Anyone used 'Fancy Hands' and had bad experiences?

My sister is raving about a service called ‘Fancy Hands’ that I now see is advertising on the Dope and it’s causing my bullshit flag to wave around wildly.

It’s described as a ‘personal assistant for everyone’. What I can’t figure out is, who needs this service? They say their top requests are for car services and restaurant reservations. Uh, why wouldn’t you do that yourself? Isn’t it just as much effort for me to e-mail a company and tell them I want reservations at restaurant X on a certain day as it is for me to call the restaurant directly? And if I need a car service to take me to the airport, I sure as Hell want to make sure that call really gets made so I’m not standing at the curb wondering if the car is coming, is late, etc. If I make the reservation directly, I know their contact information, who I talked to, etc. And if I need a special gift for someone and am too lame to pick it out myself, I find it hard to believe someone who doesn’t know that person is going to find something better than I will. Besides, many subjective requests just don’t have a good answer so you’ll feel like you wasted your time giving them a request, having them charge you, and having them come back with useless information you already found yourself in your own Web searches, which is why you went to them in the first place.

Obviously they advertise all their satisfied customers, but I’d like to hear from REAL people who have used the company and perhaps had unsatisfying experiences with this service.

I could maybe possibly imagine myself using a service like this. Thing is, I hate doing business over the phone (although I can and have). It’s just a bit off-putting to me to call up a stranger, even in an official capacity, and ask for something—especially if it’s a kind of transaction I haven’t done before and am not sure of the protocol (e.g. I’ve never used a car service).

Except, I wouldn’t use a service named “Fancy Hands.” They sound like a manicurist or nail salon. Yeesh.

I briefly worked for a company that did this. They mostly catered to high powered business people with more money than time. I can see using it for gift shopping if you have no skills for such things, and maybe picking up dry cleaning and walking the dog. The oddest thing I heard it used for was buying, setting up, and decorating a Christmas tree.

To me it sounds like a “service” you’d want done to you personally; cyber- just isn’t the same.

I could see the reservation thing coming in handy. If you want to get into a fancy restaurant on short notice, a “service company” with an established relationship with said restaurant will have more success than Joe Blow.

If you call Fancy Hands for a reservation at snooty restaurant at the last minute, but FH can’t get you a table, do you owe them for trying?

I don’t know. I have had luck using hotel concierges in this capacity, even if I am not a guest of the hotel.

For a fine dining restaurant? Perhaps a concierge at a four star hotel might get you a reservation when you couldn’t yourself, but I doubt an internet company called Fancy Hands would get you anything more than what you could get by picking up the phone.

WAG: The clients call Fancy Hands and say, “I feel like … hmm … Italian tonight. I gotta hot date, too. Need to impress her. Make it be so!”

One thing to note: the extremely successful self-help book The Four-Hour Work Week very strongly encourages the use of “digital assistants.”

Having only skimmed, my impression is that he’s mainly referring to hiring outsourced folks to do business-y tasks like post ads and astroturf review sites and whatnot, but I can imagine the popularity of the book causing a bubble for digital PA services.

Hello Everyone,

I realize my posting on this thread might attract some negativity, so let me preface everything by stating that I am currently employed as an assistant at Fancy Hands and have been working there for about eight months. I am not being compensated in any manner for posting here @ The Straight Dope. I am merely interested in providing honest answers to some of your speculation.

@Yarster - I was as surprised as you might be just how many people find use for our service. I think many of our clients either don’t like speaking with bureaucrats, or trying to obtain refunds/discounts/warranty fulfillment, need something (even if it is simple) done during a part of the day when they are not available to take care of it themselves or require research that they feel is worth $2 to have someone else do for them. Regarding confirmation that we’ve done as you request, we strive to provide you with data that you can use to confirm reservations. e.g. - e-mails directly from the hotel or car rental company or at least confirmation numbers. Or at least give you the name of the person we spoke to regarding your restaurant reservation or the price of a pair of shoes, etc… I agree that there are many people who would never care or have need to use a service like ours, but the same could be said for just about anything.

@Thudlow - The phone thing is exactly the type of service people use Fancy hands for all of the time.

@Rhytmdvl - LOL! I’ll pass that along…

@Travis, MPB, Mr. Moto & beartato - Sometime we can get a reservation, sometimes not. Many of us have a decent phone rapport and are determined to try harder than you might to get you a reservation at a popular dining establishment. However, most of us are probably not as well connected as a hotel concierge in the same city as the restaurant. I’d use the concierge too. fancy hands is better for times you just want to eat someplace popular and you’re open to a number of suggestions, you just don’t have time to call them all to see if they can accommodate you…that’s where we come in. And yes, if we can’t get you in, you’re still out $2. As much as we’d love to produce 100% positive results, there are certain things we just can’t guarantee the results you desire.

@purplehorseshoe - You are correct. That is oftentimes exactly what happens.

@typoink - I’ve read several article and publications along the lines of The Four-Hour Work Week. I hope this is more than a fad and that people learn how to leverage services like ours to their advantage. I believe that PA-type services like ours are not merely for business people who realize their time is indeed more valuable than ours. From the responses I have received from my personal work, I would say that many students, soccer moms and retired professionals are finding value in our ability to save them time and frustration.

Thanks everyone for giving me the benefit of the doubt and reading what I wrote. I am passionate about what I do and I sincerely enjoy helping people. Prior to working at Fancy hands, I was a Service Manager for an electrical contractor for over a decade and owner of a catering company prior to that. Providing exceptional customer service has pretty much been my life. I sincerely believe that I am making a difference in the lives of people who are using the Fancy Hands service.

If any of you decide to give Fancy Hands a try, please post back here and let me know about your experience.
Best Regards,

Glenn @ Fancy Hands :smiley:

And I’ll even offer a little discount for anyone who’s really interested in trying out Fancy Hands!

Here’s a link that will give you a 15% discount on your first 15 task requests:

Thanks, westsideelectric for that little bit of ignorance fought.

‘Fancy Hands’ is a curious choice of name for the services you offer. During the brainstorming was ‘Fancy Pants’ taken down?

And “Jazz Hands” was already taken.

I must say, that was one of the better examples of people showing up in threads about their product or service.

I’ll also bet that when you call FH, your call will be probably handled by a pleasant sounding woman who seems like she is sympathetic to your needs. Many, many people would rather make one call to such a person and have a chat with them to tell them what they need, for a small cost, instead of doing their own research and calling a bunch of places on their own. FH isn’t the first service to provide something like this.

That’s what I’ve seen services like Fancy Hands called, “concierge companies”.

I think that having a company you can call/email and ask for, say, “a reservation for 6 in a Japanese restaurant in Rome, for 10pm next Thursday”, is similar to having a travel agent or a personal assistant. Depending on your knowledge of the resources available, how much time you have, and how good this person is at finding exactly what you need, it can range from “completely absurd, doing it myself will be faster, better and cheaper” to “a lifesaver”.

westsideelectric, what are some of the stranger requests that you’ve had? And were you able to fulfill them?

Westsideelectric - I’m impressed we are able to hear straight from someone who works there. How does the billing process work when there is no right answer and you return an answer that doesn’t work for the client, so you try again? Does that count as two searches?

A good example is my aforementioned sister, who is a horrendous pain in the ass while shopping, but who you must have satisfied on some previous occasion. She told me she is looking for a particular type of faucet for her bathroom, but her description of what she wants is vague, and is of the “I’ll know it when I see it” variety. She has obviously checked every resource on the Web she can think of to look at faucets and hasn’t found what she wants. She’ll be bugging you guys next, so I think you’re in for a “bad customer experience” knowing the way she is…