Operations

Duke’s Limousine Treats Customers Like Royalty

Lexi Tucker
Posted on September 30, 2016

Brandon Tiet, president of Duke's Limousine, is always ready to take care of his customers
Brandon Tiet, president of Duke's Limousine, is always ready to take care of his customers
HONOLULU, Hawaii — Most limo operators don’t just wake up one day and decide to provide luxury transportation. You either grow into it or get used to the idea, first. In the case of Brandon Tiet, president of Duke’s Limousine in Honolulu, providing outstanding customer service runs in his blood.

Humble Beginnings

The company was started by Tiet’s parents, Duke and Tanya. After starting off in the taxi industry, they decided on a limousine company. In 1994, they pooled their savings and bought two 100-in. Lincoln Town Car stretch limos.

At first, the couple ran the business from a small desk and rented out parking space for their two vehicles. Gradually, their clientele grew and they needed to find a headquarters for their company. Unfortunately, Duke Tiet was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and died two years later. Brandon stepped up from his role as operations supervisor and took over as president.

Customers Come First

Duke Tiet, founder of Duke's Limousine and Brandon's father (Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram)
Duke Tiet, founder of Duke's Limousine and Brandon's father (Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram)
One of the things Brandon has learned while growing with his company is the importance of listening for what your customers need. You have to cater to their desires no matter how strange or silly.

“Sometimes we’ll get some pretty interesting requests, but we still go through with it,” Tiet says. “We stand by our customers, and unless it’s something that’s really pushing it or illegal, we won’t say no to them.” From dog airport pickups to early morning wake up calls, Duke’s Limousine tries to serve however asked.

The company’s clientele ranges from vacationers to business travelers and everyone in between. “Hawaii has become a pretty centralized meeting place in the last decade for foreign executives coming from Asia, because it’s the midway point between that continent and North America,” he explains.

When handling clients in Hawaii for a relaxing getaway, Tiet takes pride in his company doing all it can to welcome them. “Even if they just use us to book a ride to and from the airport, sometimes they’ll also call us to help them plan their vacation. We’ll spend time on the phone with them to give them suggestions.” In his view, he always has time to help a customer, no matter how big or small the job.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram
Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram

Tiet’s operation recently started taking advantage of the Zello app, a push-to-talk application for smartphones and tablets. It’s a cheaper way to set up different channels and talk groups for employees to contact one another during runs.

“It really helps bridge the gap in communication between our office staff and chauffeurs and makes things a lot quicker, especially when you have large jobs when you are trying to communicate with many different people,” he says.

Since everyone uses one channel, dispatchers can broadcast information with ease. The company’s operations have become more efficient because chauffeurs are able to beat Hawaii’s traffic problem. “Our dispatchers can broadcast traffic information to help chauffeurs avoid big traffic jams. They wear a headset so it doesn’t interfere with the client’s rides,” he says.

To help eliminate unnecessary chatter, the company also uses the Driver Anywhere app through Limo Anywhere. This allows chauffeurs to update reservation statuses as a ride progresses, log times such as "on location" or "customer in car,” process payments, obtain electronic signatures from clients, and log their trip related expenses.

Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram
Photo via Duke's Limousine instagram
What The Future Holds

The company is trying out the new Ford Explorer as a standard sedan. During their research, they’ve discovered customers like the ease of getting in and out of the vehicle and the amount of luggage space. So far, it’s succeeded.

“We are going to see how it does over a six month period and then implement it as our standard sedan,” Tiet says. “The chauffeurs like it a lot more than the BMW 7 Series we run. It’s easier to put luggage inside and the cargo capacity is a lot better. These blow the Chrysler 300 out of the water.”

Asked for advice, Tiet suggests: “Drink a lot of caffeine.” Brandon’s passion for his work reflects his business philosophy: “Dream big and then strive to get there. Anything is possible, you just have to put your heart and soul into it. There will be ups and downs just like any other business, but you just have to keep working. Be dedicated to what you are doing.”

At the end of the day, he says his biggest success is hearing “thank you” and seeing his clients happy. “When they call up and commend a particular chauffeur for providing outstanding customer service or they tell us we did a wonderful job…that goes a long way. The chauffeurs really appreciate kind words. We’ve had clients send packages from back home in the states to chauffeurs they’ve had.”

Related Topics: apps, BMW, BMW 7 series, Chrysler, Chrysler 300, customer service, family businesses, Ford, Hawaii operators, Limo Anywhere, mobile applications, operator profiles, small-fleet operators, WebXclusive

Lexi Tucker Assistant Editor
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