Senior Concierge Blog

The purpose of this blog is to explain the Senior Concierge profession and to provide on-going assistance to senior concierge professionals with tips and tools for their business, and information from the field about the day and the life of a senior concierge. Enjoy! Rachel Laws Senior Concierge

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Acknowledgement from Our Clients and Their Family Members

I have the pleasure of meeting with local senior concierge professionals on a regular basis.  We meet regularly to get to know one another and to share ideas for success in this business.  This group is a great place for me to get a sense of the normal issues that can emerge with our very different clients and their family members.

In the last meeting, it was very clear that there is an issue about our roles in the family system.

Often times, out clients family members are busy people with their own lives just trying to stay afloat in this nutty world, raising children, making the mortgage payments, keeping careers going.  We are very needed as senior concierge professionals because we can take care of the things that our clients sons or daughters may not have the time to do or the bandwidth to stretch and deal with.  This is what keeps us employed.  

Many of my concierge professional colleagues have become VERY involved in our clients life and some of us have felt a real closeness with our clients.  As they age, and become sick, it's really hard on each of us to face those changes with them.  When more serious matters face our clients their family members come on the scene to make sure that all plans are in place and things are going along in a way that works for the family. 

During this period of time in the client engagement, is a point at which you really get to know the clients children and you get a sense of where you as the senior concierge fit into the picture of the team or family unit.

This is the point at which work with the clients can be very upsetting for the senior concierge professional.  The concierge professionals in the meeting said things like... ("I'm just treated as the help", "All that I have been doing for their parent is just tossed aside", "I know their parent and their needs better than they do", "they didn't even acknowledge me or allow me to speak at the funeral")  These are very real feelings and it can be terribly hurtful to have put in so much work for a family and to be treated like you don't matter.

I have experienced this too and I have had to resolve it in the following ways.

I know that I like to be acknowledged for all of the hard work that I do.  But sometimes, the client and their family members are not going to be the type of people that are big on acknowledgement.  As concierge professionals, we have to acknowledge ourselves for the hard work that we do. We have to give ourselves that pat on the back and say good job. This acknowledgement is something that you can't expect from your clients and their family members.  It's really nice but it may not happen.  You have to know this before getting into this work.  

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Another strategy to this work that I use may seem cold but I think it helps.  I make sure that I keep my boundaries with my clients.  I keep our relationship very professional.  I don't give hugs and kisses when I come and go. Additionally, I don't spend much time letting them know about my life. I'm very empathetic to their concerns and issues because that's my role to help them through life challenges but I make every attempt to not get emotionally involved. It's difficult but I try.  

I feel that if you keep the professional boundaries of this work clear then all you're doing is providing a service and making a positive difference (hopefully) in their lives.

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