BY ROB SMENTEKWhen industry veterans Joey Allen and Greg Pruitt from Kings Worldwide Transportation in Oklahoma City launched Limo Command early this year, they originally anticipated that they’d be providing call services for small limousine operators during the overnight hours. It wasn’t long, though, before the pair found themselves shocked at how quickly they began 24/7 operations for ground transportation firms around the country, handling their dispatch and reservations remotely.
“Our initial vision was that Limo Command could offer a way to give people in the industry the opportunity to take a little bit of a break so they’re not constantly trying to worry about ringing phones at all hours,” Allen explains.
“We thought we’d be giving people their life back at night and on weekends; I don’t think we realized how quickly we’d be giving people their life back all day,” jokes Pruitt.
Despite running a successful chauffeured ground transportation company, Allen and Pruitt were looking for ways to diversify their business. Late in 2015, the pair got their opportunity when longtime friend Derek Maxwell from the Chosen Technology Group was looking to sell his nascent call center service, TransResponse, to streamline his focus. Allen and Pruitt saw the need in the industry for a full-service call center and quickly brokered a deal with Maxwell (with help from The LMC Group’s Kristen Carroll), and in January 2016, they took over the company.
“We switched our name because we wanted to convey that we were more than an overnight call center,” he says. “The entire technological infrastructure was built and in place for a seamless service. We didn’t want to provide a call center; we’re providing a full command center.”
Thus, Limo Command was born.
Allen and Pruitt used their 13 years of industry experience to set up a working blueprint for their new company that they hoped would not only provide superior service to clients, but also allow for slow, steady growth.
“We were one of our first clients,” says Pruitt. “We understand that the service has to be great because the individual owners and managers, like us, have such love and pride for the businesses we’ve built. We wanted to be sure that the quality is there.”
The pair had used similar call services for years, but never found one that provided the full range of offerings they desired. Therefore, they knew their insight would let them provide the kind of support both needed and wanted by the industry. So, with The LMC Group’s assistance, they developed an extensive training program for their agents, and a deliberate model for handling their growth.
“The plan all along was for us to offer overnight assistance with dispatch and reservations—that was phase one,” Allen says. “Phase two was going to be a 24/7 service, which we didn’t anticipate coming along for 18 months but, sure enough, it came after just three months in business.”
“When we started Limo Command, we didn’t realize how many large operators were still answering their phones themselves. Our expectation was that we were going to take care of guys like ourselves, who have up to 25 cars. We now have clients who have 50-plus car operations,” says Allen.
Almost immediately, Limo Command began fielding requests to handle the complete day-to-day phone operations for a number of operators. According to Allen, the company’s customer service experts are equipped to handle everything from reservations to dispatch to billing—all from a remote operation.
What sets Limo Command apart, Allen believes, is that the company’s representatives operate as if they’re sitting in the office of the companies they service. When a prospective client calls to make a reservation, he won’t know he’s dealing with an outside firm in Oklahoma. Also, when the agents dial out, the client company’s phone number is displayed. What’s more, Allen and Pruitt assign a set group of agents to specific clients, so that each becomes intimately acquainted with one other.
“The service Limo Command provides is indistinguishable from ours by design, so I know my clients are in great hands, no matter who they reach when they call,” raves Gina Brennan of Corporate Car & Coach in St. Paul, Minn. “Primarily, we utilize their services for overnights and some weekend coverage, but we have also been able to use their daytime coverage during office lunch breaks or meetings as needed.”
“When you have regular clients who call every night or every other night, they will get the same agents,” says Pruitt. “Our call center employees come from all areas of service. We’re really not looking for a call center employee; we’re looking for a problem-solver. We want our agents to understand the needs of a customer and provide a solution, not just be a person who reads a script and gives you a basic answer.”
As Limo Command’s client base has grown beyond its founders’ initial expectations—they currently have a waiting list of clients ready to sign on—it’s natural that Allen and Pruitt have their eyes on the next chapter of the company. Both see Limo Command expanding into a worldwide call center for a network of companies of all sizes, administered by their growing staff of specialists.
“We also want to look at providing a complete back office support system for all of our clients,” posits Allen. “We can make a reservation, dispatch a trip, and send a confirmation, but we also want to close that trip and bill it. I can also see us providing an IT help desk for our industry. Since we’re already serving clients, a simple IT support that clients can remote into would be a big benefit.” [CD0916]