Prom Nightmares Provide Customer Service Lessons

Lexi Tucker
Posted on September 21, 2016

North High School Senior Prom 2011 (Torrance, CA)
North High School Senior Prom 2011 (Torrance, CA)
Summer is nearing its end and school is already back in session for students across the country. Looking back, I remember my last year of high school (which wasn’t actually that long ago) went by faster than my graduation cap got thrown into the air at the end of it all.

While I have plenty of happy memories of senior year, one horror story will forever be burned into my brain: Prom. It had nothing to do with the dress I wore or my date (I won’t bore you with those details), but rather an argument about transportation that turned into an all-out war that ruined friendships.

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to be different, so as my group of friends and I began planning for the big event, I suggested we rent a party bus. My thought process was: “How cool would it be to be the only group to drive up to the venue in this ultra-rad bus with party poles and a kick-ass sound system?” On top of this, more open seats meant we could invite more people to help pay...and party.

Let me preface this by saying before I started working at LCT, I had no appreciation of the complexity of luxury ground transportation. I was unaware of how dangerous party buses could be if the company that owned it wasn’t legit or didn’t know proper safety procedures in case something went wrong. The only thing my teenage brain cared about was looking cool and trying to save money.

While my best friend and a few of the other girls I was close to agreed with my proposition, the same could not be said of some of my other female acquaintances. They thought that, logistically, a traditional limo would be easier, more exclusive, and make for better photo-ops. The debate went on for weeks and split us apart. In the end, my now smaller group of friends decided we would go with simplicity over style: stretch limo it was.

I know, I know. Get to the point! Well, I believe this teen girl drama can actually provide a few valuable lessons to operators.

Although I can't remember our chauffeur's name, I do remember how good he was at dealing with crazy teens. I hope our parents gave him a good tip...
Although I can't remember our chauffeur's name, I do remember how good he was at dealing with crazy teens. I hope our parents gave him a good tip...

Tradition usually wins out: Since the parents are the ones who pay for the trip, it’s essentially up to them to choose the vehicle. Most teens are perfectly happy with the black stretch that’s been a part of the normal prom routine for years, and it’s likely that recent news stories will deter parents from allowing their little boy/girl onto a party bus at this age. Limos are safer because fewer people move about during the drive. The chauffeur can also keep a better eye out for anything out of the ordinary (such as water bottles filled with vodka).

Gain a new generation of customers by talking to teens like they are adults: Although parents may be footing the bill, it’s not unusual for the students themselves to be the ones doing the research. If you get an email, text, or call from a younger customer, the worst thing you can possibly do is treat them like a child. If you offend them, you’ll just be giving them an excuse to sharpen their negative Yelp review skills. Take their inquiries seriously and help them understand the pros and cons of different vehicles.

Educate them now so they’ll use you later: These same teens you deal with now could be your future customers, but you need to reach them in ways that resonate. Make sure your website and social media pages are up-to-date and monitored frequently. Keep a blog where you address common problems about transportation to prom and other large/important school events. You may even want to invest in having someone design an infographic aimed specifically at this age group.

You’ve got quite a bit of time until the next prom season hits, so start prepping now and you’ll be ready when the inbox starts pinging.

Related Topics: customer service, Lexi Tucker, party buses, proms, social media, social media marketing, special events, stretch limousine, Think Fast Blog, youth marketing

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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