CLA BLOG

  • 24 Aug 2016 10:00 AM | Anonymous


    All Seasons Sedans is a small, family owned company. Owned and managed by Fabricio and Shauna da Silva, the business has flourished since 2013 from one car to a four-car fleet, which now includes a 2016 Black Suburban for large parties and all types of weather. Their offices are centrally located in Lakewood, Colorado, which seems to be a great hub for their mountain clients, as well as their Denver-Metro and airport clients.

    The da Silva's have a young daughter, two grown boys, and three dogs to keep them busy when they are not working. They've just recently taken up bicycling to spend quality time together and get good exercise when time allows and once a year, they like to travel back to Fabricio's home in Brasil to see his family and friends. They also do their best to make it to all the national limo conventions, where they love to network and take classes to become better educated in the limo industry.

    To learn more about All Seasons Sedans, please visit their website: www.allseasonssedans.com

  • 22 Aug 2016 11:18 AM | Anonymous

    ·     

    With all the challenges of our current market with the growing usage of TNCs and balancing consumer desires for convenience and affordability with profit margins, it can be hard to consistently deliver excellent customer service.  Here’s a brief refresher on the pillars of excellent customer service—and fundamental customer service potholes to avoid.

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    Seems easy enough, right?  As with any relationship, be it a personal or a business one, each one starts with respect. “One of the key principles for building relationships is to make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely,” according to business legend Dale Carnegie.  The very core of customer service is making customers feel valuable and important. The easiest way to show respect for your customer is to provide your full attention and polite, friendly attitude.

    Be Honest as Abe

    Ever hear the adage, under promise and over deliver? Don’t promise something you cannot deliver. Nothing destroys trust faster than broken promises. Don’t underprice and then add on additional fees and extra charges. Establish clear return and refund policies. Deliver on time, or even earlier. Respond and follow-up when you say you will. Be consistent in delivering the services you say you provide in your correspondence and in your marketing.

    Be Responsible

    Professionalism in customer service implies that you are ready to take responsibility for the problems or negative experiences that customers are having with your company, products or services. This means that you are ready to sincerely apologize to a customer on behalf of your business, even when a problem or a situation that was not your fault at all. Apologize and do your best to make sure the issue gets fixed as quickly and smoothly as possible. “I’m sorry” goes a long way in transforming a bad customer experience into a good, and even long lasting one.

    Empathy Goes a Long Way

    Sometimes, putting yourself in your customer’s shoes before responding can give you a better idea of how to solve the problem. I am sure we can all relate to having a frustrating experience in our own lives with unsatisfactory customer service.  Recall that instance and think about how you would have felt if the person handling your complaint treated you differently. Remember how it feels to get frustrated or neglected when you look for support and assistance? Would you want your customers feel this way, too?  Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes can give you a valuable insight on customer expectations, service and sometimes, how to improve that service.

    Practice Gratitude

    Saying “Thank You” to the people who support your business won’t take you much effort but it will definitely show how grateful you are that they choose your service. Expressing gratitude can distinguish you from the sea of sameness and provide valuable duty of care reminders to your customers.

    Customer Service Potholes to Dodge

    Don’t Over-Complicate Things

    Today’s consumers are sophisticated, experienced and technically savvy, but they still expect that the process of contacting you is easy and straightforward. It’s essential to make sure your customers have easy access to support when it is needed. Be sure to have several verticals that your customers can use to resolve their concerns, whether it be phone, e-mail, Live Chat, FAQs, self-service, social media channels and more.

    Lose the ‘Tude

    Don’t become numb to your customer’s concerns --indifference kills customer service. It means you just don’t care anymore. Don’t let your exposure to dozens or hundreds of problems you encounter on a daily basis make you indifferent to individual customer concerns. Your job is to take care and make any customer’s problem your own problem.

    Customers Are More Than Transactions

     “Care about a customer’s heart, not just her pocketbook,” as Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson once put it. Don’t treat people as one-time transaction--always do all your best to build strong and long-lasting relationship. Demonstrate a true interest in doing business with them and stay in touch to nurture the relationship.

    Don’t Ignore Valuable Customer Feedback

    Putting customers’ thoughts into the focus of your business strategy is a good practice. Make sure you listen to your customers. Be open to any kind of suggestions or feedback they might have--they are the people who want your company to perform better, so let them share their opinion about their experience with you.  Be sure to practice gratitude with them and let them know that you really care about what they think and expect of you.

    Don’t Discourage Complaints

    You will never be able to satisfy every customer, every single time no matter what. Whether it’s a complaint based on something that could have been avoided or not, they are inevitable, and should not be discouraged.  Every complaint is an opportunity to find and fix a problem. Each complaint can direct your attention to the areas that need improvement.


  • 20 Jun 2016 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    Eight Black Transport is a small, independent ground transportation company owned by Simon Chen and Matthew Deutsch.

    The company has 3 vehicles (2 x BMW’s and 1 Lincoln Navigator) and bases 2 of the cars out of the Boulder/Longmont area and the 3rd car out of Denver.

    Matthew is a Colorado native, growing up in Parker. He has always had a love for the mountains, and although he spent about a year in New Orleans, LA, Colorado called him back home. An avid snowboarder, having lived in Vail and Breckenridge, he now resides in Denver with his wife Kristin.

    Matthew has 5 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the limousine and taxi industry, having completed over 5,000 trips and driving nearly 300,000 miles to and from Denver International Airport, ski resorts, concerts and other events.

    With a commitment to helping people and providing an excellent customer service experience, Matthew thrives in this industry which provides a plethora of human interaction mixed with his enjoyment of driving.




    Simon is Australian and has lived in Colorado for 4 years. Prior to moving to the US, Simon and his family were based in Singapore. He has spent the past 15-years consulting to technology companies across Asia Pacific and the US and as held several senior management positions for large multinationals.

    Like Matthew, Simon also has a passion for driving and all things car related. Simon taught part time for 15 years for Australia’s largest and most respected Advanced Driver Training company.

    With late model vehicles, which are meticulously clean and maintained, you can tell both Matthew and Simon take great pride in their work. The company regards itself as a dependable and high quality affiliate, already handling 100+ trips per month for a Denver based operator.

    www.eightblackcars.com


  • 20 Jun 2016 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    by Jim Luff with Chosen Payments

    It is always frustrating when a new company opens up in town and starts low-balling everyone else to try to gain business. It really tends to diminish the value of products and services offered by area competitors.  It would be nice if all the competitors in an operating area could get together and fix the bottom line price point of a particular service or product.  However, the federal government refers to these practices as “collusion” or “price-fixing” and other nasty terms that violate anti-trust laws.


    There are ways to combat this, but, the point is, we shouldn’t have to. When people call and ask if you will match someone’s price, the reply should be, “It depends on what company we are matching.”  For instance, there are many hotel/motel companies operating in the world but a comparison shows they are not at all equal in their product delivery.

    You might reply, “You and I will both agree that you can’t call the Ritz-Carlton and ask them to match the price of Motel 6 right?  We probably would also both agree that we know what the expectations are for a Motel 6”. They will leave the light on for you, provide a functional bed, a television, some plastic cups in the restroom with some cheap soap and some of the thinnest towels known to mankind.”  By contrast, your experience at a Ritz-Carlton would be different from the moment of arrival.  Ritz-Carlton employees go through mandatory training on delivering impeccable customer service and Motel 6 employees probably go through very little formal training.

    This analogy provides an opportunity to share information about why your company commands a higher price.  It could be service, the type of equipment used or even efforts to go green.  You can share how important customer satisfaction is as well as employee safety.  You can explain that you are never going to have the lowest prices in town because you can’t be the best by charging the least. You might also say that some people prefer Motel 6 for the budget savings while some demand nothing but the best and that is why they stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Don’t be bashful about saying that you consider yourself to be the Hilton of your local industry. 

    The great thing about low-ballers is they usually end up killing their own business. You cannot charge below market value and save enough to replace equipment or supplies, maintain facilities and pay for quality help by low-balling pricing.  Hold your prices, bide your time and watch them die off when they run out of money to keep going while you smile on your way to the bank.


  • 20 Jun 2016 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    Commercial Motor Vehicle Driving Tips provided by the FMCSA

    https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-driver-distraction

    Driver Distraction Tips

    Driver distraction is the diversion of attention from activities critical for safe driving to a competing activity. Driver distraction increases your risk of getting into a crash.

    Distractions can come from both inside and outside of your truck cab. Distractions inside of your cab can include dialing cell phones, texting, using dispatching devices, eating, reading, or adjusting the radio. Distractions outside of your cab can include looking at a passing building, billboard, or person. One way to think about distraction is to ask yourself if something is drawing your attention and taking your eyes away from the road ahead of you. If the answer is “yes,” it is probably a distraction.

    A 2009 study found that 71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck.82 Staying focused on driving can help keep you, and other road users, safe on the road!

    Below are some tips that will help you stay focused on the road ahead and can help make you a safer driver.

    TIP #1: Do Not Let Objects Outside of Your Vehicle Distract You

    When driving, stay focused on the job of driving your vehicle. You should avoid focusing on things outside of your vehicle that aren’t related to driving. This includes things like billboards, buildings, and people. Remember, anything taking your eyes away from driving is a distraction and can be dangerous. Paying attention only to things that are related to driving will help keep you aware of the road and cars around you, and will help make sure you are ready to react to anything unexpected.

    Did You Know? A 2006 study found that driver inattention was the leading factor in crashes and near-crashes. The study found that nearly 80 percent of crashes involved some form of driver inattention in the 3 seconds before the crash or near-crash.

    Did You Know? Billboards and other advertisements near the road are meant to get your attention. However, anything that takes your eyes off the road ahead can be a distraction. Aim to minimize the amount of time you spend looking at these objects.

    TIP #2: Do Not Text While Driving

    Texting while driving is illegal for CMV drivers. Texting is an easy way to keep in touch with people. Yet, texting can also be one of the most dangerous distractions in your vehicle. Texting takes your eyes, hands, and mind off the job of driving. In order to read or send a text message, you must look at the phone. This takes your eyes off the road. You must use the buttons on the phone to open or write a message, which takes at least one hand off the steering wheel. You must read or think about what you are going to write, which takes your mind off the road.

    Did You Know? A 2009 study of real-world driving found that text messaging while driving increased a driver’s chances of being involved in a safety-critical event by 23 times. This study found that, in the moments before a safety-critical event, drivers who were texting while driving spent nearly 5 seconds looking at their phone.82

    Did You Know? If you are driving at 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds to write a text message, you have traveled the length of a football field (end zones included) without looking at the road.

    TIP #3: Do Not Use a Dispatching Device While Driving

    Dispatching devices let you and your dispatchers communicate, can help you navigate, and can help keep your logs. These devices are sometimes called mobile or portable data terminals and can help make your job easier. Although a message on the dispatching device might seem urgent, using a dispatching device while driving can be dangerous. This is because the dispatching device can take your eyes, hands, and mind away from driving safely. Since using a dispatching device while driving raises your risk of a crash, many companies have policies in place or lock out features when the vehicle is moving.

    Did You Know? A 2009 study of real-world driving found that using a dispatching device while driving increased a driver’s chances of being involved in a safety-critical event by 9 times.82

    Did You Know? Companies are working on building better dispatching devices. Some dispatching devices are easier to use, allowing you to respond to messages without looking at the screen, and read messages aloud. This can help you keep your eyes on the road.

    TIP #4: Do Not Dial a Handheld Phone While Driving

    Handheld cell phones involve multiple types of distractions and using them while driving is illegal for CMV drivers. Handheld phones can take your eyes and hands away from driving. Dialing a handheld cell phone requires you to take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. If you have to make a call while driving, find a safe place to stop and keep your call short. Or, consider a voice-activated hands-free phone or phone app. Phones that do not require you to hold them while dialing a number or talking can help keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Most smartphones either have this hands-free ability or have apps available to provide it.

    Did You Know? A 2010 study of real-world driving found that dialing a handheld cell phone while driving increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 3 times.

    A 2011 study found that drivers who were dialing a handheld cell phone made more frequent and larger steering corrections than drivers who were only talking on the phone.

    TIP #5: Do Not Read, Write, or Use Paper Maps While Driving

    Printed directions, notes to yourself, and maps are a normal part of your job. However, reading or writing while you are driving is a much bigger risk than you might think. Reading a map while driving increases your risk of being in a crash. This is because both reading and writing take your eyes off the road ahead of you. If you need to read something or write yourself a note, the safest thing to do is pull over. Never read, even a map, or write while you are driving!

    Did You Know? A 2009 study of real-world driving found that writing while driving increased a driver’s chance of being involved in a safety-critical event by 8 times. The study also found that reading a map while driving increased the chances of being in a safety-critical event by 7 times.

    Did You Know? GPS units are much safer to use while driving as compared to maps, as long as you are not trying to enter information into the unit while driving. However, studies have shown that using these kinds of systems can still take your eyes off the road. Therefore, never try to enter information into a GPS unit while driving!

    Did You Know? Many newer GPS units allow you to enter an address with your voice only. These voice-activated units help you keep your eyes on the road while still allowing you to get route information.

    TIP #6: Avoid Eating and Drinking When Driving

    Sometimes you may feel like driving is the only time you have to eat or drink. But you may not realize that eating while driving can be dangerous. Eating while driving can take your eyes off the road. It always takes at least one of your hands off the wheel. Always try to eat or drink before getting behind the wheel or leave time to pull over and eat.

    Did You Know? A survey of all types of drivers found that 49 percent of drivers believed eating or drinking while driving could be a distraction.

    Did You Know? A recent study found that eating while driving was riskier than talking on a cell phone.

    Did You Know? On May 23, 2008, a 51-year-old CMV driver crashed into the back of a stopped school bus, which was letting children out, on Highway 50 in western Kenosha County, Wisconsin. The CMV driver was distracted by drinking a soda and did not see the school bus, which was stopped with its lights flashing and its stop-arm extended. After the crash, 14 children had to be taken to area hospitals, 4 of them with serious injuries. The CMV driver was transported to a hospital in critical condition. This crash may have been prevented if the CMV driver was not distracted by drinking the soda and was paying full attention to the road ahead.


  • 17 Jun 2016 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    DENVER -- Using the Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s data, a FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers investigation discovered at least 65 percent of registered charter bus and limousine companies are not legally authorized to operate.

    And unscientific, in-the-field research indicates the percentage of outlaw party buses could be even higher.

    There is an abundance of state and federal laws, rules and regulations when it comes to operating party buses and limos in Colorado. Most of them are for passenger safety and to prevent consumers from getting ripped off.

    The most basic regulation imposed on companies that transport passengers for money (and the easiest one for anyone to spot) is the existence of a prominent Public Utilities Commission license number either painted or placed on a sticker on the registered vehicle.

    It’s that number that helps any customer, state inspector or law enforcement officer to readily identify the operator. On the flip side, blank markings might be a signal something could be wrong with the company’s permits to operate above board.

    Using that as a starting point, the Problem Solvers conducted a fairly simple undercover operation, sending crews to Red Rocks on April 19 to one of this season’s first music festivals.

    It didn’t take long to locate questionable charters such as My Denver Party Bus. The company sent two sleek, unmarked black party buses, neither of which had PUC stickers.

    Investigative reporter Chris Halsne approached one of the drivers to ask about proper licensing and if the buses had undergone safety inspections.

    “Yeah. I’d rather not. Rather not talk to you,” one of the drivers said. "I don’t want to talk to you. Another time? You can understand.”

    A second My Denver Party Bus operator, who was driving a rig without front license plates, no PUC stickers and without the name of the company displayed anywhere visible on the bus, said he was “new” and deferred comment when asked if he could provide state certification.

    State records show the My Denver Party Bus license to operate was canceled in 2014. Its website is still open to taking in customers.

    **UPDATE: After seeing this investigation on FOX31 Denver news, the owner of My Denver Party Bus, Andrew Berard, called and emailed the news department. He offered proof that his company now has a valid state license to operate. He said he acquired the license the day we confronted his drivers with questions at Red Rocks April 19. On Thursday evening, Berard also sent the station copies of insurance on both buses. “This year we have done everything in our power to be compliant,” Berard wrote.

    'Unfair business practice'

    “That’s just unfair business practice. None of my buses are up here today,” said Kevin Harrold, operations manager for Sunset Luxury Limousines. “We’re not booked tonight for anything just because we can’t operate like this.”

    Sunset Limo is a licensed and inspected party, charter, and tour bus service that carries a $5 million insurance policy.

    Harrold said state regulators audit his company regularly because it registers all its vehicles and owns a building that is easy to find. He wished out loud that the PUC would also send inspectors to do the harder work of catching outlaw bus operators at big events.

    “No one inspects them. No one from the government comes out here to do it. I mean, I guarantee if (the Department of Transportation) or PUC showed up right now, these guys would be very shaky. Very nervous,” Harrold said.

    While at Red Rocks, the Problem Solvers also found a state safety inspection sticker from 2006 on an orange school bus spray-painted with the name bustoshow.org. About 200 passengers arrived on a series of Bus To Show vehicles.

    The only number on any of the buses was a federal DOT number. It linked to a company called Velocity in Commerce City.

    State records show Velocity has a scenic and school bus charter license in Colorado, but Bus to Show does not.

    Ginger Geiser of Velocity said the company leases buses and drivers to Bus to Show. She did not explain why none of the Bus to Show buses had a visible state PUC number.

    During the April 19 concert at Red Rocks, Halsne approached a Bus to Show driver to see why the buses, which brought passengers to the venue, did not appear to have the proper licensing and identifying information marked on the sides.

    Dustin Huth claims he’s one of the founders of Bus to Show. Huth likened his busing services to the ride-share program Uber.

    One of the problems with that claim, according to experts, is that state rules do not allow charter buses to charge customers per person, something a customer said was his method of payment.

    Huth defended the Bus to Show licensing and insurance set-up, saying because of its connection to Velocity, he had been assured all the paperwork was in order.

    “We’re a nonprofit organizing these trips to help reduce impaired driving and carbon emissions associated with events and so we’re out here doing a really good thing,” Huth said. "Yeah, there is a lot of red tape and a lot of laws and we’ve done our research to make sure we’re set up appropriately.”

    State investigators are not as certain. After sharing the findings with the PUC, the agency said inspectors opened an investigation into Bus to Show and other party bus operations that were taped without proper markings.

    Other party bus drivers said if the PUC could just show up to the main events, they could catch the outlaws themselves.

    "I’ve never seen them before," a seasoned driver with Vibe Limo said. "It’s like (Bus to Show) covered them in paint and showed up. It’s kind of always a surprise.”

    Harrold said rogue bus operations like My Denver Party Bus might get away with cutting corners on insurance and safety inspections because state inspectors aren’t in the field at big events to catch them.

    “It hurts us through unfair business practices. We have to have insurance. We have to have drug testing, fingerprinting, hours of service, vehicle inspection records. All of that costs money and time and training,” Harrold said.  “They can’t get fined because there’s no enforcement on them. Who’s going to enforce it? PUC is not out here tonight inspecting vehicles. They work an 8-5 shift."

    The PUC declined to go on camera to respond to complaints that its inspectors are too “8-to-5" and not willing to regularly conduct surprise inspections in the field to catch questionable operations.

    It left open the possibility of talking after it was done with its investigations.

    After the promotion for the investigation hit the airwaves Tuesday, the Denver Police Department sent officers to the Red Rocks bus parking lot during a concert event.

    Police said it issued some verbal warnings to several party bus companies regarding insurance.


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