BY SUSAN ROSEAs Kansas City-based LEADER Worldwide Chauffeured Services began in 2000 and continued to grow, Founder & CEO Bruce Heinrich found himself in a situation where he needed a quick and efficient way to train his chauffeurs. Using his background and knowledge from working at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, as well as his experience as a chauffeur for CLS Limousine in Los Angeles (which has since been acquired by EmpireCLS Worldwide), Heinrich developed a unique and effective system that combined extensive customer service with driver safety training. Soon, LEADER became recognized throughout the industry for their high-level of service that put special emphasis on the client experience.
“Tom Mazza, who was the ultimate leader in chauffeur training, was a good friend and mentor,” says Heinrich of the late industry consultant who passed away in 2012. “When he passed, there was a big void in the industry. My friends in the industry knew about the program I had created, and they said, ‘You need to put something out. Our industry needs it.’ And so, I put together a system that other operators could use, which is based on the foundational principles of exceptional customer service and driving safety that is easy for any chauffeur to learn and apply.”
Heinrich named his new venture PAX Training and continues to operate as CEO of the company.
“Pax in Latin means peace. The whole premise of what we do is to provide peace of mind to the operator and the chauffeur, that in turn allows them to provide peace of mind to the client.” – Bruce Heinrich, Founder & CEO of PAX Training“Pax in Latin means peace,” says Heinrich. “The whole premise of what we do is to provide peace of mind to the operator and the chauffeur, that in turn allows them to provide peace of mind to the client. We do that with a systematic way of teaching the best practices in our industry and keeping them at the forefront.”
However, Heinrich realized that the days of watching training on VHS or DVDs were gone. The industry needed a new way to distribute valuable and timely training to operators. Fortunately, a chance meeting with entrepreneur James Blain in 2016 would set the ball rolling for a new way of teaching and learning.
“When Bruce moved his office to Kansas City’s MKC private airport, a friend of mine took over his old location,” says Blain about meeting Heinrich. “I had just exited my first company and was looking for what I would build next, and always had a background in customer service. I was introduced to Bruce, and we hit it off. That was only two weeks before the Las Vegas show in 2016 and we decided we were going to get PAX ready for launch at that very show. My background was technology-driven with that customer service/family company element, and I was no stranger to being able to move quickly while still doing things right. We spent every moment putting together our plan on how to present something new, different, and effective to the industry.”
Heinrich and Blain, who is now a partner and president of PAX, made their training online-based and accessible from anywhere. The PAX Training Platform offers their members up-to-the-minute courses—not limited to an office or classroom.
“Unlike the days of old when people relied on VHS tapes and DVDs, what we’ve done is empower operators to use our online platform to reach their chauffeurs anywhere and at any time. They can train in the office or their vehicle on a tablet, phone, laptop, or desktop. We know that over time chauffeurs can start to slip and develop bad habits, so we added ongoing training to keep them sharp,” says Blain.
Although PAX offers an entire library of courses, the centerpiece is the PAX Chauffeur Certification, which is composed of the key principles that every chauffeur must follow, the PAX Pyramid of Success. Regardless of whether they are new to the industry or have prior experience, the PAX Chauffeur Certification is designed to ensure they provide world-class service and are generating revenue as quickly as possible.
“We’ll get everything set up so that by working with our team you can meet the ELDT requirements. We are working with several operators across the country that are now able to have their drivers obtain their CDL entirely in-house.” – James Blain, President of PAX Training”“The Pyramid of Success comprises six elements on three different levels,” says Heinrich. “The foundational component is the First Impression, which includes being on time and the presentation of the chauffeur and the vehicle. The next level of the pyramid is The Drive, which covers trip preparation and routing, and driving safety in a manner worthy of being a professional chauffeur. The pinnacle of the pyramid is The Experience, which focuses on the customer service experience that the client receives. Using the pyramid, chauffeurs can easily apply what they’ve learned to provide a consistent, quality service experience that will keep customers coming back time and time again.”
“The Pyramid of Success is the fundamental core of being a chauffeur,” adds Blain. “If you pull any piece of that pyramid out, the whole thing falls apart.”
“Everything PAX is and does is tested through LEADER,” says Heinrich. “You wouldn’t believe the number of phone calls we get; people are blown away by our services. They’re so thankful. And, you know, we’re not doing anything special. We’re just being ourselves, from the office to the chauffeurs. Because of Uber and the like, the expectation of service has gone down so far, and by simply doing what we do, we look amazing. All we’re doing are the fundamentals that PAX teaches. Right now, it is so easy to differentiate yourself by your service standards. It used to be a race to the bottom dollar—who could do it the cheapest. I think that our passengers and customers have learned that cheaper is not better. Their peace of mind is more important than saving a few dollars. Applying the foundational principles of PAX is the easiest way to differentiate yourself to where price is not the defining factor as to whether you can get or keep an account.”
In a world populated with TNCs and average customer service, PAX’s principles have generated rave reviews from clients and operators alike. Jorge Sanchez, president of Hermes Worldwide Transportation in Denver, who recently acquired local competitor Presidential, was one of the first to start using PAX. When asked about the role PAX played in his success, Sanchez said, “The provided training and custom training module enables us to onboard more chauffeurs a lot quicker, which was critical for our rapid growth.”
“PAX has also evolved and grown with the needs of our member operators,” says Blain. “For example, we had many operators who wanted to show potential hires what the industry would be like before hiring them—this isn’t a TNC, it’s the luxury transportation industry—so, instead of having them take the full PAX Chauffeur Certification, we created a pre-hire course that companies can use before they even bring anyone on.”
As the luxury ground transportation has transitioned into motorcoach work, you can bet that PAX was moving right alongside the industry. The duo spent a great deal of time working with huge bus operators to develop a series of motorcoach courses. Then came a monumental shift by way of government regulations.
“Entry-level driver training (ELDT) was a huge curveball that got thrown at operators,” says Blain. “All of a sudden, there’s a big regulatory roadblock in the way of an operator who wants to train their own in-house drivers to get their CDL, even if they had done so in the past. Now operators are required to have an ELDT-compliant training program for drivers, and there’s all this legislative red tape. To tackle this issue, we worked with BAC Transportation in Alaska and developed a program that allows us to walk an operator through implementing everything needed for ELDT. We help them get everything in place and cut through that red tape so that by working with our team you can meet the ELDT requirements. We are working with several operators across the country that are now able to have their drivers obtain their CDL entirely in-house.”
Blain adds that their ELDT course does much more than just offer necessary training; it actually works to extend the career path of a chauffeur, something desperately needed during the current critical driver shortage.
At the moment, ELDT is PAX’s “flagship” program, but the company has also announced that it will soon be expanding its offerings to include dispatcher and CSR training.
“ELDT is meant for operators who are looking to get drivers their CDL without having to hire those who already have it, while the dispatcher/CSR training is going to appeal much more broadly. My dad always said, ‘You don’t go to school to be a doctor; you go to learn to think like a doctor.’ We’ve been working on designing our courses to teach the CSR a service mindset along with all the tools they’re going to need. We’re doing the same with the dispatch course we’re developing. We’re helping people get into that mindset—smart dispatching and planning ahead, while still being able to pivot when necessary,” says Blain.
“Our vision for PAX is to elevate the entire industry—to elevate service across the board,” says Heinrich. “It has to be a huge difference between us and Uber. Otherwise, why would anyone choose us over the TNCs? We want to get two things out there: One, it’s important for the chauffeur to know that it can be a career and is a noble profession; two, we want operators to see their chauffeur as an investment and not an expense. When you look at your people as an investment, and you see that ROI, you’ll never go back. You’ll see that it works. I’m living proof of that.”
“The biggest thing I want people to know about PAX is, no matter how well you’re able to do things, you truly have to create an experience for your clients,” says Blain. “In the interconnected world we live in, we all have to meet the expectations—it doesn’t matter if it’s an internal or farm-out client. For PAX, it’s not just training. We understand that’s the goal, but ultimately we like to see our members be successful and be able to share that knowledge.” [CD0623]