People

Virginia Operator Makes Service Serious Business

Lexi Tucker
Posted on January 31, 2019
Marrow has never been one to sit still and has what it takes to adapt to change.

Marrow has never been one to sit still and has what it takes to adapt to change.

Who: Cecil Marrow, VP of Operations, Marrow Transportation & Limousine Service, Williamsburg, Va.

Serving Others: Marrow focuses on his customer service strategies. “It’s easy to say you care, but it’s hard to implement properly,” he said. “You have to be gifted in your own way and have your niche. You must have a distinct influence on how you deal with clients.” Since he has experience in the restaurant business, customer service is embedded in his soul. “I want to treat my clients how I want to be treated. Some might call them high-maintenance, pampered, or spoiled, but let’s face it: We all get frustrated when other service oriented businesses interactions don’t provide the level of service they should. Serving others is an art.” He once talked with a client from the high-end hospitality industry where something the person said stuck with him: “Presentation is nine-tenths of satisfaction. Knowing however you present your service all relates back to the fact you only get one time to make a first impression.”

Marketing Insight: An avid reader of LCT, Marrow notes an important point made in a past article: Although you might have automated marketing techniques set up to make your life easier, a personal phone call, not from your reservationist or CSR, but from you, the owner, is irreplaceable. “Having that personal connection is a well-rounded marketing strategy. You have to be able to read your client and reach them personally to meet their needs.”

True Success: He still tears up when he gets a call from a client he had a few years ago who has remembered him and his company. Operating in a tourist destination, the company doesn’t always see a lot of repeat business, but when someone reaches back out, it really touches him. “It indicates we did a good job.”

Fast Facts

Location: James City County, near Williamsburg, Va.

Owner: Cecil and Stella Marrow

Founded: 2006 incorporated, 2007

Vehicle Types: Sedan, SUV, and minibus

Fleet Size: 5

Employees: 8

Website: www.marrowtransit.com

Phone: (757) 564-5466

Getting Started: After eight years in the restaurant business, he took a break from owning a company for two and a half years. When he saw how complicated work in corporate America could be, he decided he’d go back and start working for himself again as an entrepreneur. There were a few different options, including returning to the restaurant or funeral service business, but he ended up choosing the luxury transportation industry.

He at first wanted to be a private provider for the senior citizen community and concentrated on assisted living and individuals living alone. Although Williamsburg, Va. has an affluent retirement community, he quickly saw it wasn’t a lucrative market. The demand was there, but there wasn’t enough volume. He soon started doing airport transfers and then the sector expanded to bring more corporate work, weddings, and winery and brewery tours.

Lessons Learned: The one thing he would have liked to have done differently is study his market more closely. His business still worked out in the end, but he advises others to do a full analysis of the demographics in the area they wish to serve.

Advice For Newbies: Uber and Lyft have shifted public perception in an on-demand world. Everyone needs transportation, so conduct plenty of research, find your niche, and follow a mantra. Marrow’s is to provide safety and service, and that will generate satisfied clients.

Future Plans: He would like to enhance his business by learning new strategies for surpassing client’s expectations. “We want to be the best at what we are doing, so we don’t want to grow too big,” he said.

Just For Fun: Marrow is a big sports fan, particularly football (Steelers) and basketball (Lakers). He also enjoys spending time with family and travels a few times a year.

Related Topics: customer service, small business, small-fleet operators, tourism, Virginia operators

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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