2015 Ford Transit:

An American Brand Gone Global Comes Home

Watch Your Step(s)

10 Steps to Control Workers’ Compensation Costs

Mind Your Manners

Social Media Etiquette: 4 Things You Need To Know

Grassroots:

The Basics of Lobbying for Better Regulations

Myth Busted:

GPS Tracking Software is Not Too Expensive



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fully Engage Your Staff in 5 Easy Conversations




Did you know that only a fraction of your staff bring their ‘A Game’ to work every day?

According to companies like Aon Hewitt and the Gallup Organization, this number is about one in five. The rest? At best they are bringing their B or C games to work—at worst, their main goal is to keep from getting fired. This is the employee engagement crisis we now find ourselves in. Countless companies dedicate a sizeable chunk of their annual budgets to solving their employee engagement issues, when in reality most engagement issues (as well as performance and behavioral problems) can be solved through conversation. Five conversations to be precise.
 
But most managers don’t talk to their staff frequently enough, don’t know how to talk to them or what to talk about! Managers are unaware as to how to plug into their employees’ minds and figure out what they really want, and what they need to be fully engaged—and productive. There are no psychic forces at work: getting into the minds of your employees to glean the information needed to increase not only engagement, but productivity in your workforce can be as simple as conducting the following five FOCUSed conversations.

Managers are unaware as to how to plug into their employees’ minds and figure out what they really want, and what they need to be fully engaged—and productive.

Conversation 1: Feedback

 There are two types of feedback that fall under this conversation. First, give praise where praise is due. Studies have shown that a vast majority of employees do not feel appreciated enough for the job they do. Praise, it seems, is a scarce commodity in the workplace. So if your staff is doing a good job, be sure to let them know. Conversely, one of the key factors in employee engagement is the ability to have your say. Be receptive to your staffs’ feedback. Who knows, they may just come up with a brilliant idea that makes a huge difference for the team or company.

Conversation 2: Objectives

 Most performance issues stem from a disconnect between what the manager perceives as meeting objectives and what the staff member perceives as meeting them. To drastically reduce performance issues, managers must both clearly define and articulate expectations. Yet few do. Your employees need to know what they must do to be successful in their jobs, and how that success will be measured. And you need to have a clearly defined yardstick by which to objectively measure performance. Aligning their expectations with yours will result in less frustration and anxiety—on both your parts.

Conversation 3: Career Development

 Many studies list career development within the top 3 factors that employees gauge to determine whether to stay with their current employer or look for another job. Yet, many managers avoid this topic like the plague for 1 of 3 reasons:

  • They don’t understand how to manage their own careers
  • They are afraid that if they help their staff manage their career better they will surpass them on the corporate ladder
  • They are afraid to talk about career development because they don’t feel they can meet the     employee’s expectations. This is especially true in smaller companies or niche functions where there is not a lot of vertical career opportunity available. 
Helping staff manage their careers makes good business sense. Ensuring that they understand what opportunities exist within your company (something they may not recognize without your help) will inhibit them looking outside of it.
 Find out what your employees’ priorities are and have open, honest conversations around how your company can help them achieve them—even with any constraints you may have. Suggest and recommend internal opportunities to learn, grow and develop and they will at least delay—if not avoid—looking for external ones.

Conversation 4: Underlying Motivators

 The Underlying Motivators conversation helps to uncover those intrinsic factors—Currencies of Choice— that science has shown to be much more highly motivating than extrinsic ones such as pay and benefits. By tapping into each individual’s Currencies of Choice you will help uncover what they need to ‘go the extra mile’. Conversely, once they do, they need to be recognized appropriately for it. The old adage, “Praise in public, correct in private” is only half true. Many people don’t respond well to public recognition. Identify the drivers of each individual staff member to unlock productivity and unleash potential. Then recognize them appropriately when they do go that extra mile.

Conversation 5: Strengths 

According to The Gallup Organization, teams whose members play to their strengths most of the time are:
  • 50% more likely to have low employee turnover
  • 38% more likely to be highly productive
  • 44% more likely to earn high customer satisfaction scores
 Strengths can be defined as the innate abilities or behavioral patterns that are neurologically
hard-wired into our brains between the ages of 3 and 15. The context of the behavior will change
over time, but the patterns remain the same. So those children who share their toys in the sand box
at the age of 5 may very well become 15-year olds who volunteer at the local charity. And 20 years on they may become the 35-year olds who are the most collaborative in the workplace.
 Strength-identification also requires a very minor time commitment: as little as two-hours per week can make a world of difference. If you can help your staff determine behaviors that come naturally to them you will find that their stress is decreased, they become more engaged—and of course more productive.  There is no reason to spend mass-amounts of time and money on ‘engagement’ programs when all it takes is tapping into the minds of your personnel. By first hiring the right staff and then employing the five FOCUSed conversations, managers will significantly increase overall employee engagement. Communicate with your staff frequently, effectively, and about the things that really matter to them. 

*********************************************************************************


Written by Kim Seeling Smith

Kim Seeling Smith 
is an international human resources expert and author of the newly released book, Mind Reading for Managers: 5 FOCUSed Conversations for Greater Employee Engagement and Productivity. With her expansive knowledge of human capital practices in today’s market, Kim helps companies build healthy work environments and increase employee engagement and productivity in our digitally connected, globally oriented world.

For more information on Kim Seeling Smith, please visit
http://igniteglobal.com. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ITURAN and ABCoA/Deal Pack DMS Announce Key Partnership

Since its founding in 1995, ITURAN has sought to bring easy and effective asset protection tools to sub-prime and BHPH auto dealers across the country. The company's line of GPS-enabled asset tracking and recovery tools has revolutionized the way in which these dealers protect their assets and improve collections. Now, ITURAN's technology is coming to an even wider population of dealers than ever before, thanks to the full integration of its technology with ABCoA's Deal Pack dealer management system.

ITURAN is known as an industry leader for its pioneering GPS products, which provides dealers with total security in their ability to track and monitor their assets at any time and from any location, including 24/7 customer service, computer or from a mobile device. In addition to tracking their assets, dealers can also use many of Controlit's features such as Parking Behavior, Geozones, 25-hour heartbeat, smart starter enable to ensure connectivity even without cellular coverage, towing alerts & notifications, send payments reminders to increase collections and a customizable suite of reports tailored to dealer's needs.

ABCoA is a leading provider of software solutions for the subprime finance and used car industries. Deal Pack, ABCoA's total DMS solution, offers fully integrated sales, leasing, finance, and service modules, with electronic contracting, real time accounting, and payment processing. Deal Pack's fully integrated approach provides dealers a single, total solution - ensuring a safe and secure environment for participating lenders. The integration with Ituran's Controlit will allow dealers to manage their GPS accounts directly from Deal Pack, and to automate the payment reminder process while also
accessing Ituran's starter interrupt technology, its skip protection resources, and its parking behavior reports. This step is another improvement that ABCoA & Ituran offer the dealer community—supporting its effort to increase collections efficiency, while ensuring compliance.

"This collaboration is significant for dealers and financiers, because it brings together two of the most dynamic and forward-thinking collateral management technologies in existence, streamlining the process and making it simpler than ever for dealers to protect their investments and collect more efficiently," comments Ariad Sommer, the CEO of Ituran. "ABCoA is a leading dealer management software company, and we are proud to be working alongside them."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

9 Necessary Rules To Follow For Your Company's Website



Computer Guy

Not even twenty years ago, a company website was a bonus, if not a luxury. As the majority of you know, that has all changed in the past decade. It is simply a necessity to have a company website if you are going to succeed. Often times, the first introduction of your luxury ground transportation company is not a hand shake, but a couple page views on the Internet.

Simply put, owning a website is not only a must for a business, it also has to be of utmost importance. Like a vehicle, a website needs to be maintained in order to run smoothly. When was the last time you checked your company's website? I suggest you do right now—and rethink what it is saying to your potential audience. I have compiled a list of rules for you to consider when revisiting your website.

Here are nine (9) necessary rules to follow for your company's website.
  1. No Dead-End Pages. Nothing says "I don't care" or "we don't follow through" more than a web page that has been "under construction" for months, let alone years. If a blog web page has not been worked on in months or has never even been started, delete the page. You don't want your web page to appear like a vacant building. It may have sounded like a good idea to write a blog, but it's a whole other level when you have to create and maintain the blog for it to be effective. If you visit a site's blog and there has not been any new content for five years, what does that say about that page and/or company? Streamline your site to avoid dead-end pages. Make your site as manageable as possible by eliminating web pages that just aren't feasible for you to finish or maintain. Combine your "news" section with your "blog" section. Just like clothes that have not been touched in a year, get rid of web pages that no longer fit (in your work day).
  2. Avoid Flash or Animation. Some techniques that were, at one point, exciting new terrain for the world wide web just aren't efficient anymore. One of these techniques is the use of Flash or other animation. Since the world is slowly progressing to a more mobile view of the web, any unnecessary animation should be eliminated immediately. Like pop-up ads, most visitors will avoid animation at all cost, skipping by it to get to the content or ignoring it and leaving to go to a competitor's site.
  3. A Busy Design. Although the average person can appreciate art, they won't stop and stare if they are surfing for a particular item such as a limousine or airport ride. The ground transportation industry is not the place to showcase a website of overly complicated designed web pages. Having a busy design can frustrate the end user, making them more likely to again go visit another website. Leave the cool designs for the coachbuilders—make your website easy on the eyes.
  4. A Vanilla Design. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum we have the danger of having too vanilla of a design. When a site is poorly designed and looks amateur, it can convey a bad impression to the viewer about how "advanced" the company is that created the website. Let's face it, you can't brag about your technology and have a novice website. Well, you can, I guess. It just doesn't look very good to someone who is seeing your company for the first time. That's what business owners in the ground transportation industry forget sometimes: their website may be the first time a person actually even knows their company exists. And nothing turns them off more than a site that looks so plain that it could have been designed by the owner's middle school daughter.
  5. No Calls-To-Action. There are at least two (2) approaches to designing a website that happen before a single design comp has been sent to the company from the designer. First, your company's website can act as a brochure—acting as an informative tool that tells the end user who you are, what you do,when you do it, where you do it and why you do it. Secondly, your website can act as a sales presentation—showcasing the reasons why the end user should bypass all other available luxury ground transportation companies and use your company. Either way, your website should have at least one "call-to-action" on your website. A call-to-action is a marketing technique that persuades the end user to act immediately, using language such as "Call now to find out more" or "Click here to save on your next ride." Another type of call-to-action is what the people in the marketing industry call a "white paper." Sometimes companies offer "white papers" as a down loadable .pdf on their websites, usually set up on a separate page (so they can count the visitors). What the company does (usually) is send out an e-blast with some information that the company deems is worthwhile to a select group of subscribers with some type of call-to-action intertwined in the message. Companies that use this type of strategy effectively in this industry are Inbound Marketing Agents and ETS International. Although both strategies are used, my advice would be to use the latter choice as your model—creating a sales presentation for your company using calls-to-action.
  6. Hard To Find Contact Info. There is nothing more frustrating to the end user than to not be able to locate a phone number or email when they are ready to make a purchase decision. If it becomes too difficult, it just may be the difference between a sale and a potential customer that bit the dust. It may sound obvious, but make your contact info visible on every page and big enough to not overlook. I have seen (or, in this case, not seen) contact info nearly impossible to find. Make it stand out.
  7. No Mobile Site. So you have this awesome desktop version of your site but have yet to convert it over to a mobile-version? Act sooner rather than later. If your site appears as a desktop version on a person's phone, the enormity of the website can lead to discouraged viewers who are trying to zoom in to see the buttons, etc. Get a mobile version of your site. It makes all the difference in the world, especially of some of your business relies on online reservations.
  8. Content Fresh. Update your website weekly, if not daily. Keep the information relative and current. Talk about the change of seasons. Highlight the upcoming months and keep your specials up-to-date.
  9. Easy-to-Navigate. Make your website make sense. Think about how you want the navigation to go before you start designing it. Think of everything you can before you commit to a site map. The last thing you want to do is confuse the viewer. Make your buttons a seamless integration of information presented in a logical manner so that the end user can find what they want quickly and easily.
If you follow the nine (9) steps above, your online presence and experience will be much better—resulting in more sales conversions and a better experience overall for both your company and the potential customers online.

*********************************************************************************


Written by
Creative Director
john@limodigest.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

California Chauffeurs Graduate from Safety Training Operators Program

El Paseo Transportation


James Brown and Ashley Curry at El Paseo Transportation in San Jose, California successfully graduated all 91 of their chauffeurs through the Safety TrainingOperators Program (STOP), according to a press release.

El Paseo learned about the STOP Program at a GCLA meeting and completed company-wide training of all drivers within 90 days, the release said.

According to the program's website, STOP is an online safety training program available 24/7, and it takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Additionally, Daniel Amado, Ashley Keys, and Marcos Gonzalez at Concierge Limousine in Huntington Beach, California successfully graduated all 16 of their chauffeurs through the STOP Program, according to the release.

“Two things matter when learning: attention and memory,” Melinda S. Harper, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Queens University of Charlotte, said on the STOP program website. “Given the limited attention span of adults (an average of 5-10 minutes), how material is presented matters. By providing material in a concise and specific manner, the learner will likely retain more of the information. The streamlined approach of the STOP Program recognizes the value of this instructional style to maximize the consumer’s learning and retention of its material.”

For more information visit www.stop-program.com.

Le Limo Awarded Contract with State Higher Education Group

Le Limo Limousine Service


Le Limo Limousine Service of Shrewsbury, MA was awarded a 3-year transportation contract for the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC), according to a company press release. The contracted rates are available to faculty, staff and students of the participating member organizations. The contract was awarded to Le Limo based on its having the most responsible and responsive bid that offered best value to MHEC members, according to the release.

The contract gives MHEC members access to Le Limo’s entire fleet, and offers special pricing to over 500
area non-profit educational entities including municipalities, private colleges and universities, public schools, state universities and community schools. Members span the towns of Framingham, Marlboro, Natick, Newton, Worcester and hundreds more, and some of the participating institutions include Boston College, Boston University, University of Massachusetts and Harvard University. Participating non-profits include Worcester’s EcoTarium, the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Museum of Fine Arts. 

“We are honored to serve this indispensable segment of our community,” Le Limo CEO, Andrew Foilb,
said in the release. “We’ve build a reputation of setting the bar for luxury for the area’s livery companies.
We look forward to providing that service to the MHEC members for many years to come.”
For more information visit www.lelimo.com

Premiere #1 Limousine Among Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Central PA



Middletown, PA's Premiere #1 Limousine was included in the CentralPenn Business Journal's 18th annual Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies list, according to a company press release.

To be considered, companies were required to verify revenue of $500,000 or more in fiscal years ending in 2011, 2012 and 2013. They were also required to prove revenue growth in 2013 compared with 2011. Companies also must have been headquartered in one of several surrounding counties in order to be eligible. Winning companies were ranked according to their revenue growth over the 3-year period.

Premiere #1 Limousine Service and 49 other winners will learn their ranking at an honorary breakfast in September. A complete ranked list of honorees and profiles of each company will appear in a special supplement of the September 26 issue of the Central Penn Business Journal.

“You have no idea how happy I was when upon receiving notification that we were selected for this list,” Douglas Rydbom, senior member of Premiere #1 Limousine Service, said in the press release. “All of the employees work hard and take pride in contributing to our growth. It’s great to talk around the office about or success, but submitting our revenue reports and letting the numbers talk for themselves is extremely gratifying.”


For more information visit www.Premiere1Limousine.com.

R & R Limo Selected Official KFC Yum! Center Chauffeured Transportation Company

R & R Limousine


The KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY has named R & RLimousine as its official chauffeured transportation company, according to an R & R Limousine press release.

R & R credits its an extensive and top notch fleet, its Ritz Carlton trained staff, and its reputation for high standards of customer service as the primary reasons behind their notable new partnership.

“We are extremely excited that the hospitality our patrons have come to expect at our venue will extend beyond its walls to our chauffeured services,” KFC Yum! Center General Manager Dennis Petrullo said in the press release, “and we are certain that R & R will provide them with the type of over the top experience they have come to expect from the KFC Yum! Center.”

“As president of the Kentucky Limousine Association, I am excited for our industry that the KFC Yum! Center has prioritized chauffeured services as a means of ensuring a comprehensive world‐class experience by its event goers,” R & R Limousine President Carey Fieldhouse said in the release. “I am honored to have been selected as the official chauffeured transportation company and to be working with a venue that has been instrumental in shaping Louisville’s downtown community.”

For more information visit www.rrlimo.com.

Wolfington Body Company Announces Turtle Top Product Line

Wolfington Body Company


Wolfington Body Company has announced their new partnership with Turtle Top for the immediate sales of the Turtle Top full product line in New Jersey and the Odyssey XL International model in Pennsylvania and New York, according to a press release.

With a growing commercial and livery division, Turtle Top joins the company's already extensive product line, which includes Glaval Bus, Ameritrans, Mauck2, and Battisti Custom.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Wolfington’s as Turtle Top reflects our same principles of
premium quality products and top of the line service and support,” Brian Engle, vice president and commercial sales manager of Wolfington, said in the press release. “With a full product offering in New Jersey and the International Odyssey line in Pennsylvania and New York, we look forward to the new opportunities ahead of us as we continue to expand our livery sales.”

Wolfington is currently the IC Bus distributor for school buses in the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and one of the largest school bus dealers in the country. With a recently opened parts warehouse, Wolfington offers support for fleets of all sizes, and offers next day parts delivery from 16 parts vehicles and 5 full-time on the road service technicians. The company is also an affinity sponsorship partner with the National Limousine Association.


For more information visit www.wolfington.com.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The American Motor Products Road Show Hits the East Coast

American Motor Products
The force behind the American Motor Products Tour Bus and Rolling Road Show have dedicated a year of their lives to come to your city to introduce you to the most amazing cost-saving opportunities that will be sure to benefit your business. In affiliation with the National Limousine Association Affinity Program and their Sponsors, you’ll hear from David Ward about product and services specifically created for the livery industry—products that will deliver you substantial cost efficiencies:

Here is the schedule for the first leg of the tour:


Tuesday, September 9th  6:00 PM     

Embassy Suites 
Boston-at Logan Airport

207 Porter Street, 
Boston, MA 02128


Wednesday, September 17th 12:00 Noon
Princeton, NJ
Limousine Associations of New Jersey
Princeton Marriot at Forrestal Village
100 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540

1st Week of October To Be Determined
Chicago, IL
         
After the East Coast Trade Shows, the Road Show will be transiting to the West Coast - Look for Dates to be announced.

To RSVP, click here.

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