Operations

How To Make Chauffeurs Matter More

Lexi Tucker
Posted on August 11, 2019

Selim Aslan, president of MIB Transportation in San Diego, Calif., keeps an open-door policy so chauffeurs know they can always come to him with concerns.

Selim Aslan, president of MIB Transportation in San Diego, Calif., keeps an open-door policy so chauffeurs know they can always come to him with concerns.

As operators scramble to find qualified, dignified, and dedicated chauffeurs in a time when the economy allows candidates to be selective, it’s important to remember to treat the ones you have just as good if not better than new hires.

Work may get busy, but it shouldn’t mean you take the faces of your company for granted. You should be praising them when they succeed, and helping them when they miss the mark. Here are some methods that have worked exceptionally well for a few members of the industry:

If They’ve Got It, Flaunt It

Selim Aslan, president of MIB Transportation in San Diego, Calif. says when he gets feedback about a chauffeur through ZipWhip, he makes an example of it. His company has a bulletin board in the office where they print out the kudos and put it up for all to see. 

“Our ZipWhip text system is integrated with Limo Anywhere, so when each trip is done clients get a text asking if we have met or exceeded their expectations,” Aslan says. “When the feedback is positive, we forward the text to the chauffeur and praise them. When they come in, they like to check the board to see if their names are there.”

Tracy Salinger Long, president and CEO of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa. says publicly acknowledging chauffeurs for a job well done makes them feel valued. “If we receive a review that mentions a chauffeur by name, we copy it and send it to them, as well as post it in the chauffeur’s lounge.” She adds that clients’ generous tipping doesn’t hurt either.

Tracy Salinger Long, president and CEO of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa., treats her staff with kindness and dignity, which goes a long way.

Tracy Salinger Long, president and CEO of Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa., treats her staff with kindness and dignity, which goes a long way.

Mark Luxe, chief operations officer of Luxe Limo Service in Marlboro, N.J. says when he does his weekly follow up with clients, if one praises a specific chauffeur, he gives them a shout out in his weekly video update for his staff. He says when other chauffeurs hear them being praised, it makes them strive harder so they can be called out by name as well. “It motivates and pushes them forward.”

Public Praise, Private Reprimanding

One of the struggles with praising employees is figuring out how to encourage your other chauffeurs to be more like them without offending them. “When they see their peers being praised, they want that, too,” Luxe says. He leads by example and drives vehicles himself. When he gives chauffeurs a pep talk, he’ll tell them what he does that impresses clients. “It’s all about treating people the same way you would want to be treated and having a ‘plus one’ mentality; always going that one step further to really wow them.”

Salinger-Long says she puts out two email blasts a month to her chauffeurs that detail what they are doing well and what they need to work on as a group. “One of our chauffeurs remembered a client had a dog and brought treats. It’s little things like that the client appreciates. We point out what is happening right and blatantly encourage it; on the flip side, if a client has constructive criticism, at that point we take that one-on-one to the chauffer. I am a firm believer in praising in public and reprimanding in private. Nobody likes to be called out, but there are times when you have to have those conversations.”

Aslan says the praise board makes chauffeurs who aren’t there reflect on what they must do to achieve a position on it. “It makes them ask themselves ‘why aren’t I there?’ and encourages them to talk to each other and help each other improve. It builds a sense of comradery and self-motivation and nudges them to help them encourage each other as a team.”

Avoiding Awkward

Mark Luxe, chief operations officer of Luxe Limo Service in Marlboro, N.J. walks the talk and uses his own experiences to help his chauffeurs grow.

Mark Luxe, chief operations officer of Luxe Limo Service in Marlboro, N.J. walks the talk and uses his own experiences to help his chauffeurs grow.

There will certainly always be times when a chauffeur’s bad habit needs to be nipped in the bud. Salinger-Long ensures issues are addressed by those who handle each circumstance best. “My role is to help my people grow. If it’s a behavior related thing, I will take care of it. If it’s a safety item, we have our safety director assist them. They know he is there to help them improve. In the end, they understand the better they do, the more money they’ll make.”

Aslan, who also believes in the one-on-one approach, calls, texts, or emails a chauffeur who has received a complaint. He never judges and asks them to briefly explain what happened and what, if anything, they could have done differently to avoid the outcome. “We don’t interrogate. It’s a friendly chat about how we can prevent whatever the issue is from happening in the future. If we don’t, it becomes a habit culture and we don’t want that.”

Luxe says you must foster a family-like atmosphere so your chauffeurs feel comfortable speaking to you about any issues. “We speak our minds without getting mad at each other. If someone makes mistakes, you give them chances to correct it.”

Getting Them To Stay

Retention isn’t hard if you treat your staff with kindness and respect, Salinger-Long says. “We encourage them to do their best every day and put on events like catered BBQs. Everyone is invited as a thank you for doing a great job. It makes a difference because those who do this type of work understand it’s a soft-touch business; when they take care of clients, clients take care of them. Clients can get a ride anywhere, but why do they choose us? We make our chauffeurs feel valued and special, give them the tools they need to do the best they can, and want them to feel their thoughts and opinions are valued.”

Aslan posts MIB’s mission statement around the office so chauffeurs are constantly reminded of the company’s purpose.

Aslan posts MIB’s mission statement around the office so chauffeurs are constantly reminded of the company’s purpose.

Giving your chauffeurs a sense of responsibility makes them feel like the business is theirs. “We don’t want bad habits to become the culture,” Aslan says. “We want the good habits like being on time and professional to be engrained in how we do things. We have posters stating our mission in each room in the office and it reminds all of us we are here for a bigger purpose (see photo).”

Taking care of your staff just as you would your clients shows you aren’t just in the business to make a profit and work them to the bone without thanks. “If I hear they like certain restaurants, wine, or coffee, I’ll get them gift cards or a particular brand they enjoy,” Luxe says. “They are the face of the company and represent you and your business. You want to make sure they are happy when they come to work.”

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, chauffeur training, employee issues, employee management, employee perks, employee retention, How To, managing chauffeurs, staff management, staff training

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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