ROYAL OAK, Mich. —Allstar World Wide Chauffeured Transportation recently announced it has increased its fleet of vehicles and has boosted revenues each year for the past several years.
Business is going so well owner and President Bob Beutel recently held a job fair to fill 10 new positions.
Beutel (pronounced "Boytel") said he has worked aggressively to use improved customer service, enhanced computer technology, and a focus on corporate clients to set his company apart from competitors.
The company uses stretch limousines, luxury sedans, and 20-passenger coaches to transport passengers. All vehicles are discarded once they are two years old or hit the 150,000-mile mark. The 35 drivers go through several days of training. The training covers everything from the basics — clean, well pressed uniforms consisting of a black suit, a black tie and a white shirt — to things such as how to interact with the customers, including knowing when to talk and how to act. To monitor the performance of drivers, the company routinely uses secret shoppers.
"It's not a negative thing," Buetel said. "We want to reward them as well. We do it once a quarter. When there are problems we address them. Some people don't realize they are not doing the correct thing."
Beutel founded the company 13 years ago with a five-year-old white Cadillac stretch limo and one driver — himself. Initially, the focus was on social clients — weddings, proms, homecoming, and couples looking to splurge by taking a limo to dinner or a big sporting event. He still makes his vehicles available for those kinds of runs, but nearly a decade ago he began focusing on getting corporate accounts.
In an economy where fewer people are willing to lay out hundreds of dollars for a night's entertainment it turned out to be a wise business move. Growth has been averaging between 7% and 10% each year, he said.
The customer service aspect of the business is critical for Allstar, he said, particularly since Allstar gets 95% of its business from big companies.
To make the company run even more efficiently, Allstar acquired software a little over a year ago that helps track the movement of the drivers, particularly as it relates to the picking and dropping off of passengers. In recent months, Allstar has also added out-of-town ground transportation reservations to its list of product lines.
"We could place all the arrangements for you if, say, you were traveling to Atlanta," he said. "We have negotiated rates with affiliates. We have English-speaking chauffeurs in foreign (cities) like London, Paris, Frankfurt, Toronto, and Montreal. That's been a valued service for our clients. It saves them time and they know who they're dealing with."
So far, the investments in technology and the emphasis on customer service appear to making a huge impression on customers.
"The drivers are courteous, have professional appearances, and the cars are clean and up to date," said Barbara Conney, the chief concierge at the upscale Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, one of Allstar's clients. "They are often the first experience one of our guests will have in affiliation with anything having to do with the hotel."
SOURCE: The Detroit News