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New concierge service helps prevent pandemic layoffs

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Lacy H.
Aug 11, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Smart City faced many of the same challenges as other businesses across the globe, and inevitably the company’s leaders were forced to consider the need for potential employee layoffs.Thanks to Jake Fogel, Smart City’s VP of Operations, Smart City was able to launch a new line of business that allowed the Customer Service team to leverage their existing skillset and begin providing a new and relevant service to Smart City clients instead.

Jake Fogel joined Smart City Locating in 2016 as a licensed apartment locator. Since then, he’s been promoted to VP of Operations and Technology, where, in the midst of a global pandemic, he launched Smart City’s first-ever concierge service.

Smart City Concierge aims to help clients with all the to-dos that come after signing a lease, before moving in. From connecting clients with discounted moving services and the best-suited utility providers to furniture rentals and help with things like mounting a TV, the Smart City Concierge focuses on each client’s individual needs beyond apartment locating.

“Our Customer Success Department was faced with one of the most difficult decisions in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic–with such a massive decrease in the volume of clients looking to move, we had to consider how many team members would need to be laid off,” says Fogel. “But instead of immediately planning layoffs, we decided to first try shifting our focus to growth and solutions that could allow us to retain every person in the department. That’s when the decision to pilot the Concierge program was set into motion.”

From the very start of the pandemic, Smart City’s goal was to retain as many employees as possible. In order to leverage a new caliber of customer service and prevent layoffs, the Concierge service had to be built from scratch, with zero outside headcount and zero additional funds.

“The main goal we had for launching Concierge was simple,” Fogel says, “we would become a one-stop-shop for apartment renters by providing this other priceless service and by proxy, create more roles within the company that could be filled by current employees.”

By expanding service offerings and launching Smart City Concierge with the existing team they had in place, Smart City achieved its goal to provide a more elevated customer experience while avoiding the need to lay off a single employee.Concierge service is available exclusively to Smart City clients, and, according to recent client testimonials, is another way Smart City goes above and beyond to assist in the apartment leasing process–further cementing their place as a top choice among renters.

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