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RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation’s Robert Alexander has set up strong customer retention practices to please a diverse clientele across northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Central and Eastern Maryland.
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Loyalty doesn’t come easy anymore in a culture of abundant choices and instant communications. Tastes and preferences can change with the touch and flash of a smartphone, as consumers want it all now.
That can be a challenge for chauffeured transportation companies, for whom generating revenue from repeat customers counts far more than getting the same amount of business via high-volume customer turnover. Loyal clients always can be cultivated and kept as a chauffeured service learns more about their habits and routines that can be filed away.
Knowing how to focus, listen and negotiate are required skills for competing in such an environment, says one veteran operator who runs one of the three largest chauffeured fleets in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. At RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, founded in 1988, CEO Robert Alexander oversees an operation of about 120 vehicles that boasts strong revenue growth, low employee turnover, and most importantly, high customer retention.
Although customer retention rates are unverifiable at private companies, a percentage rate in the mid- to high-90s is considered strong, especially at a company such as RMA. It averages about 325 runs per day, with 250 on slow days and 500 on busy ones.
Retaining customers depends on how well you listen, and what better place to start than with each ride, Alexander says, via e-surveys and follow-up phone calls. “The best time to talk to a client is right after the service. If they had a bad experience, the company’s core values are still the same, we just didn’t deliver what we were supposed to do and now we are going to fix it.”
RMA hires an outside service to regularly and randomly survey a set percentage of customers and then mines the data. “We read surveys and look for nuggets,” Alexander says. “How do we compare to other limo companies? If we don’t get ‘exceptional’ or ‘yes,’ what can we do better? How can we be excellent in this category?”
Every company in the chauffeured transportation business invariably will have some service failures, given the 24/7 high-demand nature of the business and extensive coordination involved, Alexander says. “No business can say they haven’t had a chauffeur make a wrong turn, or had a bad day, or made a mistake.”