Page 1 of 3
Sunil and Kal Sanghera with Regent Limousine’s luxury fleet in front of the Parliament Building in Victoria, B.C.
On a clear, sunny day in Victoria, the scenic capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia, a phone call landed in the office of Regent Limousine. On the line was an affiliate that needed a car for an airport pickup A.S.A.P. Their reservation system hiccupped and their client had just called asking where his car is. The affiliate didn’t have any available.
Several sedans were parked in Regent’s lot, but all of the chauffeurs were out on runs. The reservationist relayed this information to Regent founder and CEO, Kal Sanghera. The airport sits 15 minutes away from his 19-vehicle operation. “Can you help us?” the dispatcher asked.
“Okay,” Sanghera said without hesitation, “tell them a car is on its way.” He changed into the chauffeur suit he keeps in his office, got behind the wheel of a Lincoln Town Car and headed out to Victoria International to save the day.
Clients always have been Sanghera’s first priority. Such dedication to the customer propels Regent Limousine past the quarter-century mark this year.
Time for a change
Before entering the limousine business, Sanghera spent 25 years honing his customer service skills in the world of high-end hotels. An entrepreneurial itch eventually led him to the transportation industry in 1985, where he operated a fleet of upscale taxis whose drivers adhered to a unique dress code Sanghera had put in place.
In 1986, Sanghera was approached by a friend who was manager of the Victoria Regent Hotel. He’d been running a courtesy van service for guests but felt it was time for a change. A connection forged in Sanghera’s head.
“I decided to get a limousine,” he says. He bought an old 1973 Cadillac limousine, into which he dropped $10,000 of refurbishments, and chauffeured the Regent’s guests. “It was successful, so I thought, ‘Why not start my own limousine business?’ In those days there were only two limo companies in Victoria.”
He founded his company in 1987, naming it Regent Limousine after the hotel that opened the industry door for him. “It’s been 25 years, but it feels like it was just yesterday.”
Success is in the service
As the years rolled on, so did Regent’s vehicles, which grew in number as the company earned more accounts. Today, the company’s business is split 50/50 between corporate and retail clients.
Summer tour groups visit Vancouver Island, with more than 280 cruise ships making stops there. On the corporate side, Regent handles many road shows that visit from Los Angeles, New York, Boston and London.
Sanghera owes his success to several factors, especially a focus on treating clients as individuals.
“My strongest point is customer service,” says Sanghera, whose background in hotel management shaped his high standards. “I pay attention to every detail about our clients. I know their names, the names of the kids and spouses. I congratulate them on their anniversaries and kids’ birthdays. I personally meet first-time clients. I make sure my staff and chauffeurs also keep in mind these details.”
This personal approach helps develop strong bonds between company and client. It is a philosophy that permeates the company, from office staff to chauffeurs.
“I consider myself lucky,” Sanghera says. “The other limo companies in Victoria, the oldest ones, don’t exist anymore, and it’s because their customer service suffered.”