By Jonathan Dow, MD, Club Class Chauffeurs

Jonathan Dow, MD of Club Class Chauffeurs, Sussex, explains why businesses, big and small, should consider using a national corporate chauffeur service and how savings in time and cost can be achieved with such as service. When it comes to arranging an airport pick up or train station drop off for your colleagues, boss or clients how do you choose the best supplier?

At some point every business will need a car and driver to take personnel for A to B or beyond. Choosing the best option to do this means striking a balance, between time and budgetary constraints. Get it wrong, and you will end up with some bad experiences and unimpressed executives. Whoever the transport arranger is in a company - a dedicated travel department or often the PA or receptionist - the task of selecting the right service provider to collect, drop off or transport an important corporate executive can be a stressful one.

What is your requirement?

• Do you have executives, visiting clients or potential customers coming and going by air and rail that need to be transported to/from your offices or other venues anywhere in the country?

• Does a member of your own staff hop in the car to pick up a visiting executive from the airport/train station? Is this not a waste of employee time? Hardly best use of the skills you hired them for.

• Do you currently send a public taxi? What kind of service are you sure of here? Will the taxi driver give a good impression of your company? You can’t be sure, can you?

When it comes to in-county travel for the corporate market a dedicated chauffeur service is worth considering. It is not much more expensive than using a taxi service and in fact very often it is actually cheaper then using a taxi service, particularly for longer journeys and offers a range of tangible and intangible benefits. In addition, it can also save a lot of money in other areas, such as lost time, administration procedures, a long and short distance service and bad experiences.

If the impression provided by this service is not good, such as the driver is late, unsure where they are going, the car is substandard or dirty — then this can leave a lasting poor impression of your company. Your company’s carefully developed and protected corporate image and associated brand values of quality, efficiency and customer service fall asunder when the first meeting your important business visitor has with you, or on your behalf, is remembered for all the wrong reasons.

8 reasons to consider a corporate chauffeur service:

1. Professionalism, punctuality and reliability.

These are essential for busy corporate executives. Time is the one constraint in every business, so reducing wasted time is money saved.

2. Total confidentiality.

With corporate chauffeur services providers, clients and corporate account holders can rely on professionalism to ensure their commercial secrets remain secure — and never disclose to any third party the identities of passengers.

3. Efficient booking and administration

Some service providers are set-up to make your booking and administration procedures simple and hassle free. All you should have to do is phone or send an email or book on line to receive an instant booking confirmation back. All details regarding a passenger’s preferences are noted, clean well-presented drivers and cars are dispatched on your behalf. The service is available 24 hours a day.

4. Reducing administration costs.

You should be able to have your invoices configured, coded or presented in exactly the way you want them. This means that the billing fits in perfectly with the way your internal accounts systems work. Time wasted on sorting out how to allocate sections of an invoice are eliminated.

5. Price

We have put price quite far down the list as, believe it or not, it should not be the overriding criteria. If a company’s pricing seems amazingly cheap compared to all the other quotes then there is probably a reason for this! Chances are they are not offering you what you think you are getting.

• Are they able to service both short and long distance journeys?

• Are you sure the vehicles are maintained and cleaned to high standard?

• Are you requested to make a pre-payment If you have an ongoing agreement with a corporate chauffeur company, then this should never be an issue.

• When you book will you receive a confirmation e-mail of your details from the company, if requested?

6. Customer Service

The operations personnel of your transport service set the service level you receive. If they are grumpy, unhelpful or not responding promptly then you definitely need a new company. Never settle for slow response rates because of cheap rates, you'll end up regretting it — guaranteed.

7. Sporadic or Regular Requirement

Whether you have an ongoing requirement or a fairly sporadic one, your corporate chauffeur service should always be happy to service your need, promptly and efficiently for both long and short journeys.

8. Corporate Responsibility

In the current era of responsibility you need to make sure your employees or business associates are looked after and in safe hands. All drivers you hire on their behalf should be qualified to NVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Transport.