Female Focus: Ask PAM Brings Concierges into the 21st Century
Touted as one of the leading experts on the concierge industry in Montreal and recognized for her passion and leadership, Pamela Alfred who graduated from the Montreal Founder Institute chapter in February of 2015, has launched her company Ask PAM, as part of her personal call to action for better customer service. Though customers demands and customer behaviors have changed a lot over the years, concierges still play an important role in determining how enjoyable a customer’s experience is, able on many an occasion to use their “special magic” to fix screw ups and enhance a travelers experience.
Ask PAM is a cloud based CRM company that helps organize all of the information that concierges rely on in order to enhance their productivity. It makes managing requests automatic, uses centralized messaging, has a calendar to organize tasks, provides a library full of information for them to refer to and enables collaboration between team members. It can store information so that instead of writing up the same messages for customers, concierges can save templates as needed. It can also compile information about clients, so that concierges have a clear picture of exactly who they're serving, enabling them to create a better experience for them.
Being personal is very much part of Ask PAM's mission. Making a concierge’s job easier means that concierges are able to provide travelers with an experience that’s better tailored to their needs. Customers can get a free trial and after that are able to subscribe to Ask PAM as an ongoing service. Ask PAM is being used in fifteen different cities internationally, engaging with more than one hundred concierges and one hundred thousand clients every year.
The Ask PAM team is updating their features all of the time. The Ask PAM app is currently operational in Montreal and Toronto. It enables travelers who are staying in any kind of accomodations to reach local concierges who are ensured to have years of experience at four and five star hotels. Alfred explains,
They are aiming to become the largest platform that connects concierges and travelers. At present, the most common type of request Ask PAM users have is for help with restaurants, and Alfred explains that they aim to build trust from there.
Though Alfred has been successful in the early stages of her company, she wasn’t always sure that she would be able to accomplish what she has. The first time she enrolled at the Founder Institute, she dropped out, feeling that she was unprepared for the commitment. Thankfully a friend convinced her to return to the program and she took on the commitment whole heartedly.
Alfred began her Ask PAM journey with more than seven years of hospitality experience under her belt, having previously worked for elite clientele including billionaires, celebrities and businessmen and having already started two hospitality related companies in London and Montreal. Though she was very experienced, the process still had its challenges. Alfred had to do a lot of research. She jests that sometimes entrepreneurs only think they know what the problem is, but have to re-evaluate the situation to discover what the true problem is that they're trying to solve. She also had to find the right team, finally landing on a tech-savvy co-founder and CTO, Patrick Finken.
The company received a big break when they were selected from hundreds of companies to participate in the Google’s Demo Day in November 2016. Their participation opened a lot of doors and later that June, they participated FounderX through the Founder Institute. Sergio Escobar, whom Alfred knew through her participation at both Montreal Founder Institute and the Techstars Startup Next Montreal cohort, played an important role in helping her get noticed by Google. Presently, the company is looking for seed funding and hoping to expand into the US, looking for accelerators there.