Entrepreneurial approach of a group of MBE stores in London has benefits for the whole network
A multiple-store franchise group with five stores in London has created an opportunity for better business relationships with one of Mail Boxes Etc.’s key customer groups: hotel concierges.
Mail Boxes Etc. takes great pride in providing services to hotel concierges across the UK. Particularly in luxury and exclusive hotels, a concierge can greatly enhance guests’ experience, acting as a knowledgeable advisor who is able to recommend local restaurants and shows, as well as organising ancillary services like dry cleaning, postal and courier services.
To make this happen, a concierge must create a network of suppliers and services they can recommend to clients. To help them achieve this, many concierges belong to a friendly society with roots dating back to 1929, called Les Clefs d’Or – or The Golden Keys. Before earning the right to wear the golden keys lapel badge, aspiring members must have several years’ experience as a hotel concierge, pass comprehensive testing and prove their ability to deliver the highest quality of service.
Recognising the lucrative opportunity for increased shipping business with the capital’s four- and five-star hotels, a group of London MBE stores has become an associate member of the Golden Keys. Concierges now know they can turn to MBE as a trusted supplier – something that applies across the network. “We represent all MBE stores, not just the five in our group, so the whole network of more than 150 stores can benefit,” says Khalid Khan, director of sales for Lyons Business Services which owns the MBE stores in Chiswick, Kensington, Notting Hill, Paddington and Crawford Street.
Khalid and his team find that one of the key areas where concierges appreciate their support is in shipping items like perfumes and alcohol. “These items require a dangerous goods licence,” explains Khalid, whose export knowledge is based on fifteen years as a general manager with DHL. “We recognised there was a niche there, and we decided to work with a company at Heathrow Airport that specialises in export services for dangerous goods. Now our stores send goods to them and they pack them and prepare the documentation, then put them back into the system with DHL and FedEx. It’s seamless from the customer’s point of view and that’s a big bonus for London concierges,” he says.
Showcasing Mail Boxes Etc.
Every year Khalid and his team sponsor and attend a Golden Keys event, which gives them the opportunity to showcase MBE and its services. At a recent event, Khalid showed the new MBE services video before making a brief presentation to around 150 members. “The video reflects who we are and what we do as a network. It went down very well, catching members’ attention,” he says.
The key message for those attending was that MBE can ship almost anything, anywhere. “Sometimes guests just dump shopping bags on the concierge’s desk and ask them to send them home. Now they just phone us, get a price, we will pick the item up within half an hour, pack it, do the customs forms and despatch it. That’s what makes ours such a great service from the concierges’ point of view.”
Commenting on the way Khalid and his team have identified an opportunity and exploited its potential, James Simmons, marketing manager for Mail Boxes Etc., says: “I’m impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of this group of stores, which shows just what can be done to deepen relationships with key customers and position Mail Boxes Etc. as a go-to supplier. It also serves to underline what a great franchise opportunity an MBE store represents.”