Why We Shouldn’t Just Strive for the Ordinary
By Scott Mezger
It was truly a pleasure to personally meet and work with many of you recently at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. After attending this gathering, as well as other shows in the past, I once again am reassured in the knowledge that this is, and always has been, without question, the finest trade show in the industry. All of the people at Bobit Business Media and LCT Magazine work tirelessly to assure that the legend continues, year after year.
The theme of the morning portion of the chauffeur training was “Dare to Care.” I shared my personal belief that it seems the majority of livery operators I have met appear to strive for the ordinary. I challenged every attendee to put forth the extra effort necessary to help raise the bar at their own individual companies. There is no better time than the present for taking action. Working together for three short hours, it appears, is not long enough, so we really had to concentrate to discuss key topics, and helpful suggestions that can positively make an immediate impact on the overall quality of customer service. First, we looked at the critical role that chauffeurs play when it comes to a limousine company’s long-term survival, as well as potential growth. I recited one of my favorite sayings, which is, “A chauffeur’s actions will either entice customers to come back again and again, or assure that they never will.” We talked about the importance of every staff member within a successful limousine company to recognize and fully grasp this concept.
Often, the chauffeur is the only person the customer will meet face-to-face. For this reason, we looked at the importance of proper grooming for an individual, as well as the necessity of conservative thinking when selecting appropriate business attire. We also spent some time reviewing various proper etiquette suggestions, to better be able to “act the part,” thus enhancing the customer’s experience and overall satisfaction. It was also important to highlight the fact that, from a legal standpoint, while clients are riding with you, they are in your care, custody, and control. There are a multitude of responsibilities that come along with doing our jobs properly. In my opinion, they should never be trivialized or underemphasized. Critical issues, such as clients’ safety, chauffeurs’ safety, and vehicle security were talked about at length.
Real-life scenarios were discussed, to open students’ eyes to the possibility of unforeseen problems. If these unfortunate situations occurred to me, or to people I know, then there is a real threat that they could happen to others as well. I strongly urged everyone to review emergency procedures at their own companies. If one was not yet in place, then an emergency plan should be implemented without delay. A chauffeur must know, with certainty, what actions to take in a crisis situation.
Finally, we looked at specific ways for a professional chauffeur to increase tips. This was very straightforward. My advice was that you must be able to consistently exceed your customers’ expectations. Greater financial rewards will be achieved in this business by looking like a true professional, acting like a consummate professional, and confidently driving like a properly-trained professional.
Finding People with a Heart for Service
By Bruce Heinrich
Vegas 2007. Wow — what a whirlwind! The fastest three days of my life and the best show to date! For those of you who didn’t attend… it was a special time. The International LCT Show is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides an incredible forum for education, networking, and just plain having fun with your peers in the business. Who else can relate to the challenges we face and be able to laugh about it?
We had an excellent group of people attend the Advanced Train-the-Trainer seminar, which was composed of 25% owners and 75% chauffeur trainers.
Our mission was to discover a way to uncover and develop trainers who will cultivate your team of chauffeurs to deliver your unique product the same way, everyday, each and every time. We listed some specific obstacles, challenges, and areas we were certain to meet. These included: hiring techniques, compensation, instilling loyalty, timeliness, renegade chauffeurs, lack of pride, background checks, motivation, complacency, keeping people interested, lack of (or too many) chauffeurs, poor communication, and vague expectations. You know — the usual. While I believe some were hoping to receive a magic formula and simply go home and apply it, we discovered something pretty cool as we crossed those obstacles off the list — this is not rocket science; it is simply finding, training, and keeping people with a heart for service!
Finding, training, and developing quality chauffeur trainers begins with implementing a strong, systematic hiring and training process. It proceeds with discovering who will take a lead role and ends with providing them the adequate tools and authority to do a great job. Determining men and women of good character during the hiring process is your first step to having a good team of chauffeurs. From that group, those with the strongest ability or tendency for leadership will soon emerge and make themselves evident as your potential trainers. If you have trained and specifically indoctrinated them into your corporate culture and your specific expectations, they should soon be able to model your unique processes to your team of chauffeurs.
We had a lot of fun. Thanks to all of you who shared your words of praise and encouragement. You have everything you need to succeed. Just go and make it happen. The awards gala was fantastic and very inspiring. Congratulations to the winners and those nominated. You were all worthy of taking home the prize. And, as one of the keynote speakers stated, “Your success is your own fault.”
And thanks to all those who hosted the party suites. Very nice. I still smile and laugh just thinking about the crazy people I spent that evening with — you know who you are. It’s probably good that only happens once a year! Way to go LCT! My staff and I left Vegas moved in so many ways… Isn’t it always, always all about the people?