Luxury Coach & Transportation

August 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 31 of 51

MOTORCOACH / AWARDS Jefferson Lines 'Listens to Customer Needs' Celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the Minneapolis-based company constantly refines its operation to improve service levels, earning METRO's Innovative Operator of the Year Award. M arking its 100th an- niversary this year, Minneapolis' Jefferson Lines owes much of its success to deliver- ing excellent customer experiences through innovation and quality service. "If you look at our history, it's fasci- nating to see the tremendous spirit of innovation that has built our reputa- tion," says Steve Woelfel, president of Jefferson Lines. "Since 1919, Jefferson looked to develop the technology of the times to deliver the best experience for our customers. More recently, we have really focused on using technology to improve the customer experience." A key component is always listening to the needs of the customer. Jefferson uses customer satisfaction survey data, which the company collects monthly through the help of an independent third party. Woelfel says the company has learned much from the surveys while also constantly staying out front on enhancing customer experiences. One such change they made re- sulted in better on-time performance for their line-run services. "In 2012, we looked at what on-time performance meant to our customers and found in the fixed-route industry, the focus was on departure time rather than arrival time," Woelfel says. "So, basically, that means if we get some- where two hours late, but departed on time, that was still considered on-time. We realized with vehicle-tracking devices and the ability to use geofenc- ing and other technology, we could probably do better." To revamp what it meant to be "on time," Jefferson redefined the measure to mean their buses must arrive within 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival to be considered "on time." To begin the process, Jefferson examined their sched- ules to make sure they were realistic and solicited feedback from drivers and other frontline employees to see how they could meet their new goal. "When we first measured using our new metric, we were on time 45% of the trips, but through refining our processes we now average 85% on time," Woelfel says. "With many of our trips hundreds of miles long, a lot can go wrong, but we took the customer's feedback and made it our priority." Measuring Performance Woelfel says being part of a Spader 20 Group has also contributed to Jeffer- son's success, especially through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As a group, Woelfel explains his Spader Group decided to explore how to create and use operational KPIs to improve their businesses. "Financial KPIs were working well for us, but we wanted to create opera- tional KPIs as well," he explains. "So, we agreed on what was important to mea- sure, created definitions, and developed measurements in operational topics, including safety and maintenance." e operation uses KPIs to not only compare how they are doing internally, but also how they rate against their peers, Woelfel says. One benefit he notes is the ability to reach out to those peer companies to ask questions about 3 0 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION AUGUST 2019 "If you think about it, motorcoach is not only the most environmentally- friendly and safest mode of transportation, but it is also the most flexible." By Alex Roman, Managing Editor, METRO Magazine

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