Luxury Coach & Transportation

December 2016

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 56 of 75

LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR DECEMBER 2016 55 SINCE THIS IS THE INTERNATIONAL ISSUE , it's a good time to focus on the world outside of your backyard. While some of you may already have affiliates world- wide, what are you doing to prepare for their clients who come to the states? I promise I'm not here to give a social justice warrior spiel about how we need to consider how we might be hurting peo- ple's feelings; there's a big difference be- tween being politically correct and being professional. I'd like to give you some tips on how you can really impress potential new clients by going above and beyond the call of duty to recognize and adapt to their cultural and language differences. Millennials Matter According to research done by The Pew Research Center, "Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation's history. Among those ages 13 to 29, 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 59.8%, a record low, are white." If you don't have any Millennials on your team, it's time to start looking. The perspec- tive they can lend to your operations will be invaluable. While you might not be fa- miliar with the habits of Japanese business people, perhaps you'll find someone who grew up there and understands the proper bowing and greeting procedure. You may be given the opportunity to hire someone who can speak English and Spanish, and therefore communicate 10 times better with your affiliate in Co- lumbia, Spain, Venezuela…you name it. Many college students study abroad ev- ery year and prize such experiences far above any material object. Worldliness combined with a top-notch education in business or communications can have you swimming in satisfied foreign customers. Hola. Bonjour. Ciao. If you're perfectly happy with the em- ployees you have and aren't looking to hire anyone new, consider adding a new cultural education element to your train- ing program or incentivize learning a Make jaws drop by hiring and training employees who know the importance of being cosmopolitan. How To Impress Foreign Affiliate Companies And Clients By Lexi Tucker, LCT assistant editor new language. PRISM International, Inc., a provider of consulting services, training programs, and products for increasing cultural com- petencies, is just one example of a com- pany that provides tools to help your staff learn more about other cultures and give them confidence and skills. It offers a course called Providing Out- standing Service Across Cultures that it claims "increases understanding of bar- riers, feelings and questions when do- ing business in an unfamiliar culture and language; answers tough questions and addresses specific customer and patient situations; and increases skills, confi- dence and results for communicating effectively, accurately, and respectfully, and providing care in culturally compe- tent ways." Another possibility is using a com- pany that provides language training for businesses. A company such as Com- municaid, which offers language courses in-office and online, is an example of something that can help set you apart from every other business that doesn't consider global prospects. Prove It It's become a popular trend for luxury ground transportation companies to brand themselves as "worldwide," "glob- al," or "international." But if this is what you are selling to your customers, you must walk the talk. Are you really "glob- al" if your chauffeur doesn't know giving a thumbs-up can actually mean the same as giving someone the finger in some countries? I think not. If you don't have the world's largest budget set aside for training your staff, the easiest and most convenient thing to do is use Google. It's better than being completely unprepared to handle VIPs from, let's say, the Middle East. However, make sure the sites you consult are reli- able and not some random person's blog. Americans are often perceived as people who lack cultural awareness. If you can't find the country of a specific client or affili- ate on a map, maybe it's time to take a second and do so. Let's start im- pressing foreign customers and reverse this stereotype. MILLENNIAL MATTERS I DECEMBER 2016 LEXI TUCKER is LCT assistant editor and coordinator of the LCT Fast 40, a group of operators under 40 who collaborate and learn from each other about all aspects of chauffeured transportation. She can be reached at

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