Luxury Coach & Transportation

March 2016

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 59 of 90

LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR MARCH 2016 55 on more than the wheel. The pulses of a region and of cli- ents beat strongly among those whom we trust to provide ex- ceptional service levels. We say that chauffeurs are the "face of the company." They say good morning and greet paying customers. But there's more than that — chauffeurs are the radar of every transpor- tation company. Use them to learn about clients to fnd bet- ter ways to personalize service. From social media to private profle information, this high- ly trusted group of employees' daily acquisition of information will resonate with clients. Have I Seen You Before? Social media has its place in every industry, and chauf- feurs can help out in their roles. There are always a few who like to be on Face- book, ever-ready with their cell phone photos. Recruit these socialites to document city landmarks or local hap- penings. After all, they are in the middle of the activi- ties every day. As you build your social media appeal on Facebook, Twitter, and Insta- gram, chauffeur viewpoints are a unique aspect to your company's service. Tweets on weather, photos of area events, and updates on the airport become valuable to clients. One of the most popular posts I had as an op- erator was a simple photo of a well-liked chauffeur in front of a local landmark. How sim- ple is that? Clients could rec- ognize this person, and they responded with more person- al comments and likes. Ideas and connections spring from chauffeurs in their unique position with passengers. A managed social presence that includes their view resonates more with passengers than the back-end management of an account. Getting employees on social media has its risks, but it also brings benefts. Even Forbes has documented the benefts of employees spreading good information about an organi- zation. This social encourage- ment has an "outsized impact" with employees 72% more likely to boost sales. When the chauffeurs are already there and engaged, encourage them to add ap- propriate posts, photos, and tweets to attract a more tech- savvy crowd and to feed common human interest top- ics in your market. It enlivens the interactions and keeps customers talking to only your company. We Can Help With That Increased sales can result from chauffeur involvement in other ways, too. Depending on company size, sales efforts vary. Mid- to large-size opera- tions may have a salesperson on staff to increase corporate accounts and develop retail packages. For a smaller oper- ator, it may be the owner who does most of this, but don't overlook the chauffeur staff. This untapped well of sup- port extends every company's sales force if used right. Chauffeurs hear of sales opportunities more often than anyone else in the com- pany — sheer numbers ac- count for this. Even the most dedicated reader of the busi- ness section won't have ac- cess to private information shared by local executives with their reliable chauffeurs. As an owner, our chauffeur supervisor commented near- ly weekly on how a client did not know we would glad- ly drive them the longer dis- tance from San Diego to LAX for fights, or that we could certainly arrange for transpor- tation at their fnal destination in other far-off places. In such a small world, it was always surprising how many clients "hadn't thought" of using a company they al- ready know to get the family and skis to the airport for a personal trip rather than tak- ing a shuttle or paying for long-term parking. And for corporate clients, company holiday party transportation, meeting coordination, and group movements some- times ft in perfectly. A sim- ple "we can do that," or just asking if the company has transportation for a meet- ing a client mentions, yields more (and more proftable) rides. Train the chauffeurs to listen for clues and respond appropriately during every airport transfer and point-to- point trip. Get It Down Only a chauffeur knows ex- actly what happens in those moments with a passenger. Making each trip a person- al experience is innate to good chauffeurs, so make it a priority for all. Chauf- feurs should be expected to keep logs of client prefer- ences to provide more per- sonalized repeat service. As an operator, our best chauf- feurs knew the cars that cli- ents drove, if they preferred the front seat, and what they liked to drink. Newspapers were regularly brought to the door in the early morn- ing, and chauffeurs in-the- know could ask intelligent questions about a client's child by name. Small talk about favorite sports teams, hobbies, and vacation desti- nations are second nature in a good chauffeur's conversa- tion with passengers. These intimate details form a stronger bond when done in a familiar and profession- al manner. Certainly, discre- tion is critical in our industry, but private knowledge when used appropriately improves each ride. This wellspring of information can be crafted to increase trust to a company's advantage, something TNCs can't do. No matter how the industry may work with or around TNCs, we all know trust is not one of their offer- ings. We have to use this ad- vantage intelligently and with great discernment as a way to stand out. Chauffeurs have the face, the eyes, the ears and the ex- posure. Train them to see, hear, and record what they glean from client interac- tions. If chauffeurs return to base with additional infor- mation for a client's profle, it will further deepen trust between a company and a passenger, and boost per- sonal satisfaction on future trips. Even if a chauffeur has never picked up a particu- lar passenger, he should be equipped with key informa- tion and trained to use it with discretion to personalize cus- tomer communication. Operators know that chauf- feurs infuence customers most closely. Acknowledging and fostering their involve- ment in an operation makes fnancial sense. We trust them to be safe, courteous and ef- fcient. Surely, we can use what they already do well to enhance a company's overall performance and enrich every client's ride. A simple "we can do that" or just asking if the company has transportation for a meeting a client happens to mention yields more (and more proftable) rides. ANNE DANIELLS joined LCT Magazine in January as a contributing writer. She previously was co-owner of Torrey Pines Transportation in San Diego. She can be reached at

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