Concierge Confidential on Tipping

Palming twenty bucks (a.k.a. tipping) can get you a lot in NYC, but you have to know when to give it; how to give it and to whom. I know because as a Concierge, I have received tips and I use tipping as a means to get what I need for my clients. It’s a luxury problem, but nonetheless, it’s an issue we must confront.

Here are a few basics for the tippers who have a twenty on the ready…

HOLD IT: Don’t pass a twenty while you are asking for something. Wait until you have stated the case of what you want. If you get to the point and ask in a respectful way, I can guarantee that the answer will be something like, “let me see what I can do.” This is the tipping point (sorry for the pun) because your tip will turn the “let’s see…” into a “yes.”

FOLD IT: I’m a fan of the quarter folded bill. It’s obvious, but still classy as long as you are subtle in how you hand it over. Palming (folding it in eighths and passing it in a handshake) feels a tiny bit dirty, and not many people are that good at it so it gets a little clumsy and awkward.

SAY IT: Don’t make this uncomfortable for either of you. The best words to accompany your tip are “please don’t be offended, it’s just a little gesture to thank you in advance.” If nothing can be done, I guarantee the person will not accept the tip. If they accept it, it’s because they can do something.

And now, a word to my people…the tippees: Tips are not drying up as depicted in the New York Times piece ”Victims of the Tight-Fisted” (March 27, 2012).  What seems to be drying up is our sense of ownership over our role in service. Here’s a refresher course on the most basic fundamental of service. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOMER! If we want to make better tips (a.k.a. more revenue), we need to think like any other business person and step up our game plan to please our customer. Do we really think the economy is to blame for declining tips in a city like New York? In my opinion,  the biggest negative impact on our tips has come from complacent service and the unfair expectation that tips are “extra” cash that people have floating around their wallets in fat times that is somehow owed to us. Let’s get out there and jump through hoops. I guarantee, the tips will come!

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that non-tippers take the adrenaline out of the rush I get serving people, and even though I would never think of defaming one of these buzz-kills, one might find 15% on my internet search history. I feel so dirty.

To learn about my company, visit Abigail Michaels










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