Operations

How To Impress Foreign Affiliate Companies And Clients

Lexi Tucker
Posted on December 7, 2016

Since this is the international issue, it’s a good time to focus on the world outside of your backyard. While some of you may already have affiliates worldwide, what are you doing to prepare for their clients who come to the states?

I promise I’m not here to give a social justice warrior spiel about how we need to consider how we might be hurting people’s feelings; there’s a big difference between being politically correct and being professional. I’d like to give you some tips on how you can really impress potential new clients by going above and beyond the call of duty to recognize and adapt to their cultural and language differences.

Millennials Matter

According to research done by The Pew Research Center, “Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse cohort of youth in the nation’s history. Among those ages 13 to 29, 18.5% are Hispanic; 14.2% are black; 4.3% are Asian; 3.2% are mixed race or other; and 59.8%, a record low, are white.”

If you don’t have any Millennials on your team, it’s time to start looking. The perspective they can lend to your operations will be invaluable. While you might not be familiar with the habits of Japanese business people, perhaps you’ll find someone who grew up there and understands the proper bowing and greeting procedure.

You may be given the opportunity to hire someone who can speak English and Spanish, and therefore communicate 10 times better with your affiliate in Columbia, Spain, Venezuela…you name it.

Many college students study abroad every year and prize such experiences far above any material object. Worldliness combined with a top-notch education in business or communications can have you swimming in satisfied foreign customers.

Hola. Bonjour. Ciao.

If you’re perfectly happy with the employees you have and aren’t looking to hire anyone new, consider adding a new cultural education element to your training program or incentivize learning a new language.

PRISM International, Inc., a provider of consulting services, training programs, and products for increasing cultural competencies, is just one example of a company that provides tools to help your staff learn more about other cultures and give them confidence and skills. 

It offers a course called Providing Outstanding Service Across Cultures that it claims “increases understanding of barriers, feelings and questions when doing business in an unfamiliar culture and language; answers tough questions and addresses specific customer and patient situations; and increases skills, confidence and results for communicating effectively, accurately, and respectfully, and providing care in culturally competent ways.”

Another possibility is using a company that provides language training for businesses. A company such as Communicaid, which offers language courses in-office and online, is an example of something that can help set you apart from every other business that doesn’t consider global prospects.

Prove It

It’s become a popular trend for luxury ground transportation companies to brand themselves as “worldwide,” “global,” or “international.” But if this is what you are selling to your customers, you must walk the talk. Are you really “global” if your chauffeur doesn’t know giving a thumbs-up can actually mean the same as giving someone the finger in some countries? I think not.

If you don’t have the world’s largest budget set aside for training your staff, the easiest and most convenient thing to do is use Google. It’s better than being completely unprepared to handle VIPs from, let’s say, the Middle East. However, make sure the sites you consult are reliable and not some random person’s blog.

Americans are often perceived as people who lack cultural awareness. If you can’t find the country of a specific client or affiliate on a map, maybe it’s time to take a second and do so. Let’s start impressing foreign customers and reverse this stereotype.

 LEXI TUCKER is LCT assistant editor and coordinator of the LCT Fast 40, a group of operators under 40 who collaborate and learn from each other about all aspects of chauffeured transportation. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: chauffeur training, company culture, Global operators, How To, international, international business, Lexi Tucker, Millennial Matters, Millennials, staff training

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 2 years ago

    The only reason any limousine operator should search for affiliates is to grow their bottom line. We have received blast emails from some operators that dont really meet our requirements. If you are one of these fake operators your only doing damage to your company since we all speak to eachother. Having old vehicles or simply a few from a 80+ vehicle list does not get our attention. Sell your old fleet and buy new vehicles if you want to be a real operator

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