Whether you’re an expat or a tourist, you’ve probably relied on “that friend” before.
You know, “that friend” who speaks Chinese and can give you a quick translation of those pill bottle instructions. Or “that friend” who speaks Spanish and can help you find a second-hand air conditioner in Bogota. Or “that friend” who can help you get around Korea’s antiquated online purchase software requirements. Well, after awhile, “that friend” gets pretty tired of being your personal assistant.
That is where it is handy to use a concierge service like Korea’s Wonderful (previously known as Ask Ajumma). “As a personal assistant service, we realize the one thing no one ever has enough of is ‘time’. We know how time consuming getting things done can be when you can’t speak the language.” said Maria Lee, Wonderful’s founder. The company uses its small army of bilingual “assistants” to meet the needs of foreigners who might otherwise have trouble navigating Korean bureaucracy, technology, or culture.
Where Meridian Linguistics can help you with all things language (translating, interpreting, analyzing texts), concierge services function more like your personal fixer, with staff that can handle administrative tasks, placing orders, locating hard-to-find products, or making reservations. The author used their service to order a secondhand treadmill, which Wonderful located within 24 hours at an excellent price, coordinating delivery, installation, and even payment. “The range is endless and can be as simple as making reservations, ordering dinner, assisting with a move, buying concert tickets, to something as big as planning a trip to the moon—we know a guy that can make that happen,” said the founder. She recommends using their services to make bookings for accommodations, transportation and game tickets, especially for special events in foreign countries, like the Olympics.
Concierge services range from basic to luxury and are gaining traction all over the world: just look at the stunning success of London-based 10 Group. However, these businesses do tend towards the premium end, often charging corporate rates, and it can be harder to find services that are catered to (and affordable for) the individual, such as Wonderful.
Wherever the problem is language, we hope you’ll turn to Meridian Linguistics! For everything else, try out a concierge service and see if you can save yourself some precious time.