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6 Ways to Interview Chauffeured Transportation Vendors

Posted by Steve Johnston on Mon, Feb 25, 2013

Book With the Best

ground transportationYour chauffeured transportation vendor should be the most reliable component of your company’s travel arsenal. Air travel is notoriously unpredictable, which can’t always be helped due to employee strikes and weather events. Chauffeured transportation is the piece that can tie a disrupted itinerary together, and when you book with the best you can enjoy the peace of mind that your provider will do whatever it takes to get you where you need to be, and right on time.

Before you enter the negotiating stage, it’s essential to thoroughly interview vendors. Many experts estimate there are over 5,000 ground transportation companies in the United States. While the vast majority are eager to accept new corporate contracts, many simply don’t have the experience or resources to stand up to the job. Here are some of the sharpest ways to identify whether a company is worthy of your time and money:

1. Ask for References

A company may claim that they have years of experience transporting executives for major corporations, and express that they’ve dealt first hand with group transportation, roadshows and conferences. If you’re feeling dubious about the extent of their experience, simply ask for references. A company that’s honest about the scope of their experience shouldn’t hesitate to share information, with client permission, about their experience.

2. Visit in Person

Many executive transportation providers consist of nothing more than a single individual, an answering machine and a network of great and not-so-great vehicle operators. There are obvious benefits to a brick-and-mortar office setup, which is why so few major corporations have made the move to letting employees work remotely. It’s a major red flag if your provider doesn’t have a physical address listed on their website, and you should be even more concerned if they’re hesitant to let you tour their facilities.

3. How Are Your Employees Trained?

There’s a lot more than operating steering wheels and brakes that will make or break a Chauffeur. Employees at the top companies nationwide are carefully screened before hiring, and will attend trainings in customer service, confidentiality, sustainable practices, and defensive driving during their tenure as employees. Once they’re hired full-time, they should undergo regular random drug screenings. A strong company recognizes that their employees are the public face of their organization, and never fails to invest.

4. What are the Hours of Your Customer Service?

This one is a bit of a trick question. There shouldn’t be any specific hours of operation. If your employees will be traveling outside the hours of 9-to-5, they may need to reach someone in case of emergency. Their call should never go to a third-party answering service, or even worse, someone’s voicemail. Make sure that the company’s staff members are ready to take calls and resolve issues if they arise, 24/7.

5. How is Your Technology?

Any professional above the age of 25 can tell you that technology has revolutionized business as we know it. The profession of file clerk has gone by the wayside for many organizations who now invest in electronic-only record systems. Your chauffeured transportation provider also shouldn’t be stuck in the past. Ensure they provide stellar service by flight-tracking, and that they offer customized booking portals to corporate contract-holders.

6. Will You Be on Time?

This is another trick question in some ways, If there’s any hesitation on the part of the company’s sales team, it’s a major red flag. They should be on time, every time, without exception. If they aren’t, they should recognize that it’s not the client’s fault.

Hiring a chauffeured transportation provider is a bigger decision than many people realize. If your executives miss a flight, lose a client, arrive in an older vehicle, or experience a negative customer service interaction, it can affect their entire business trip. If you contract with the best, you should never have to experience a travel disaster again.

Photo Credit: renjith krishnan/freedigitalphotos.net

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Tags: Ground Transportation, Chauffeured Car Service, Travel Management, Corporate Travel