Industry leader and California operator Maurice Brewster contributes insights to a Wall Street Journal article.
In the chauffeured transportation industry, it’s not about men versus women, but rather what each can learn from the other. So LCT asked some women in the industry, “What can men learn from women?”
Make Attention to Detail a Company-wide Policy
“I think it’s the detail in the service. Women really get into the whole event. For example, if I’m doing service for a birthday party or wedding, I want to know all the details of the event. I’m into the whole experience. If it’s a wedding, I want to know what the bride will be wearing. If it’s a birthday I want to know how old the person will be. If it’s corporate work, or service for a large group, I’m into the entire event the transportation is needed for. And I think that this type of detail stems from whoever is at the top of the company. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback in this type of attention to detail service. It’s never client just needs transportation and that’s it. And no, not all men are this way, but it’s just something that women bring to the table.
I also try to do that with my employees. I personalize the gifts I give them, like manicures and pedicures for my female staff. Also, having more women on the NLA board and in the NLA helps to bring all sides of the picture together.”
President, Presidential Limousine
Loyalty More Likely from Female Staff
“Women employers and employees seem to have more loyalty. If another limousine company offers a female employee more money, she will approach her current employer and give them the opportunity to match that wage if all factors are equal, or give the employer the chance to explain why they believe what they pay is a better situation (because of great health benefits, pension, gas allowance, gratuities or other things).
It seems a male employee will see the higher dollar amount and run out the door to the new job, but then come back a month later asking for his old job back when he realizes the grass is never greener on the other side, no matter how many times you go to there. There is only so much any company can spend on employees. Some companies structure it differently than others, but the bottom line is always there.
Women also are extremely detail oriented and have very good communication skills, especially listening. We create a sense of community at the work place. If I have an employee who is going through an emotionally troubling time, I do my best to help them through it. That could be giving the stressed employee less demanding work for a short time, or time off, until they are able to get through the situation.”
Owner, Touch of Class Limousine
It’s the Extra Touches That Cement Business
“I think we really pay attention to what appeals to the client and we can be very gracious. Just doing a little bit extra for the customer, without it being too costly, makes the customer feel special. For example, we put ice and soft drinks in the limousine automatically. Now we may charge a bit more for our service, but that’s just our standard. If I know it’s a birthday, I put balloons and a card inside for the clients. Or if a passenger comes in really late, we’ll check to see if they want to stop to get some food. It’s just doing that extra little bit.“
COO, Special Occasions Limousine
More Pressure on Women to Demonstrate Know-How
“I don’t think it really matters if you are a man or woman in the business. If you’re honest, treat people with respect, are considerate and kind, then all that is reflective in your business. Women are more meticulous and good at pinpointing things as business owners. That may be because females in this industry means you have to go the extra mile to prove you are serious and knowledgeable. If you’re a female in this industry you have to know your business and make people realize you know what you’re talking about, and come across confidant.
Men don’t have to do that, especially in our business, transportation, because it is predominantly viewed as male-related. Also the way we approach employees, with respect and kindness, makes them want to go the extra mile for us. That may mean doing another job after their shift is over.”
President, Associated Limousine Services, Inc.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Business Slants Vary Between Men, Women
“Having both in the industry brings something different to it. Everyone is always saying that men and women are the same, but we’re not. We each add a different point of view, add something new. Our natural train of thoughts are different. Men tend focus on an issue, while women look past it and think about what may stem from that issue. That is why it is an excellent tool to have both sexes working on the same team to give us a more complete view.”
COO, Amms Limousine Service
Chicago Each Employee Merits Special Attention
“A female operator has more compassion toward her employees. I think that helps the relationship with my staff and helps to retain employees. I have about 100 employees between office staff, garage, dispatch and chauffeurs. And I really have compassion for my drivers. They’re not just a number to me. I really listen to them and try to ask about their families and their children and what’s going on in their lives. I spend time with my staff and acknowledge each and every one of them. I treat people fair and include them in everything that’s going on in the company. Everyone is part of the team and everyone is as important as the other. I think that’s something that is just instinct in a woman.”
CEO, GEM Limousine
Woodbridge, N. J.
Diverse Business Offers Limo, Security Services
“At M&L I handle limousines as well as sedans and vans. My husband handles operations and bus services in addition to a side business. We joined both services, transportation and security, and it has made an interesting life. I have been in management and driving for three years since 9/11 and I think men could learn how to respond to clients needs in a more warming manner. Women are pretty good at solving problems and handling job-related issues as well as most of the paper work and billing, and sales. “
President, M& L International Limousines,
Transportation and Personal Security Services
Customers Appreciate Attentive Listening
“Women are generally more compassionate listeners, which translates to a greater sensitivity to the needs of their clients. I believe clients who feel understood and respected are more likely to continue using a company’s services and will refer others.”
Owner, BG Consulting
Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Don’t Ignore Staff’s Personal Priorities
“I feel many chauffeurs are family men and male managers tend to feel business is more important than family. Sometimes they will refuse to let the chauffeurs have time off to attend children’s school programs or birthday parties. This is unfair and insensitive to the personal needs of the family. Making money is important, but maintaining happy chauffeurs helps with the way they treat your passengers. It’s also important to ask the chauffeurs about their families, make sure you are interested in the driver as a person and not just the way the chauffeur does the job.”
Owner, West Suburban-Travelers Limousine
Keeping Good Records is Key to Efficiency
“I’m a very organized person and I think men could take some tips on organization from us like keeping good records. Many women are homemakers in addition to businesswomen and because they are always balancing the two, they have to stay organized. I think men can tend to be more quick tempered on the phone, and women tend to be compassionate toward customers and really work toward keeping clients happy.”
Hire Quality Limousine
More Practice Needed in Exercising Patience
“Patience – generally speaking men have no patience. Also, learn to be polite and courteous because rudeness will get you nowhere. Of course, make sure you are knowledgeable about the subject you are being questioned on. You would be surprised at how many men I have come across on my end of the industry who will just tell you anything, and you can’t do that. You need to be knowledgeable to know how to solve a problem.”
Service Manager, Don Kott-Lincoln Mercury
Develop Complete Profile for Every Customer “Women look at the business totally different. Women look at providing service as an event. We are creative and we pay attention to details. When I get asked about providing service for a wedding, it’s not just a quote. I’m not just providing transportation. Men can learn from us to pay attention to detail. For me that includes maintaining profiles on clients from what’s their favorite drink to keeping track of their birthdays and anniversaries. It helps customers feel like they are one of a kind. When I do a telephone quote, I hear from potential customers, ‘You’re really taking time with me’ and I do, I get involved in their event.”
Owner, Two Step Limousine
Working Together Brings Points of View to the Table
“This is my sixth year in a male dominated industry that has been generally very accepting of me. I believe the men have paved a very strong path for someone like myself to continue on the journey. I believe the playing field is becoming more and more equal all the time. Living and working in a traditional, agriculturally driven economy---men own businesses, women work at them. I believe times have changed and it is not what we can learn from each other but how we differ and can do business together. "
President, DeVille Limousine Service
Saskatoon, SK Canada
Sensitivity to Individuals Enhances Communication “I would say that women tend to be more in tune with and sensitive to individual needs and personalities. This tends to improve both customer and employee relations. Everyone knows that not all employees are the same – they do not have the same abilities or character traits. If an employer acknowledges and employs an individual’s strengths and accepts the weaknesses, the employee tends to be more productive as well as confident in their job performance.
Similarly, sensitivity to the customer’s individuality enhances your communication with them, which in turn strengthens the relationship.”
Partner, Pike and Pike
Industry leader and California operator Maurice Brewster contributes insights to a Wall Street Journal article.
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