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Customer Service

Customer Service At Its Best
By Bill Lampton, Ph.D.
Apr 25, 2006 - 4:01:00 PM

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Because we experience so much customer service that annoys us, and even insults us, finding someone who truly cares about customers lifts our spirits. Recently, I visited a company president who says this to his customers: "Your complete and total satisfaction is our goal. We strive to exceed your expectations in every way possible."

I'm referring to Jeff Greene, President/CEO of Greene Classic Limousines in Atlanta, Georgia. Jeff started his professional life as an Atlanta policeman. Holding a second job as a security officer in a nightclub, he felt attracted to the beautiful limousines that transported the club's guests. Jeff put that interest into action, forming his company in 1988.

Just fifteen years later, Limousine and Chauffeured Transportation Magazine named Jeff's company "Best Limousine Service in America--2003." Not only that--Jeff Greene serves as President of the National Limousine Association. Also, he serves as vice president of the association�s state organization. This year he will speak to NLA chapters in twenty-four cities.

What customer care principles has Jeff put in place, to make such national acclaim possible? Consider these:

Greene Classic Limousines (GCL) does not hire people. Rather, the company selects employees, very carefully. In fact, those who want to become chauffeurs must meet the highest standards of appearance, driving skills, personality, occupational stability and good citizenship.

GCL requires chauffeurs to attend a full week of training, at their own expense. The training teaches them courtesy, prepares them for emergencies, improves their familiarity with the city's major landmarks and transportation routes, and administers driving tests. Jeff makes appearances in every training class.

GCL evaluates new chauffeurs at the end of their first thirty days, with individual assessment to see who might need retraining.

GCL demands a drug-free workplace. Monthly random drug testing keeps all employees free from habits that could offend and endanger passengers.

GCL assures safety and cleanliness, with every vehicle tested and cleaned prior to leaving the premises. GCL has its own Ford-certified mechanics.

GCL trains dispatchers who handle an average of 150 �runs" daily, around the clock seven days a week. As I observed the sophisticated dispatch system, I understood why GCL's vehicles arrive on time�even keeping track of flight schedules at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Jeff mentioned that teens who hire GCL for proms might be in for a surprise. His company empties the vehicle of alcohol, serving soft drinks only. GCL honors the laws and, as in every other instance, covets the safety of its passengers.

Considering the thorough approach to Customer Care that Jeff Greene takes, his definition of exemplary service makes sense: "The customer is so overwhelmed he can't find the words to say thank you."

Then Jeff explained, "The customer is not always right, but you have to make them think they are! It is important to listen carefully to what the customer says--because the customer thinks he is right. If you listen and try to understand a customer's concerns and needs, usually you can resolve issues without disputing right versus wrong. In most cases when a customer realizes he is wrong, especially if you make him think it was his idea, the resolution becomes quite amicable.�

To learn more about Jeff Greene's Customer Care model, visit his company's Web site:

You are familiar with some huge companies whose names have become synonymous with superlative customer care. One is the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which has made �puttin� on the Ritz� a common way of referring to top-level treatment. Another is The Walt Disney Company, renowned for cleanliness and efficiency. And Celebrity Cruises has generated lavish praise from its passengers. Yet Greene Classic Limousines demonstrates that a company with fewer than a hundred employees can make customers feel very special. So your organization, whatever the size, can establish a stellar reputation for the good feelings your customers get.

In closing, I will mention that Jeff will host me when I speak at the Limousine and Chauffeured Transportation Summit in Miami. Knowing Jeff, I am sure I will enjoy the "complete and total satisfaction" that has become his trademark.

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., helps organizations improve their communication, motivation, sales and customer service. His speeches, seminars, consulting and coaching share the advice included in his book, The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life! Visit his Web site and sign up for his complimentary monthly newsletter: www.ChampionshipCommunication.comCall Dr. Lampton at 770-534-3425 or 800-393 0114.


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