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Industry High Achievers Find New Ways To Excel

Posted on May 11, 2017 by - Also by this author

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LAS VEGAS — The ranks of award winners this year spanned first-timers, newcomers, veterans, and even some second-time winners of the annual Operator of the Year Awards.

Such diversity proves how any company of any age can embrace changes and new ideas — the theme of this year’s Show — and succeed in tough, competitive circumstances.

Winners of the industry’s annual business achievement awards were recognized March 14 at the LCT Awards Celebration in a ballroom, which was decked out in an array of bright colors and dynamic lighting that matched the futuristic theme of “Embrace The New.”

A panel of six independent judges scored two to four finalists in each category on a scale of 1-10 each in the following areas: Customer service, technology, safety/insurance, chauffeur training, media/marketing, and community/industry involvement. The highest scorers out of a maximum of 60 points became the winners.

Following a cocktail hour and plated dinner, Bobit Business Media CEO Ty Bobit and LCT Publisher and Show Chair Sara Eastwood-Richardson, who appear in these photos, took to the stage to announce winners. And while LCT’s annual awards recognize industry achievers, the bigger benefit comes from learning how and why they succeed. Here are the winners and a sampling of best practices from their  operations:

(L to R) Owner and CEO Eric Devlin; affiliate manager Corey Witzel; and business development/affiliate relations manager Jami Crouch. (LCT photo)
(L to R) Owner and CEO Eric Devlin; affiliate manager Corey Witzel; and business development/affiliate relations manager Jami Crouch. (LCT photo)

2017 LCT Operator of the Year 51+ Vehicles Category: Premier Transportation, Dallas, TX, www.premierofdallas.com

• If clients need to speak with the office, they can use an 800 number or a local number. Likewise, Premier’s website and email addresses allow clients to reach them 24/7/365. The company recently added live chat to its website in case a client prefers immediate access without calling. They also provide cell phone numbers to clients who need to reach office staff outside of regular business hours.

• Premier uses Zello, a push-to-talk voice app that offers hands-free, real-time, radio-style communication among dispatch teams and chauffeurs. With one click of a button, dispatch can communicate with one or multiple chauffeurs at the same time. Dispatch can advise of road closures or major accidents, creating an easy and safe way to communicate. Different types of devices can co-exist on one network within Zello. PCs can be used for the administrator console and for dispatching, while drivers can use any combination of tablets or smartphones. This app makes driving safer and adheres to no-talking or texting-while-driving laws.

• Company clients have often raved how their chauffeurs go above and beyond the call of duty, making exceptional customer service a daily routine. Besides helping them enter and exit the vehicle and handling luggage, their chauffeurs will also correct the temperature of the vehicle, adjust seat settings, or make sure clients take their preferred routes.

(L to R) Owner and CEO Arthur J. Rento and director of business development Anuj Patel (LCT photo)
(L to R) Owner and CEO Arthur J. Rento and director of business development Anuj Patel (LCT photo)
2017 LCT Operator of the Year 31-50 Vehicles Category: Pontarelli Companies / Pontarelli Worldwide Ground Transportation, Chicago, IL, www.pontarelliischicago.com

• Last year, Pontarelli moved its headquarters into the city of Chicago. Located just a few miles from O’Hare International Airport and on the Interstate 90 Expressway (The Kennedy Expressway), Chicago’s busiest highway. The office back wall literally sits along the highway exactly 120 feet away. They are painting their logo on a giant wall, which will serve as the key centerpiece to its future branding. The company estimates more than 600,000 impressions between the car traffic and the Metro trains, which zip by 50 feet from the back wall.

• A Pontarelli chauffeur arriving to work must immediately: Show all necessary licenses and credentials to the dispatcher, undergo an appearance/uniform check by the dispatcher and an eye and breath smell check, and perform an internal/external logged vehicle inspection.

• Dispatchers are trained and certified in supervisory drug and alcohol identification training through the federal government: What to expect, what to look for, how to react, and how to identify fatigue versus drugs.

• Dispatching is broken into two parts: Scheduler and quality control. They recognize the multiple duties and “hats” they wear. To help facilitate efficiency, two dispatchers are on duty 24/7. The lead dispatcher is the scheduler. The second dispatcher oversees quality control. A dispatching training manual is the guide to the details, but it takes hundreds of hours of live practice to learn the position the way it requires. They believe in live training methods, test scheduling off a test screen in its software, phone support, and flight support. Dispatchers are treated like the quarterbacks of the entire operation.

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