As previously discussed, cross training staff has numerous operational advantages. It breaks up monotony, offers schedule flexibility, and other little things.
The chain of command, bureaucracy, or hierarchy of many companies are the same. Dispatch is understaffed, overworked, and in a constant battle of supply, demand, and personality conflicts.
Reservation agents are in a constant state of siege with phone calls in queue, constant ring tones, and hold noises. It reminds me of a triage nurse looking to keep the franks and sacrifice the beans. And for the record, do not ever think you can control or fix this. It will always be feast or famine with inbound calls, texts, and emails. The two items in our world that cannot be tamed are floods and electronic traffic.
Now, let us discuss the third element in this food chain. The driver. Drivers have similar operational pressures and challenges but they also have one distinct advantage only shared by the office cat: they have a lot of time on their hands. A driver on an all-day charter may spend 30–45 minutes per hour in a stationary position waiting. A driver may have three hours of down time in between runs.
How can we transfer some of the office noise to that vehicle? Sort of flattening the curve, if you will. Better yet, what if you could increase sales volume and your driver population while pulling this off? Think about the ramifications: one new position or process can solve numerous problems while simultaneously increasing moral, leveling the workload, and generating increased profits.
If that was true, you would probably say, “Rich, do you have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or other credentials to pull that off? What is the deal?”
The deal is simple modern logic. You need to create a new position and once perfected you can replicate it overall and systemwide.
That new position is an MBA. A Mobile Brand Ambassador.
An MBA will be part social media specialist, part sales officer and part chauffeur. Hotels are not the only business that requires a concierge or an on site coordinator.
When you add credentials and title bling to a job it creates the appearance and flavor of a career. That also enhances your audience of prospective candidates.
So, how does this work? In a soft launch you take your first candidate and give them an education in what you want and work with this person to establish guidelines. Explain and experience all of your different types of vehicles so that the person will be aware of what they are selling and operating by virtue of what each vehicle is capable of. At that point the primary education is putting this candidate in general population so they learn the nuances of being a chauffeur.
While the team member establishes their own online presence and persona you will have your office forward them 1 email or phone call lead a day to start. When a prospective client learns they will have their own rep the game changes. They will work it, sell it, up sell, and close on it. It then gets entered into the system and they start the next lead(s). The ideal scenario is that most of the communications can be done by email and it is a great time filler while the MBA is mobile and engaged in daily payload performance.
The possibilities are endless, a mother may be indecisive on a Sprinter versus a Transit and since your MBA will be in her area the next day he can volunteer to drop by for an inspection. Clients will eat up this kind of attention.
Picture this, the GM is walking past the drivers lounge and sees chauffeur Charlie working on his laptop in his street clothes. He says, “Charlie this is your day off I thought?” Charlie says, “It is, I am at the laundromat next store and I thought I would drop in. The signal here is stronger and I am working on my Valentine’s Day promotion.”
Or even better, “Julie what is with the waters and the card table?” She explains she will have 2 hours in between trips so she parks outside One World Trade Center and offers air-conditioned sit time with a case of Sam’s Club bottled water in the party bus. She also takes pictures of people outside the vehicle on request providing the company logo is in the background. Better yet she typically hands out 25 business cards on these sessions. Her theory is that the Empire State building or 30 Rock is too touristy and she prefers marketing to the locals.
Or, “Why is Arthur taking the trolley for its safety inspection?” “Oh, he is working on a wedding and since we have no stretches that day he is stopping by the brides’ house on the way back to give a test drive.”
As time progresses and the position and creative influences are incorporated it becomes a tangible training model. Create a simple tote board so you can properly and fairly send and rotate your leads among the MBA crews. In time you may even have sub specialist MBA’s, those who specialize in sporting venues. Some with casino or entertainment venues, and, the obvious, wedding, proms, and parties.
A good outside the box MBA thinker will also establish relationships with sport venue insiders, ticket brokers, and maître d’s to show the clients they have the hook up.
A trained Mobile Brand Ambassador will morph into the best equipped person to push the product. They will have the luxury of time and the backing of technology and the house. Obviously, the home office will adjust to accommodate but will essentially be directing traffic and establishing booking restrictive blocks and capacity updates.
The icing on the cake is the pay. I love residual income; aka pay to play. Now although there are always some naysayers when residual income is discussed one must remember it is also a tool to keep their loyalty to the house. Picture a theoretical residual payment distribution model.
All monies are based on a completed paid order with a small built in hold time to clear funds. First order 6% of the net fare. After that 4% when that MBA books them. If the office or online system books them the MBA gets 2% of the net fare for a yet to be determined period of time. Even other MBA’s can cover his leads if he is on vacation. As the bookings grow and the money rolls in over time the MBA will have a residual flow of dough that may equal or exceed the driving pay. All sides win.
This is advancing Limonomics to its next level.
Improvise, Adapt & Overcome.
Imagine dropping the help wanted campaign and maintaining your waiting list.