V in Paris and special upgrades in the Ice Hotel in Canada to name a few.
E What is the level of growth in Concierge both in terms of subscribers and those companies signing up to be listed in the service?
Since the creation of the company in 2002, Vertu has witnessed an exceptional level of growth. The Middle East region is very dynamic and I would say that, as a result of this, the number of the Concierge users is also growing in an exponential way.