10 Service Standards That Last

Sara Eastwood-McLean
Posted on October 1, 2013

Despite all the convenient technologies and new vehicles, the success of your chauffeured operation will always depend on the quality of your customer service. For the last two years, many transportation markets have bounced back from the economic downturn. Operators I speak with are thankful for being busy, but they are stressed by the demands to keep clients, including inbound affiliates, happy. I’ve read and heard so much about customer service topics over the years that it’s only fitting that I sum up the best principles of good customer care:

  1. Interact With Your Customers: If you’re hip on social media, keep that online element fresh each day. You don’t need to advertise or sell in every message; just think about helping your clients with useful information. Such constant contact and interaction counts the most in the long run.
  2. Meet Customer Needs: Doing so means putting in the extra effort. Customers remember being treated well, and positive experiences result in repeat business. You should encourage your clients to share concerns or complaints; all feedback is worthwhile. By letting you know if they didn’t like something about a chauffeured run, your clients hand you free information that can resolve their issues and improve your business. Complaining customers can be your best “consultants.”  Make sure your customers have clear, direct ways to communicate with you, whether it’s in person, by phone, or by email, and that a designated employee is always available to listen and handle the problem.
  3. Cultivate Loyal Employees: Loyalty starts at the top and works its way throughout the company. If you’re competent, you’ll earn respect from your employees. Employees are proud to work in an organization that has integrity, and are more likely to trust you if you are consistent in your decisions and actions. Loyal employees who like their jobs will transfer that devotion to your customers.
  4. Thorough Training: Training employees, the faces of your company, can empower them to make your company prosper. Encourage your employees with training programs that focus on the positive, such as how training helps them on the job and why it’s good for business.
  5. Inventive Incentives: Why should customers return to your business? There are numerous, creative ideas for keeping them: Buy two and get one free, frequent shopper points, rebates and gift cards all offer enticements for people to choose your chauffeured service. Take the time to market your incentive programs to your target niche client audiences, i.e. business travelers vs. nights-out partiers. Incentives especially pay off in slow seasons.
  6. Promote Service Awareness: I know this sounds obvious, but make sure your staff understands everything about your service delivery and business. Talk about how new ideas grow out of the old ones, and hold regular brainstorming sessions to gather ideas for the future.

  7. Build Reliability: Reputation and reliability go hand in hand. The more reliable your service, the better will be your reputation, as well as word of mouth about your company.  Be on time, communicate clearly, honor your promises and be considerate of your customers’ time and concerns. If something goes wrong, let customers know immediately and compensate them for the inconvenience.
  8. Be Flexible With Responses: Each customer is an individual with unique circumstances and needs. So it only follows that each problem or complaint needs its own tailored solution. Listen closely and hear the customer out before reaching conclusions. You’ll have a better chance of retaining their business, even if you can’t fully solve the problem. “That’s our policy” alienates customers.
  9. Technology Is Only A Tool: When interacting with customers, make sure it all ends up with a real person. There is a universal frustration among customers about not being able to reach human beings — a situation that is commonly mocked and scorned. Limit the amount of time a customer spends poking numbers on a phone and listening to recordings. Remember, people bring back people.
  10. Know Their Names: It is critical that you and your employees get to know the names of regular customers. People will return to your service if they feel important and respected. Adopt a policy for your employees to share their first names right away. Names build the connections and trust needed for long-term relationships.

We’ve all had bad customer service experiences, even in our own industry. Good customer support and care is rarer than you think. Follow these rules, and your chauffeured transportation service will stand out.

Related Topics: building your clientele, customer service, employee management, LCT Publisher, Sara Eastwood-Richardson

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