Wednesday, September 27, 2023

TOPIC: What is your procedure for a no-show on an early-morning pickup? Do you call, text, or knock? How long do you wait?

Javaid Chaudhry For morning pickups, we send notification 12 hours prior to the scheduled arrival. We arrive on location 15 minutes before the pickup time and wait 15 minutes after pickup time before we call the passenger or the booker.

Javaid Chaudhry, President & CEO
NYG Limousine in Rosedale, N.Y.

Keesha Crowe Finding the balance between procedure and courtesy is extremely difficult when it comes to early-morning pickups. With any ride, our procedure is to arrive on location 15 minutes prior to the scheduled pickup time and make the passenger aware of our arrival. We do this via automatic email/text. We wait 15 minutes after pickup time before taking additional measures to reach the passenger, and then we call to let them know we are on location and ready. If the passenger does not answer, we leave a message. Our policy is to wait an hour past the scheduled pickup time before leaving a location due to being unable to make contact with a passenger. As a courtesy, we call the person who booked the reservation—if it is someone other than the passenger—prior to leaving the pickup location.

Keesha Crowe, Dispatch Manager
Mint Life Limousine in Atlanta, Ga.

John Ferrari After completing any reservation, we immediately send a confirmation to the person who booked the trip, along with any other person we were instructed to notify. Twenty-four hours prior to the reservation time, we send an automatic email confirmation/reminder. Our customers also receive automatic status updates that are generated through the software system to their email or text when the driver is in route to the pickup and has arrived on location. Upon arrival (15 minutes prior to the pickup time), the chauffeur waits outside the entry door unless other instructions have been provided. At the pickup time, the chauffeur will knock on the entry door or we will call the number on the reservation order if it’s an office building. If the trip is a no-show, the customer is charged the full rate of the transfer and a receipt is emailed.

John Ferrari, Owner
AFC Transportation in Houston, Texas

Brian Heneghan Our policy is to wait 45 minutes to an hour for local clients if we have no contact of any kind. For affiliates/corporate bookers, we wait until the chauffeur is released with authorization from our client.

The normal procedure is to reach out to affiliate/booker or client 15 minutes after scheduled pickup time when we have no contact. We have an automatic texting system that will send a message to traveler when the chauffeur is on his way and again when he’s on location.

We are not comfortable knocking or ringing door bells for early-morning trips for obvious reasons, and seldom do we feel the need to possibly wake up an entire household. In rare cases, a chauffeur will use as much professional discretion as possible when knocking on a door rather than using the doorbell—this, of course, only works for homes and not high-rise buildings or apartment complexes.

Through the years, we have closed many possible loopholes for incorrect bookings with our next-day confirmation system, which has greatly reduced the number of no-shows for all departures.

Our chauffeurs also utilize texting from their phones as well, which is the preferred method of communication for all our clients at any time of day.

Brian Heneghan, Dispatch Manager
Windy City Limousine in Chicago, Ill.

Sue Jarvis If we are at a residence, we call the provided phone number after 10 minutes. We do not knock for fear of waking up the dog, spouse, or children. Many clients actually have a preference for us to turn off all headlights and remain inside the ​ vehicle in the early morning hours.

Sue Jarvis, President
Aristocat Chauffeured Transportation in Warren, Mich.

Wendy Kleefisch Twelve hours prior to a pickup, we send a confirmation via email, and for all “red eye” reservations, we will call the client to verbally confirm the trip. For affiliate work, we call to confirm trip details with the company as well.

We always arrive 15 minutes ahead of the pickup time, and then send a “Good Morning” text to the client 10 minutes prior to the arranged pickup time.

If there is no answer, we will call the client; for an affiliate job, we call and let the affiliate know (as some affiliates refuse to give the client’s phone number, which is very common in corporate affiliate work). In 18 years of business, I have had dozens of clients who’ve overslept and appreciated the phone calls.

Our last resort is knocking on the door—if no one answers the text, phone calls, and doorbell, we then leave (or wait for our affiliate to release the chauffeur). When this happens, we charge the client in full and mark it as a no-show, since the total time involved is 45-60 minutes.

Wendy Kleefisch, Owner
Brevard Executive Limousine in Indialantic, Fla.

Steve Qua For pickups at a passenger’s home, if we don’t make contact within 15 minutes (and don’t see movement inside the house), we take the time to listen to a tape of the reservation to make sure we have things correct. If we do, we call the passenger’s cellphone—no need to wake up the whole house by knocking if he/she just forgot to cancel.

At a hotel, if we have haven’t made contact within 15 minutes (and there isn’t an authorized wait or it’s not an affiliate job), we have our chauffeur ask the hotel to ring the client’s room.

If it’s an affiliate trip and we haven’t made contact within 15 minutes (no authorized wait), regardless of where it is, we call the contact and detail what’s happening, and then follow their instructions.

Steve Qua, President
Company Car & Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio

Douglas Schwartz On an early-morning pickup, we typically wait 10 minutes and then call the passenger’s cell. If there’s no answer, we wait another five minutes and then call the house phone and/or ring the doorbell. We confirm every trip by phone the night before so we very rarely have an error. More than likely, they’re asleep—I like it best when they try to fake that they weren’t sleeping.

Douglas Schwartz, Owner
Executive Limousine in Bellmore, N.Y.

Andrew Tighe Tristar’s procedure for a no-show for an early-morning pickup depends on the pickup location. For non-airport pickups, such as a residence or a hotel, all of our clients receive an automated text message that their chauffeurs have arrived for pickup. If we have not made contact after 15 minutes, the chauffeur will personally text the client with a standard message informing them again of their location. Typically at this point, we receive a response from the client and the problem is resolved. If we do not receive a response after 30 minutes, we will call the client and email the admin seeking input. After an hour, one last attempt to contact both the passenger and admin will be made via phone and/or email. The chauffeur will typically be released after one hour.

For airport pickups, we provide a 30-minute grace period for domestic flights and a one-hour grace period for international flights. In both instances, clients are texted upon the chauffeur’s arrival at the terminal. If there is no contact after the respective grace periods, we will call the passenger and email the booker to resolve the problem. Typically after an hour of no contact for a domestic flight and two hours of no contact for an international flight, we will release the chauffeur.

Andrew Tighe, Operations Manager
Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services in Boston, Ma.

Jonathan Wilner For any pickup at a residence before 7 a.m., we will simply wait until approximately 5 minutes after the pickup time. After that, the chauffeur will let dispatch know that he hasn’t made contact. Next, the chauffeur will text the client and walk up to the door to see if he can hear any activity in the house; if he hears something, he may knock lightly on the door. If there’s no response, he will contact dispatch to try and call the client and follow with an email. If there is still no response, we will wait until 30 minutes after the pickup time before we will release the chauffeur.

In the meanwhile, dispatch will reach out by telephone to call all provided numbers, and leave messages that the chauffeur is and has been on location since 15 minutes prior to the pickup time and will be released 30 minutes after scheduled time if we don’t hear from you.

Our team will listen to the recording of the original booking call or check emails. Then a follow-up call will be made by a member of our team at a later time to the booker or to the individual themselves to find out what happened.

I think that even with all the technology available, it is still important to reach out to the client by phone to have that human connection.

Jonathan Wilner, President
Harrington Limousine Service in Edison, N.J.

Scott Woodruff Our drivers arrive on site 15 minutes before pickup time. They back into the driveway with their headlights off so they aren’t shining in the neighbors’ houses. If the client hasn’t come out 15 minutes after the pickup time, the chauffeur calls the office and lets them know there is no contact.

From here, we consider who the client is and how the reservation is booked before the passenger, affiliate, or booker is called. There should ALWAYS be a number for someone to get ahold of if needed. If we are unable to get the contact person on the phone, we verify the address and then have the chauffeur knock. If there’s no answer, the chauffeur will wait one hour and then leave if no contact is made.

Scott Woodruff, President & CEO
Majestic Limo & Coach in Des Moines, Iowa

Jon Ziemba The important aspect about no-shows is that your staff is properly trained how to handle them so that they’re always treated in a uniform matter. Our no-show policy is clearly listed on the confirmation email our clients receive after making their reservation.

Our clients receive an automated email when a vehicle is on its way and when it is on location. The chauffeur will be on location 15 minutes early for the pickup, but he will wait until five minutes before the pickup to text the client. If the pickup is at a hotel, the chauffeur must make his presence known to the staff on duty (front desk, bellman, valet personnel, etc.).

If the client has not appeared within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time, our office calls the client directly. For a residential pickup, we have the chauffeur knock on the door as well. If it is a hotel pickup, we instruct the chauffeur to see if the front desk staff can reach the client by calling up to the room.

We will continue every 10 minutes or so after that. If we are unable to reach the client after 60 minutes, a final call is placed to the client from our office to inform them that we have done our best to serve them but had to release their chauffeur. A follow-up email is then sent to the client saying the same thing.

We note all attempts to contact the client in the log for the reservation. The vehicle tracking log for that trip is also saved if proof is needed to show the client that we were on location for the pickup and how long we waited.

Jon Ziemba, President
American Comfort Limousines in Naples, Fla.

We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions since debuting this interactive section—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!

Have you wondered how others in the industry have tackled a concern you’re currently facing, handled a delicate issue, implemented a certain policy, or do you simply want to propose a topic for our consideration?

Send an email to rob@chauffeurdriven.com and you just might see your query answered in a future issue. We look forward to your input!