BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — You may wonder how to provide unique client experiences in your operations, especially when handling clients across multiple fleet vehicles, day and night.
The first rule is to tailor the experience or amenity to the client you wish to impress. That means you listen, observe, engage and care.
While you might not have a $2,000 daily budget as do Ritz-Carlton employees, there are many small but meaningful things you can do, such as remembering a particular brand of champagne a client prefers and gifting it to them. When a famous musician mentioned he didn’t care for the pillows at his hotel, one operator ran to a store and delivered new ones to his hotel room.
When Treanna Maddox, assistant manager of my former company, Limousine Scene, took an order from a gentleman to celebrate his upcoming wedding anniversary, she sprang into action. The couple was planning to attend the taping of the popular show, “The Big Bang Theory.” Maddox obtained a cardboard cut-out of the entire cast and positioned it in the limousine surrounded by balloons. The cast appeared to be riding in the car with the couple to the taping. They thought it was fantastic.
When Chevron wanted to entertain some foreign dignitaries in central California and show surrounding areas, including some wine tasting, Limousine Scene set up an entire day that included an onsite western style BBQ at a winery featuring cuisine unique to the area of California. Guests participated in grape stemming and crushing, enjoyed dinner served in a cave, and toured wineries and vineyards led by the owners and winemakers.
Often, a phone call asking for something can get results. A group traveling two hours to patronize a club in West Hollywood worried to a reservationist about not being able to get in or waiting in line all night. A call to the club manager in advance was all that was needed to get them in a VIP line. Well, the call and advising the club manager they were VIP, if only in the mind of the limo company.
To make things easier on bus travelers leaving a hotel late in the day, arrange in advance to get luggage from the bell staff and load the bus early. It’s better for the hotel staff without the rush of 40 people trying to claim their bags all at once, and it’s better for your passengers. They simply get on the bus. Then, make a list of every piece of luggage you load by ID tag on the bag so when Mr. Jones asks if you have his bags, you can easily say, “Yes, we loaded three bags for you Mr. Jones,” and ease his concern.
What If It Costs Money?
The clients we serve are generally well heeled. If they ask you to pick up a dozen red roses, they expect to have it added to their bill. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, you might ask, “Do you have a budget in mind?” On that note, don’t forget to mark it up. You should make some profit on everything your hand touches. If a client is not a regular and asks you to purchase flowers, you would ask the same question and then tell them it will be conveniently added to their total bill for service. Unless a client gets crazy and orders a diamond ring, you should obtain whatever goods or services are requested as long as the request is legal. A note of caution: Some operators have been known to facilitate drug transactions and prostitution services. Don’t be tempted.
Details, Details, Details
When legendary Country Western singer and “Hee Haw” star Buck Owens requested limousine service (prior to his death), he frequently wanted Constant Comment tea and Jelly Belly brand jelly beans in the limousine. Once a client has requested an item two or three times, keep it on file.
If a client frequently makes a long journey and sleeps most of the way on each trip, wow them by providing a pillow and blanket. Present it in clear plastic with the client’s name written on it. If you are driving a celebrity to a concert venue to perform, by all means, call the traffic division of your local police department to inform them and ask for help. The worst thing that can happen is they refuse. That’s not likely if you point out the potential for traffic problems if your artist decides to get out and sign autographs on a sidewalk. Always think fast.