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French Limo Operation Handles Details With Finesse

Posted on February 27, 2012 by - Also by this author

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Paris limousine operator Karim Maachi offers service for all situations, for all times of day.
Paris limousine operator Karim Maachi offers service for all situations, for all times of day.

 

PARIS, France — French operator Karim Maachi faces challenges that should be familiar to U.S. operators: Handling those clients who just look at price as well as those who don’t but demand a high quality of service.

Maachi, general manager of Cardel Global in Paris, clearly sees only one option: Maintain a high quality of service for everyone amid the daily demands. At times, a client has to be educated on the cost and the value of the service, Maachi says. The company has seen triple-digit growth in recent years, especially in corporate road shows — one of its transportation specialties.

What is unique about chauffeured services in your nation compared to the U.S.?
Our industry is very different in France. The limo service is still considered a luxury service. The industry is divided into two categories, the chauffeur service and the cab service, nothing between. We do not have black cars compared to London or New York. Most of the fleets are equipped with Mercedes E Class and S Class sedans. Also, pricing is quite high compared to the U.S. or England because of very high taxes and charges in France, which automatically [affect] the price of the service.

What are key challenges of your service area/region?

The key in our industry, as in many others, is to stay attentive to the daily service provided to clients. That look of perpetual service quality must be attributed to only one person, the one who has contact with priority customers. In any case, for compliments or negative feedback, it is important to show the customer that someone is listening and supports his claim by making every effort to respond as quickly as possible. If the customer gets the impression that he is well treated, 50% of the work is made. The rest resides in the small daily details — the touches that make the difference with the competition.

What qualities do you look for in a U.S. affiliate?
We’re always looking for reliable affiliates in the U.S. Of course quality service is the priority, but the relationship is also a key. We only work with companies where we have one main contact available for our staff and providing affordable rates.

What specific rules or procedures do U.S. operators need to be aware of when affiliating with operators in your nation?

Two specific things: They must know that most of the companies provide mainly as sedan a Mercedes E Class, which equals the Lincoln Town Car but is much more expensive. The equivalent of the SUV is an MPV (Mercedes Viano). Also, due to strong regulations, the pricing process is totally different, in terms of night surcharges, driver meals, airport transfers. . . this is something they have to check before sending a job.

What are your primary business challenges?
Maintain the high quality service we provide everywhere in Europe and always innovate.

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