The Tradition of Service

Posted on July 1, 1983 by John Kilroy, LCT Editor

In talking with successful limousine service operators across the country every month, there is almost always a common quality that emerges from our conversations. It is an attitude that is very subtle and rarely defined, but still an important presence in the way these business people view their work. It is the idea that a significant appeal of limousine services lies in the industry’s anachronistic view toward providing service. Limousine companies provide service the likes of which have not really been seen in many other fields of business since the 1930s. The limousine service operator who understands this value will have a much greater chance at success.

The case in point that I wish to present comes from outside the limousine industry, but still represents similar circumstances. It involves a wine shop, the caliber of its service and its ability to generate word-of-mouth business.

While I am by no means a wine expert, I do appreciate a good bottle of wine at a fair price. But I found that liquor stores generally had a poor selection and employees who could not offer advice on the values of their wine inventory. Wine stores, on the other hand, tended to be stuffy and snobbish to the point where those with little knowledge of wines could easily feel intimidated asking basic questions or even inquiring about price.

Then, I found a wine shop close to work where the proprietor was enthusiastic and genial, with a sincere desire to help. He had the quality of a kindly professor. He loved to talk about his business and educate his customers as to the beauty he had found in great wines. Shopping for wine in his small store would often take me up to an hour, as he shared both stories and wine. It was service in a retail store that I have never found before and have not yet seen matched.

And I often got the feeling that this type of small, specialty shop existed in greater numbers in earlier years; that it had just become economically unsound to make friends with customers or spend any time talking with them.

The point to this story is that I became personally responsible for sending at least 20 people to his shop. And they, in turn, sent their friends. With the time and service spent on this consumer, he increased his business at least 50 times beyond my own purchases.

His shop seemed a graphic illustration that while service of this nature seems out-of-date at times, it is by no means out of demand.

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