You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at firstname.lastname@example.org for next issue’s question.
TOPIC: What are your favorite business related app(s)? How has it made your life easier? Is there an app you utilize company-wide?
Two programs that we could not live without are Zipwhip and Driver Schedule. Since implementing each program a few years ago, they both have made our lives much easier in the office.
Zipwhip is a web-based program that allows your landline number to become a text message outlet. We text with our chauffeurs and clients regularly, and can communicate with other affiliates that are on the platform as well. Before we implemented Driver Schedule, our scheduling process was old school and often challenging for our dispatch team. The scheduling software not only helps keep us organized with scheduling, but also allows chauffeurs to report maintenance issues, lets us view important documents, offers email capabilities, facilitates chauffeur trainings, gives license alerts, and so much more.
Briana Candeub, Vice President of Operations
Park Avenue Limousine in Trevose, Pa.
Overall, I have been disappointed with reservation apps used for my company, but I do use a GPS app to view my fleet. Banking apps have been the most valuable for me; I regularly use them to monitor account credits and debits.
John W. Critchett, President
Palm Beach Tours & Transportation in West Palm Beach, Fla.
We are working with Blacklane, which offers an app-based booking system that can be used by clients and chauffeurs. This has proven useful, as we can track all of our cars—and the client is also aware of the exact location of their chauffeur and has access to their contact information.
Gerard Dalmau, Account Manager
Abaser Limousine Services in Barcelona, Spain
AddOns.LA is an app integration that can be used with Limo Anywhere. Among its most handy features are chauffeur wake-up calls, status alerts delivered through text messages, and real-time driver locations that clients can use in a manner similar to TNCs. However, my favorite feature is the new credit card link, which lets clients take a picture of a credit card with a cellphone, and it uploads the numbers right into Limo Anywhere. There’s no more faxing of forms—just real-time updates.
Clayton Dennard, Owner
Going Coastal Transportation in North Charleston, S.C.
We have been using Zipwhip for a couple of years, and it has been a tremendous help in running an efficient operation. Its benefits are twofold: First, it has allowed us to limit the number of chauffeur and greeter calls, especially while managing large groups. Second, it has allowed us to offer our clients an additional communication outlet. Today’s clients are more and more inclined to use texting than phone messages or even email. By turning our landline into a “textable” line, our clients can communicate with our reservations and dispatch team by text directly if they so prefer.
Sami Elotmani, VP of Operations – Director of Global Partnerships
Destination MCO in Orlando, Fla.
Facebook is definitely a useful app. There are a couple of industry groups there, which contain lots of business partners. These groups help operators either give or ask for recommendations, meet new affiliates around the world, and share their points of view. It is all about of creating business relationships and growing this industry.
Ylse Escamilla, International Market & Roadshow Manager
Alquimavi Car Service in Mexico City, Mexico
CamCard is a wonderful app for organizing contacts, especially when attending events and trade shows. It allows you to take a photo of a business card and then it populates your phone contact list. Additionally, you can create and share a QR code for the contact. It also allows you to pull all of your contacts and export them to an Excel spreadsheet. This helps when sending mass mailing or email blasts. The best part is that it is free.
Hoss Oskouie, Owner
Atlantic Limousine & Transportation in Atlanta, Ga.
We use the Limo Anywhere reservation system along with the Driver Anywhere app companywide. Our chauffeurs and our clients love it, as the client receives a text message with the chauffeur’s information both when they are on the way and once they’ve arrived. Afterward, each passenger receives a text message directing them to rate their level of service on that particular trip. This allows for immediate feedback to management as well as to the chauffeur. Our chauffeurs’ collective level of service has stepped up a notch knowing that each time they drive our clients, they could be rated. In a highly competitive market, we are raising the bar with our level of service to our clients as well as to our affiliates.
Jason Ramsey, President
Prestige Worldwide Transportation in Denver, Colo.
There are two that stand out for us with respect to business tools. The first is obvious: the Waze mapping solution. It provides instant insight for chauffeurs and dispatch personnel to view the same real-time traffic map. Avoiding traffic congestion, accidents, construction, and other challenges on the highway helps with operational efficiencies. However, we caution our motorcoach operators to be cognizant that some of the “detours” may put them on a navigationally challenging street for larger vehicles.
The second app that we have found success with is OpenTable. We have a number of clients that ask our chauffeurs for recommendations for dinner locations. Our chauffeurs have reported success with assisting clients and seamlessly obtaining reservations for them.
Jeff Shanker, Chief Strategist
Black Tie Transportation in Winston Salem, N.C.
CamScanner has been a huge asset. It allows you to take a picture, covert it to PDF, and quickly send it as a document. I use this sometimes even when my scanner is next to me because it is so simple to use.
Stephen Story, President
James River Transportation in Richmond, Va.
Freshdesk is a ticket management software that allows us to organize email from accounts such as dispatch or info. It allows us to track the user that closed the ticket and hosts virtually unlimited storage and access to past emails. We have realized a significant efficiency by using this software and app.
However, Producteev is perhaps my favorite app. It is free project management software that allows me to track staff’s progress on both daily workflow and special projects. Everyone in my company uses this software and app. It is an amazing tool for multitasking and not dropping the ball. Prior to using this app, I struggled with managing staff to stay on top of their objectives. We would come up with the goal and action steps, and then during weekly meetings I would hear the excuse as to why they are not on track. With Producteev, I am plugged in—in real time— and can see when they complete or do not complete a task on time. It helps me respond proactively allowing enough time to meet the goal on or before the deadline. I think everyone should use this it is amazing!
We also have found tons of other uses for Zipwhip, particularly for last minute requests within our farm-out operators, group messaging to chauffeurs, and communication with clients.
Mike Zappone, CEO
All Transportation Network in Newburgh, N.Y.
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 email@example.com and you just might see your query answered in a future issue. We look forward to your input!