Arkansas Operator Shares Chauffeur Retention Method

Lexi Tucker
Posted on August 1, 2018
Kathy Baker, general manager of Argenta Limo, is proud of the family atmosphere of the company.

Kathy Baker, general manager of Argenta Limo, is proud of the family atmosphere of the company.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It’s no secret the single largest issue facing luxury ground transportation operators today is finding hardworking people with a servant heart mentality.

Simply blaming it on the times or culture won’t solve the problem, so what will? Kathy Baker, general manager of Argenta Limo, says a mix of education and caring is what will make chauffeurs want to stay with your company.

Steps To Success

All of Argenta’s chauffeurs go through PAX training, which Baker says has been amazing. Before they can get to that stage, however, they need to make it through a hiring process that prioritizes what she’s looking for before the interview even begins. PAX comes with a pre-hire survey which Baker has all potential employees take.

“We need to know they have a decent knowledge of how to care for a client, as well as if they are easily star struck considering the type of people they’ll be driving if they get brought on. You can tell by their responses if they are the right kind of person,” she says. When weeding through applicants, she prioritizes people with customer service backgrounds. This helps minimize training time down the road.

“It’s important to make sure they understand when and when not to talk, for instance. Corporate clients don’t want that; they want to work. That’s why we have mobile Wi-Fi hotspots that can be moved from car to car.”

One of her biggest successes has been a chauffeur named Larry Clemens, who has risen through the ranks from chauffeur to newly appointed director of operations. “We want to cultivate our people into employees who really care about the company. They need an owner’s mentality, not a renter’s.” This has been evidenced by the fact Clemens was doing the duties of a director of operations before being given the official title. With his hard work came a raise and promotion, and it made a visible difference in his attitude.

As a female operator, she believes her innate nurturing mindset has helped her employees realize she takes a genuine interest in their lives and well being. “When they can tell you care about them, they’ll always go the extra mile. You have to remember when you hire someone, you’re hiring a part of your family.”

On top of that, getting chauffeurs to understand the importance of a clean vehicle is one of the little talked about strong points of a luxury transportation company.

“We’ve won new clients and affiliates because of the way our vehicles look inside and out. Being clean means a lot to people, as evidenced by the numerous chauffeurs we’ve had who were doing Uber and then tried driving black cars and now it’s all they’ll do.”

Company Background

Argenta was started as a family business by a father and son, Mel and David Bratton. They were eventually bought out by former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel as he was vacating office at the end of 2012. “He invested a lot in the company to help us grow and built us a brand new facility for our office and vehicles. He truly cares about us as his family and not just as the owner of the company,” Baker says. As a politician, he had many connections and was able to help the business drum up new clients, especially in the corporate realm.  

Baker herself has always been in the car business in some form since she was 18. From finance to a repossession company to a dealership, cars have always been something she’s loved to work with. When she moved to Arkansas 18 years ago and took some time off to try other things, she discovered she didn’t have the heart for anything but helping people get where they needed to go.

In the future, she hopes help the company grow on the corporate side. “We started at an 80/20 ratio of retail to corporate, and we are now at 50/50. Eventually we’d like to be 80/20 corporate to retail.” She also wants to become more involved with the NLA, and appreciates the work they do for the industry.

Related Topics: Arkansas operators, chauffeur training, customer service, employee management, employee retention, managing chauffeurs, PAX, retaining chauffeurs, staff management, women in the industry

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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