Tim Rose brings his expertise to next year’s highly anticipated event.
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. — Operators Bob and Neil Collins provide consistent and high-quality service by establishing clear policies and expectations. Their company, Autoluxe Transportation Services, operates in the New York metro area and specializes in airport transfers, financial road shows and media tours.
Fulfilling high expectations for such high-end clients requires attention to detail and procedure. Autoluxe has grown from a fleet of two Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles when it started in 2003 to 17 vehicles today. The Collins brothers prove that any fleet size operation can benefit from guidelines that are documented and communicated throughout the organization. They agreed to share their company guide for general ride and transfer work with LCT Magazine, which is published here as a useful primer for training chauffeurs.
GENERAL RIDE AND TRANSFER WORK (Copyright/ AUTOLUXÉ Transportation Services, Inc. /RC)
In today’s market, you have 10 seconds from the moment the client encounters you to sell yourself. How you present yourself — your demeanor, your attire, your vehicle — can make all the difference: a simple transfer can become an hourly charter, or the client calls in with repeat business and requests your services the next time, or that client refers our services and its chauffeurs to trusted colleagues and friends.
Make sure that you give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get to the pick-up location. Include extra time in the event you’re heading to the carwash before a scheduled pick-up. For commercial aviation, office, residential and hotel pick-ups, plan to be on location 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure. For general aviation pick-ups (e.g. Teterboro, HPN, etc.), be on location at the designated FBO 30 minutes prior to scheduled flight arrival and remember to sign-in at the front desk. The office will set up flight stats to your mobile phone for all commercial flights so that you are aware of flight delays and early arrivals. For general aviation, our office will either track the flight (if the tail # is not blocked) or provide you with updates from the designated FBO.
Shines, smells and amenities
Please make sure that your vehicle SHINES and that the vehicle interior, if inspected, would pass a white glove inspection. (If you’ve been out all day and your vehicle needs a REFRESH, take it through a car wash before proceeding to your next job. It’s better to be safe than sorry. More accounts these days are lost because of a dirty vehicle.) Provide your client(s) with cool bottles of mineral water and a copy of the daily newspaper (New York Times, Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times). Make sure that the interior cabin is scent-free, which means there are no citrusy cardboard trees dangling from the rearview mirror. (Whenever you have the conditions where heat, citrusy smells and the client’s perfume/cologne mix together in a defined closed space, the result can be quite TOXIC.)
Hide smoking habits
Autoluxe vehicles are designated as NON-SMOKING vehicles. If you smoke, always exit your vehicle to do so, and refrain from smoking when at a pick-up location. Note also that smoke is absorbed by your clothes, skin and hair, and lingers on your breath. Non-smokers will know in an instant. If you smoke, carry a pack of breath mints at all times. Our office should never receive a client complaint with regard to offensive smoking odors.
One or two hours prior to scheduled pick-up for that day, our office or our representative will call you to confirm the trip details. With so many changes made to clients’ schedules, this call is to make sure you have the most up-to-date information for the trip. This will include your confirming: vehicle type, nameboard/greeter sign or lead passenger’s name, p/u time and location, any additional drop-off stops, final airport drop-offs, etc.
When you’ve arrived on location, please notify the office. When picking up at a hotel, alert the doormen, give them the lead passenger’s name or project name, and point to where you are parked. If you have not made contact with the client(s) after 15 minutes (commercial domestic, 20 minutes; international, 30 minutes), notify the office. If you receive a call directly from the client or receive information from the client that deviates from the scheduled trip, notify the Office to inform us of the change. Good communication is essential in making sure that every trip is a seamless experience for you and the client you’re chauffeuring.
While waiting for the client or before heading into the airport terminal, set up the drop-off address location in your GPS beforehand. Doing so in advance will prevent your fumbling with the navigation system once the client is in the vehicle.
During the trip, keep conversation to a minimum when clients are in the vehicle. The standard rule is: Speak only when spoken to and then…
When on a multiple car pick-up, stay together when departing, traveling enroute, and arriving at the final location. One of you will be designated LEAD chauffeur to facilitate communication and to make sure that everyone remains together at all times.
Be alert to what’s happening around you at any given time, for changes in traffic patterns or for that meter maid lurking in the shadows. If you’re waiting for a client at a difficult pick-up location, notify the office. We will contact the client and ask them to call you when they’re ready to depart so that you can pull up at the last minute. Make sure that you’re always standing outside opening/closing passenger doors for the client(s).
Finally, at the end of the trip, check your vehicle to make sure that the client(s), upon leaving, has taken all their belongings with them. Notify the office when you’ve made final drop-off.
Tim Rose brings his expertise to next year’s highly anticipated event.
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