Industry Research

Find Your Cool Factor: Results Reveal Changes To Embrace

It brings me great pleasure to announce our 2017 industry statistics book. LCT conducts a comprehensive industrywide survey each year to provide you with a guide-by-numbers on how our industry is doing. Many thanks to those of you who completed this detailed survey. I know it’s a lot to ask in our frenetic world, but for the good of the whole, enough of you responded for valid results. LCT is proud to be the sole source of reliable industry statistics for more than 25 years. So let’s look at the landscape:

Nearly half of the market is reporting revenues up. That’s great news, except expenses are higher as well. The goal here is to boost bottom line growth. So we’ve got to focus on managing our expenses. I said this at the State of the Industry address during our International LCT Show in March. We must embrace technology to streamline our processes and scale back our headcount.

The No. 1 cost center in this business is human capital. I mentioned how artificial intelligence and bot technology are becoming mainstream in major customer service industries. As crazy as it sounds, just around the corner a refined version of Siri is waiting to be the voice behind your call centers, your customer service department, and dispatching. I am excited to see that 85% of chauffeur communications are done with smartphones. Mobile technology is the primary reason why our global economy is undergoing such a paradigm shift in how we do virtually everything. Insurance rent rates went up nearly 80%. That is a major jump. Insurance costs are your second biggest line item expense.

I’m a bit concerned about the mood in our industry. Four out of 10 respondents said market conditions are getting worse due to TNCs. More than half report losing some business to Uber and Lyft. This will bring morale down unless we sit down and carve out a plan. Your plan has to involve giving what the consumer wants and live up to their new expectations. You need to spend more time talking to your customers and involve them in refining your services. One size does not fit all, so what works in one market may not in another market. To understand how to reposition your company or create new divisions for your services, you need to know what your specific market wants and values for their money.

Finding and retaining chauffeurs is your top business concern. First, you must keep the ones you have happy and stop turnover. Invest in training and more importantly retraining. Spend more time with your chauffeurs and create a community. Use your iPads to send messages out personally to chauffeurs on the road every day. Believe it or not, money is not the motivator for staying with a company. Employees stay with managers they feel value their work, involve them in the business, talk to them regularly, and cultivate relationships. The only way to breed loyalty is through connection at the human level. We are challenged in a world where people are flocking to work for cool, hip companies. We’re considered old school by the new workforce looking to participate in start-ups or exciting new companies. I think this is something easily overcome.

Bobit Business Media open workspace plan (file shot)

Bobit Business Media open workspace plan (file shot)

My parent company has been around for more than 55 years. It recently renovated its offices; down with the wood paneling and up with the bright colors in conversation pods complete with beanbag chairs and flat screen TVs, and great new workstations. Look at your businesses from the lens of a Millennial employee, and when in doubt, ask and look around. Go on Pinterest and type in cool office spaces. We should make our business attractive from a staff and a culture standpoint. We need the cool factor!

This industry has been spending a lot of money on equipment which will put pressure on the P&L. That’s normal for businesses growing or changing. But don’t forget about bottom line growth. You need to get out there and sell. Look closely at your top 10 accounts and find ways to increase their spending by 10%. Imagine how much revenue growth you would enjoy! Look for ways to streamline and reduce costs. Get sticky with your customers and find out how they perceive customer service in today’s marketplace, and then provide it for them. Fall in love with technology. It won’t hurt you!

Related Topics: industry surveys, industry trends, LCT Fact Book, LCT Publisher, research and trends, Sara Eastwood-Richardson, state of industry

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Despite concerns about potential disruptors, travelers contniue to embark on new adventures (Photo via Pexels user Matthew Barra)

Luxury Travel Will Surge In 2020

The results of a recent survey reveal an overall positive outlook, despite concerns about political and economic stability.