TIME TO CALL IN: Recently, our publisher, Sara Eastwood-McLean lamented during a meeting about the poor standards by which our industry handles phone calls. I have since paid more attention when calling affiliates to place farm-out orders and handle other business.
I called an operator yesterday who needed a consultation from me about an insurance matter. When the operator answered the phone, he answered, “Limo Service.” Really? That’s it? Not even the name of your company? I asked, “Is this the owner”? He replied, “YEAH.”
I called another company in Northern California to give them an order. They answered with their company name. I said I need to check on availability for an upcoming job and the girl promptly said, “Hold.” I waited on hold for about five minutes until a guy answered and said, “What do you need?” While that phrase might be borderline acceptable, it was the tone in which he delivered the line that clearly indicated I was a bother to him.
Now, it was time to listen to my own people. The best way for me to accomplish this was to have various friends call in for rate quotes from their cell phones in speak mode so I could hear. I was lucky enough to run into a friend that actually had a reservation with me that she needed to pay. She called in to give her credit card number and pay the reservation in full. I was horrified when my dispatcher told her she was too busy to take the card right now and asked the client to call back in the morning between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to handle future reservations.
Obviously, a head rolled on that call! You might want to listen in to how your employees are handling your phones. It is a direct reflection of you.
— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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