Ground Transportation Services That Attract Wealthy Clients
We create illusions in ground transportation services. Our ground transportation services make ordinary people feel like celebrities, rock stars, kings and queens, or perhaps even better, stars of their own reality shows. And years of training have pretty much taught us how to treat this important segment of our industry.
But what if our client isn’t trying to look wealthy, but actually is wealthy; a CEO, CFO, actor, musician, a visiting dignitary? How does that change the game, or at the very least how we do business? What is the strategy for not only tapping into this small but lucrative market, but also retaining it? And if you venture into this arena, why is it one that an industry expert has dubbed “not for economic cowards”?
Wealthy clients often live in the world of “The Lincoln Lawyer,” the book made famous by author Michael Connelly, where the back seat of your ground transportation services is the office, the place to make the deal. Whereas seven years ago we had to put cell phones in the back of the cars (it was practically a non-negotiable item in most RFPs), today’s technology is literally in the palm of your hand, making the back seat an even more important satellite office for the affluent customer.
It’s no big secret how the economy has affected the Ground Transportation Services industry. But at a certain financial level it appears as a small blip on the radar screen of the more affluent customers. Whereas perhaps the Senior VP has now been steered towards something less showy, in many large companies the CEO and CFO still utilizes a limo. They have worked hard to get where they are and they deserve to be treated as such.
They also expect value for their money. To them, discounting value means discounting service. They stay at the Four Seasons because they know they won’t see a Four Seasons coupon show up in the mail in a Val-Pak. They may be willing to pay top price for service but don’t think there isn’t a ceiling. Someone driving a Mercedes might be willing to pay $4.50 a gallon for gas while the rest of the country pays $3.25. But even the wealthy will drive on by if the pump says $7.50. They didn’t get where they are today by being financially irresponsible.
Aligning your ground transportation services business with a wealthy clientele has residual advantages. Impress the CEO with your services in his business world, and very likely you will be on his speed dial when his daughter has a birthday, prom, wedding or he needs to attend fundraisers, night on the town, etc.
All of which leads us directly to the chauffeur, your direct link to the wealthy client, an importance that can’t be overstated. Try if you can to have the same chauffeur work the same jobs. This creates a familiarity with the client and establishes a comfort zone. However, this doesn’t mean the driver has to be buddy-buddy. The client needs a knowledgeable, courteous, capable driver, not a new BFF.
It’s also important to keep your fleet up to date. Late-model cars won’t make the grade, and although the jury still seems to be out on the Lincoln MKT, keep your ear to the track to see what else might be coming down the line, then be ready to act on it quickly.
Finally, I recently came across a blog from one disgruntled out-of-work chauffer who cited wealthier passengers as his most difficult customers, stating “On more than one occasion I was treated so badly that I contemplated dropping my passenger off in the middle of the highway and watching him in my rear-view mirror as I drove away.”
If this guy’s resume shows up on your desk first thing in the morning, don’t even stop for that first cup of coffee before you make a beeline for the paper shredder.
Let’s face it, wealthy clients expect to be treated in a certain way. And the bottom-line is, if you don’t meet, and even exceed their expectations, some other company will.