The life of an average Nigerian is not easy. You must join the queue that connects to the queue and another queue to get your voters’ card, driver’s license and international passport document. You enter a ride-hailing taxi so you can get going, only for the driver to ask you for directions?—he doesn’t even know the way. You decide to wash your clothes, rearrange your house or apartment by weekend, cook that delicious meal you’ve been craving and chill out with your friends to view that Champions League match, but the Lagos traffic is waiting to show you pepper—Oya nah!
It’s so not easy dealing with work, life’s challenges and our own personal problems on a daily basis. That’s why over time people have always solicited for ‘househelps’. Remember those young boys and girls that do all the chores in your house, and later cause trouble (most times)? Yes, they played a vital role in making your life a less miserable one. But as time keeps winding down and age keeps telling you it’s no longer on your-side there are many things you must stop doing. Yes, you cannot kill yourself remember that.
So, who is going to do all these huge strenuous tasks for you when you are at work, church, vacation, etc? There seems to be a new kid on the block that delivers these services and more. From the overview they are a ‘Concierge Service’. So what’s all these grammar about a ‘Concierge Service’?
Concierge Service An Overview
Some say that the word ‘concierge’ is derived from a Latin word ‘conservus’ which translates to ‘fellow slave’, while some say that it has evolved from the French ‘comte des cierges’, which means ‘the keeper of the candles’, which was essentially the main duty of concierges during the Middle Ages. Nonetheless, the meaning and the duties of the concierges have changed over time. They now perform almost every task for top-level managers, VIP customers of banks and hotels, superstars, or anyone who has enough money to outsource their work to them as reported by Feedough.
So, what is a Concierge?
A Concierge is an individual or a company which is specialized in personal assistance or any other assistance services like household management, lifestyle management, transportation, travel and vacation planning, etc. and provides such personalized services to its clients (usually high-net-worth clients) at a variable price.
The idea is to save the time of the client by performing their routine or specialized tasks.
Do you ever wake up and feel like there should be someone to do your errands while you sit back and relax? To plan your entire holiday or a date, instead of you sitting in front of the computer screen for hours? Do you want an expert to be your personal assistant or your lifestyle manager?
Well, there are companies which provide such services. Their employees will do anything for you as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical.
The Rise of Eden
There are many ways to define Eden. Eden is automation for house chores. It is room service for homes. It is a concierge service without live-in concierges, centrally managed and monitored via a collection of interconnected applications. It is a well-managed marketplace connecting homeowners and high-quality service providers.
At its core, according to the company’s website, “Eden is a superior answer to the question of an inferior lifestyle. If you’ve ever wanted to be done with house chores or wanted better services for things like your laundry, meals, house cleaning, equipment maintenance, etc, then you have silently prayed for Eden.”
In April 2019, a team of three ex-Andelans; Prosper Otemuyiwa, Slim Momoh and Enegesi who is founder and CEO, came together to build the service full time.
Apart from its founders who previously worked at the African tech talent accelerator, 13 other Andelans who have contributed to an undisclosed seed round also currently fund Eden. Eden’s services target busy professionals in metropolitan cities like Lagos where it started. For a monthly fee ranging between N23,000 ($63.5) to N86,000 ($237.4) depending on the selected plan, the company appoints one of its trained staff called Gardeners to a customer.
These Gardeners deliver services and chores like laundry, cleaning and maintenance, meals and groceries, and electronics servicing, on a recurring basis according to the customer’s selected plans. As the description on its website succinctly puts it, Eden is a ‘a human-powered, tech-enabled service that puts your household chores on autopilot.’
To do this, they collaborate with existing service providers in these industries, vet them and assure subscribers of their reliability. “We don’t work directly with artisans as there is usually no professionalism. So we use a very strict selection criteria and check for things like reference, certification and industry level compliance, liability insurance in case there is damage in the client’s house, and capacity to manage jobs,” Enegesi said.
According to Eden, this quality assurance process is what differentiates the company from others that merely provide the services. When Eden started, Enegesi said they envisioned logistics would be a major challenge because of the structure of Lagos, but tech took care of that end. “Within the first two weeks, we created an algorithm that manages all our logistics and makes everything easier,” he said.
This process would most likely have been easy as all three co-founders are engineers. He however pointed out one hurdle they have had to face many times. “The biggest headache has been communicating the idea of Eden to people and educating them on what we do. Many people thought we were an IoT company, and many other assumptions like that.”
How Does Eden Work?
Eden’s approach is simple. The trick is in their seamless execution:
- They find and on-board the best service providers Nigeria has to offer.
- They step up their service quality using their rigorously-designed Eden Services Quality Blueprint.
- They standardize the pricing for all these service providers so they’re paid fairly while our customers are also not over-billed for these services.
- They give you a well-trained home manager, also known as a concierge (they call them “Gardeners”) who manages the execution of the services while you go about your day.
- The repeat delivery of excellent service becomes culture through constant iteration.
To deliver Eden at scale, they’ve built two platforms called Garden and Lighthouse.
Garden is the user’s Eden app, designed to push dynamic status updates on your home as soon as you’re on Eden. It updates you on when your home has been cleaned, your fridge restocked, and so on?—?and also tells you when next your services will occur. You can rate services, send special requests to your gardener and basically outsource your home’s tasks.
Lighthouse is our central intelligence system. It learns your preferences and requirements, routes them to the most appropriate Service Partners on schedule, and guides the Gardeners on how best to coordinate the delivery of your services.
Concierge services are a fairly recent addition to the luxury industry; all thanks to the constantly changing business environment, the technological advancement, and the long working hours of the working professionals. Such limitations have resulted in lack of time in the life of the people. They now wish for either more time or someone who can do the work for them while they free their time for the things that matter. Concierge services business model capitalizes on this need.
Earlier, concierges used to be restricted to hotels or luxury apartment buildings and used to assist guests by making restaurant reservations, arranging spa service, recommending places to visit, booking transportation, etc. But now these individuals and companies have moved ahead and have specialized in a lot of tasks ranging from lining up tickets for concerts or special events, planning a holiday trip, doing the shopping errands, restaurant recommendations and reservations, etc.
The business models of different concierge services providers differ in the types of service provided and to whom it is provided. Some concierges help employers maintain good employer-employee relations, some deal in handling customer grievances, some concierges provide personal travel planning service, while some provide all these services by acting as a personal assistant or lifestyle managers which in the case of Eden —Gardeners.
It should then come as no surprise that Eden’s goal is to make life easier and better across the continent, it is going to be expanding into other African countries in the near future as it delivers this amazing concierge Services—Eden.
Featured image – Prosper Otemuyiwa (L), Silm Momoh (M) and Enegesi (R) (source: Eden)