Who Is Really In the Driver’s Seat?

Posted on July 15, 2009 by - Also by this author

CHAUFFEURS AND DRIVERS ARE THE FACE OF YOUR COMPANY. One chauffeur can literally drive your client to leave your company and you may never know that you have lost the client as a result of actions by your employee.
For this reason, you must make sure of two simple things. The first is making sure that your employees are happy employees. This means avoiding any type of discipline before a trip. If you must confront a chauffeur over an issue, choose to do it after a trip rather than before the trip. Doing so before the trip can place the employee in a bad mood and that can spill over to your passengers and end in disaster.
A vindictive employee who leaves on a sour note can easily recall what client they drove regularly and take them to another company if they choose to jump ship because they were unhappy when they left. Don’t cheat your employees on their pay. Don’t give them crappy assignments over and over but spread those 3 a.m. airport runs equally to avoid having one employee feel less favored than another. Treat all employees equally and always look at things from their perspective when they have an issue with an assignment, a vehicle, a client or any other issue they feel needs to be resolved.
Take time to just say, “Thanks for doing a good job.” Heap praises on your employees in public and address complaints and problems in private. Every time a client calls in a compliment, I write the employee a memo thanking him or her for going above and beyond the call of duty. We print three copies automatically. One for the employee, one for the employee file, and one for the bulletin board so that all employees can read about it.
The second part of making sure your client has a good trip is to reiterate to all employees that the passenger is REALLY in the driver’s seat. If the client wants to take a particular route, that is exactly the route that should be taken. If the client wants the air-conditioner in the sedan off or on, the passenger’s decision should be honored. Of course all of this comes from training in customer service and making sure that if the request can safely and reasonably be delivered, even if there is a fee or additional time involved, it is done the way the passenger requests. As long as the passenger is not destroying the vehicle, causing damage, or being dangerous, requests from passengers should be honored as if you were delighted to be doing it for them.

— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor

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