Operations

Don't Get Stung By Two-Timing Wasps

Posted on February 15, 2017 by Anne Daniells - Also by this author

This industry is somewhat unusual in its cooperative yet competitive nature. We need other operators within our own market to make us successful. They fill in for us; we fill in for them. We represent another company, and we use its logo and name when we greet passengers. We use generic chauffeur cards so the client will feel as if we are an integral a part of a distant farm-in company they know by name. And we do this even if we would love to have that client for ourselves. Even if the client really knows we are an affiliate. If we do it right, we earn a reputation of integrity and reliability. And given the wonderful operators I’ve met over the years, most do their best to provide top-notch service so we will reciprocate and give them business, too. But not all are so honest.

Every job has its frustrations, but few things raise ire more than shady operators. Crooked dealings abound when opportunity meets lack of integrity. When we cooperate like we do in this industry, we actually hand a client to a competitor and expect him to be our ally. So what do you do when a “trusted” affiliate does the unthinkable and stops representing you while on the job? Maybe the chauffeur hands a business card to a passenger to get another run privately, or an affiliate owner approaches your chauffeurs at the airport.

If you’re lucky, a good client will call and tell you what happened. Or a chauffeur will mention a conversation at the airport that only has corrupt intentions. Imagine how often it happens and you never know.

The airport is a hive of activity. Chauffeurs see each other all the time and are familiar with companies in the same locale. The drivers swarm at pick-up areas in a nest of baggage, travelers, and other operators. Unfortunately, some go rogue and break the code of conduct among affiliates by staking out your clients or your chauffeurs.

Now, competition is fine, and a client won by good salesmanship outside of affiliate work is fair game, but when an unscrupulous affiliate makes moves directly to chauffeurs or clients, you must spread a bit of repellent to let them know it can never happen, again.

And when it does, they need to be exterminated. Not just dropped as an affiliate — they need to be removed from the business hive with shame. Instead, honor your employees and other principled operators by sharing your story of shady behavior. This industry self-educates, and you have a responsibility to tell the truth and inform others about untrustworthy affiliates. There’s no need to slander or name call — just tell the truth. There are ample social media outlets with strong followings, and industry trade shows and networking groups that will want to support good, honest operators. Be one of them, and keep the vile insects out of our honorable collective.

California operator Anne Daniells has more than 25 years of experience in corporate America and the limousine industry, and once owned an LCT Operator Of The Year Award-winning limousine company. She can be reached at [email protected]

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