Preparing for the Worst – Set Your Manifest Backup

There’s no question that in 2017 we rely on tech heavily throughout all aspects of our lives. Here at Limo Anywhere, we live and breathe it. We are constantly striving to ensure our users have the best possible experience.  Unfortunately, when any interruption occurs, our reliance on tech is tested. However, there are steps you can take to ensure you are prepared before a problem occurs by setting up system backup emails.

Users can set this up under My Office>Messaging & Template Settings>Email Res Manifest tab.

LA 1

You can set how often you would like to receive these alerts. You can also add up to three email addresses to receive the manifest.

LA 2

For a more detailed step-by-step guide, check out our how-to on Zendesk. We also have a tutorial video on YouTube. If you are still having any issues with setting up your backup, please give us a call at 888-888-0302, option 2, or email us with your company ID at support@limoanywhere.com. One of our staff members would be happy to assist you.

While no one can anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong, we can at least help our users stay prepared. By taking these actions before there is an unexpected issue, you’ll have a backup in place and your drivers will know where they are supposed to be, even if access to Limo Anywhere is impeded.

 

 

How to use the Hover Feature

Want to learn about the most efficient ways to find relevant information in Limo Anywhere? This post will show you how to discover all there is to know about the Hover feature.

When viewing the Dispatch Grid, you may notice that a yellow pop-up window appears when the mouse is held over certain areas. This is the Hover Feature and it can make finding information much easier and faster. There are eight instances where this piece of technology can help you:

  • Passenger Contact Info
  • Driver Contact Info
  • Billing Contact Info
  • Booking Contact Info
  • Affiliate Contact Info
  • Car Info
  • Passenger Priority Level
  • Passenger Notes
  • Trip Notes

How to use the Hover feature

All columns must first be visible on the Dispatch Grid in order to use the Hover Feature. Click on the blue Grid Setup link at the top of the Dispatch Grid.

How to use the Hover feature

Select the above columns by checking the box on the left of each item. To sort the columns, click and drag them into the order you prefer. Be sure to click on Update Dispatch Grid Fields when you are satisfied with your options. Next, select the My Prefs tab.

How to use the Hover feature

In the fifth section, use the drop-down menus to select Yes to each of the hover options available.

How to use the Hover feature

To take full advantage of the hover feature within Limo Anywhere, be sure to fill out all relevant information when setting up Driver Profiles and when completing new Accounts. Be sure to collect phone number(s) and email address(es) for drivers, passengers, booking contacts, billing contacts, and affiliates. This information will show up in the yellow pop-up window when hovering over a driver’s name or a passenger’s name, or when hovering over any other contact associated with a given trip.

Additionally, for Account set up, collect any specific passenger preferences or special billing information and enter it into Preferences/Trip Notes on the main page of the user account. This will show in the yellow pop-up window when hovering over the Passenger Priority Level & Notes column and/or the Trip Notes column. If you have specific notes in the Trip Notes area in a Reservation, this information will show up in the Trip Notes column on the Dispatch Grid.

If you are not currently set up to use the hover feature, be sure to give it a try. It will save you lots of time and allow easy access to relevant information.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

Using technology today can be challenging. With all of the unending updates, it can be difficult to keep up. And navigating through the hidden nooks and crannies that typically control the end-user experience in a given software can feel overwhelming. Most companies don’t have the resources to commit an employee to learning all there is to know about software, let alone hire a dedicated IT person. It is our goal at Limo Anywhere to share information about our most overlooked features and shed light on some simple practices that will increase your productivity and give you a more fulfilling user experience.

In this blog, you’ll learn about the Batch Edit feature, which will help you schedule and make changes more quickly.

To activate the Batch Update feature, first go to the Dispatch Grid (click on the Dispatch Icon – Red Car).

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

Next, click on the first of three blue links located at the top of the grid, called Grid Setup. This will open a window where you will be able to adjust many different features and settings for the Dispatch Grid.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

For now, go to the tab titled My Prefs.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see that the second to the last option is Enable Batch Update. Set the drop-down menu to Yes. Click the button at the very bottom of the window that reads, Update Dispatch Grid Fields. Close out of the window in the upper right.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

You will now see a new column at the far left on your Dispatch Grid, with a small checkbox available for each trip listed. You may now select several trips at a time and quickly adjust Status, Vehicle Type, Driver, or Car.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

Imagine that one of your drivers has called out of work sick. You could select all of those trips assigned to that driver and make one change (change the status to unassigned until you find a replacement) and then click on Batch Update Trips. Or if you had a car unexpectedly go out of service, first sort your grid by car, select all trips having that assigned car and quickly choose a replacement using this feature.

How to Use the Batch Edit Feature

For scheduling, move drivers and cars around until you are comfortable with all of your assignments. Then, when ready, use the very top checkbox in the Title Row of the Dispatch Grid to select ALL trips within the grid. Easily set the status to Dispatched (or Assigned, depending on your company terminology), click on Batch Update Trips, and watch as all of your trips are sent out to drivers. Voila!

Limo Anywhere Acquired by Marcou Transportation Group

We’re excited to announce that Limo Anywhere has been acquired by Marcou Transportation Group.

As the limousine industry has changed in recent years, Limo Anywhere has focused on advancing, modernizing, and extending our core product, while continually looking for opportunities to partner with large brands to improve our value proposition and favorably position you, our customer, within a rapidly evolving industry landscape.

Marcou Transportation Group owns many of the most successful brands in ground transportation, including Boston Coach, Dav El, and GroundLink. We believe Marcou is a perfectly suited partner to Limo Anywhere and our customers, and believe their deep industry expertise will be a significant asset as we continue to develop the Limo Anywhere product portfolio.

Under Marcou ownership, Limo Anywhere will continue to operate as a standalone service. However, this acquisition will also allow us to more aggressively execute on bringing industry-leading technology and service to you, our customers, while expanding our integration and capabilities set with many of the flagship Marcou brands.

Our team is available via phone and e-mail to answer any questions and discuss this exciting development further. We hope you’re as excited as we are for the future of Limo Anywhere!


 

3 tips for conducting an interview

A key component of the recruitment process is the formal interview. While this stage is usually handled by human resources or hiring managers in large operations, if your limousine or livery service is a small, family-run business, then the responsibility of interviewing new candidates will likely fall on your shoulders.

While it may seem like a straightforward process, conducting a truly effective interview is actually somewhat difficult. Some managers will enter an interview and then leave it without having gained any valuable insights into the candidate in front of them. It’s vital, therefore, to have a game plan in mind before you conduct the interview. There are a number of ways to brush up on and improve your interviewing skills.

Below is a quick guide of three tips for conducting a successful interview:

  1. Preparation is important
    Review the candidate’s resume in depth prior to the interview and also do some additional research online if possible. Check out his LinkedIn page and any business-related news stories you can find about him. Be careful not to explore too much on social media sites such as Facebook, however, as this kind of screening is still something of a legal gray area. From your research develop a set of questions that you think will be useful and relevant. For example, ask him what he enjoyed most about his prior job, and the kinds of destinations he drove to, or if he has any experience with limo software. The Wall Street Journal also advised that it’s a good idea to set up a time-frame or agenda. Have a rough idea of when the interview should be concluded. After all, both you and the candidate will likely have work or other commitments to get back to.

“Review the candidate’s resume in depth prior to the interview.”

  1. Create a friendly atmosphere
    You’ll likely learn more about your candidate if he feels comfortable and relaxed. It’s important, therefore, to hold the interview in a setting that is more conducive to relaxation, Robert Half explained. Perhaps choose a room with comfortable chairs, or an off-site location such as a coffee shop or local restaurant. According to Forbes, it’s also a good idea to start the interview with friendly questions that can help build a rapport. For example, ask the candidate how his journey over was, or where he grew up or went to school. It’s important to exercise caution here though. Certain lines of questioning could later prove to be legally problematic due to laws that protect characteristics such as age, race, gender and sexuality. So, for example, do not ask a candidate about his age or marital status.
There are a number of ways to improve the interview process.

There are a number of ways to improve the interview process.

 

  1. Make notes and listen
    This should be a no-brainer, but some interviewers spend much of the interview planning their next question in their head, or looking for potential faults with the candidate in front of them. As Forbes noted, it’s important to truly listen to a candidate’s response and ideally make notes. That way you’ll have a much clearer picture of the individual in front of you.  It’s also okay to let the conversation flow in an organic way. If the discussion veers off course, don’t try to bring it back on topic abruptly. To do so would be rude and counterproductive. Guide the conversation in a way that feels natural, but also try your hardest to ensure that you cover all the necessary points.


 

Background checks key to avoiding a bad hire

There are lots of things to consider when making a new hiring decision for your limo company: job advertisements, interviews, hiring contracts. The whole process can take a significant amount of time, money and effort, and this could pose a problem if you are looking to fill a position quickly. It’s often tempting, therefore, to ditch the background check stage.

But this could prove to be a poor decision for your company. If you skip the necessary background checks, you run the risk of making a bad hire, and such a move can be disastrous, not only for your operation’s bottom line, but also morale and reputation. Background checks, including a criminal background assessment, reference and educational background review are all necessary to ensure that you hire the very best candidates.

Below is a quick list of six reasons why a background check is key to avoiding a bad hire.

Saves you money
Depending on the size and scale of your limousine or livery operation, the cost of hiring a candidate who later proves to be unsuitable can run into the tens of thousands. According to Global HR Research, quoting a Career Builder survey, some 41 percent of employers have stated that making a bad hire had cost their organization over $25,000. Background checks significantly lower the risk of making a bad hire, saving your company money in the long run. With more money in the bank, your company will be able to invest in the very best technology like limo dispatch software.

“41% of employers said a bad hire cost them over $25,000”

Improves candidate quality
As Active Screening observed, conducting detailed background checks will ensure that you’re left with only the very best candidate pool to choose from. This is especially important in today’s competitive marketplace, where many candidates may be vying for your open position. In some cases, depending on the size of your operation, it could even be advisable to enlist the services of a staffing agency. Such organizations often have a vast professional network from which to source only the very best candidates for your open position.

Improves safety and security
Perhaps the most significant benefit of a universal background check is that it can improve the safety and security of your operation. As Hire Right explained, criminal background assessments and drug testing can highlight anything problematic in a candidate’s background. Opting to forego these screening measures increases the risk of hiring a potentially troublesome candidate, which in turn could pose a threat to the security of your business. Certainly, criminal background checks are incredibly vital for limousine and livery companies, because drivers will be interacting, often one-on-one, with customers. The safety of customers while in your care should be paramount, which is why opting out of a criminal background check can be a terrible decision.

Proves credentials
It’s necessary to check that the information presented on a candidate’s resume is accurate and up to date, Chron stated. It’s no surprise that many candidates embellish their credentials to land a position, so a detailed reference check can help confirm that what the candidate is presenting is actually true. Again, this is especially important given that you’re operating a limousine and livery business. All new drivers must have a license and experience. A credential background check can reveal whether a candidate has fabricated the extent of that experience.

Boosts employee retention
Hiring the right candidate for the job, with the help of background checks, can reduce the risk of a high employee turnover, Hire Right noted. With more knowledge about a candidate prior to making the hire, the less chance there is that you’ll want to let that candidate go in the future.

Decreases risk of lawsuits
As mentioned previously, your customers’ safety is in your hands from the moment they step into the limousine until the moment they step out. If your employee harms a customer in any way, either through negligence or criminal actions, you could be legally liable, Active Screening explained. That’s why it’s imperative to thoroughly check a candidate’s professional and criminal history before making a hiring decision.


 

5 tips for growing your limo business in 2016

In the digital age, platforms such as smartphone apps, software programs and the cloud have become integral to the success of any business, big or small. Technology is shifting and expanding at a rapid pace, and companies need to adapt to and embrace change if they want to remain relevant and successful.

Therefore, as we head further into 2016, it’s important to look at your limousine business and devise plans for improvement and growth. Consider expanding your online content marketing strategy for example, or developing a convenient smartphone app for your customers. Certainly, there are a number of ways to harness the power of technology to grow your limousine operations this year. Below is a quick guide to five of the most effective strategies:

Use software
Specialized software programs can help every aspect of your limo business, from dispatching drivers on assignments, to creating a comprehensive booking system for your website. Software platforms are making running a limo business considerably easier and it’s time to embrace the change – if you haven’t already! Consider the services of Limo Anywhere. Our software programs can help with almost every aspect of your business. Our dispatch software can be used to dispatch cars, manage your reservations, your payroll and your customer database. And our online booking software creates an easy online booking system for your customers to use.

Develop a smartphone app
Smartphone apps can be used for pretty much everything these days, from shopping to dating and even banking. We  are glued to our phones and they help manage almost every aspect of our lives. As a recent study from Pew Research Center revealed, a majority of Americans – some 64 percent – now own a smartphone. It should come as no surprise then that smartphone apps can help grow a business. Customers demand ease and convenience, so building an app for your limousine company that will allow your valued customers to make bookings and track reservations will boost the growth and success of your operations considerably.

Keep up with social media
In 2016, staying ahead of the game with social media marketing means doing more than just updating your company’s Facebook page. New social platforms are always emerging, and the preferences of your customer base will likely change. As Small Business Trends reported, platforms such as Snapchat and Periscope, for example, are now incredibly popular. Your company should stay on top of what social networks are hot and develop marketing strategies for each platform accordingly.

A multi-pronged approach to social media marketing that focuses on a number of sites is the best strategy, as different demographics tend to favor certain social media platforms. A survey from Jobcast found that Twitter is favored by young people – 45 percent of its user base is under 30 – while women prefer networks like Facebook and Pinterest. Pinterest is especially popular with women. The vast majority of its users – some 80 percent – are female!

Catering to smartphone users is an effective way to consolidate your customer base.

Catering to smartphone users is an effective way to consolidate your customer base.

Content is key
Content marketing is an effective way to attract new interest and retain a loyal customer base. A content marketing strategy typically involves the creation of a blog that covers articles on an array of topics pertinent to the interests of the customer base, as well as the industry. As Inc. noted, a content marketing strategy shouldn’t be limited to just writing a blog. Press releases, email campaigns and of course social media are all effective ways of keeping your customers informed and engaged.

Invest in customer relationships
Despite all the fantastic advances in technology, it’s important not to lose sight of the thing that matters most – the customer. But that’s not to say that technology can’t help you consolidate relationships with your customer base. Consider sending routine emails to your most valued customers, offering them unique deals or, better still, the occasional freebie! Special promotions can also be advertised on the company website and across social media, the Good Men Project detailed. The key is to keep customers feeling valued. If you focus your attention in this area, your business will likely grow.


 

3 hiring tips to get you through the busy holiday season

The holiday season is right around the corner, which means people all over the country are making their travel plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other seasonal get-togethers. For you and your company, it means that you’ll likely need to consider bringing on some additional help to ensure that you can keep up with the demand from all of the season’s festive travelers.

But when it comes to hiring, especially for an expected rush period, remember that quantity isn’t nearly as important as quality. You want to bring on the best candidates to help your business through the busy period, which can be difficult during the time of year when seasonal hiring is at an all-time high. Here are three tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your hiring strategy.

1) Be clear
There’s a simple formula: If you want applicants who are ready and able to take on the tasks working at your company would present to them, you need to ensure that they know what to expect. This means that you must craft your job postings to be as informative to potential new hires as possible.

It’s a common trend in the HR world to produce job listings that forego plain language and no-nonsense discussion of expectations for buzzword slinging and vague noncommittal discussion of your business’s mission statement. Fast Company noted that you should nix this type of talk for brass-tacks discussion of what exactly the role entails and how it fits in with the rest of the company. Remember that the role you’re trying to fill isn’t just about performing a set number of tasks, but rather about helping the organization as a whole meet its objectives. For that to happen, both you and your candidates need to be on the same page.

2) Look at more than just the resume
A candidate’s skills and experience are important, but they’re not the sole indicators of how well the person will perform on the job. In fact, in many instances, personal or cultural fit can be even stronger factors in whether a new hire sinks or swims. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine personality factors that could influence whether or not an applicant will be a good cultural fit, since unlike questions of experience, there aren’t simple answers. Instead, model your interview in such a way as to determine not just what a person has done, but how. A candidate’s motivations for performing given tasks can be just as enlightening as the tasks themselves.

3) Think outside the box
Did you know that more candidates are using social media for job-seeking purposes? That means that if you aren’t jumping on board with this new trend, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in terms of finding the best talent out there. It may feel awkward trying to recruit over sites like LinkedIn or even Twitter, but expanding into these new spaces is crucial for the success of your business in the online age.


 

Communication strategies for the limo business manager

Ever feel like you talk and no one listens at work? As the manager or owner of a limo company, this is not only incredibly frustrating, but it’s also detrimental to your business’ success. But before you blame your employees, consider whether the way you’re communicating is contributing to the problem. Sometimes it may not be that your staff was ignoring what you asked of them, but rather that they simply didn’t understand the expectations that you had.

To ensure that your business is as successful as possible, make sure that you’re communicating clearly with your employees while on the job.

Be direct and specific
As a manager, one of the most important ways you can increase the effectiveness of your communication with employees is to be direct and specific. According to Forbes magazine, vagueness is all too common in the workplace. If you need your employees to do something by the end of the day, don’t just ask them to do it when they have a chance. Tell them what the task is, how you want it done and give them the specific time you need it accomplished by. Being clear when you communicate will eliminate a lot of frustration for everyone involved.

Ask for a summary
If you aren’t sure that your employee understood what you said – or was even listening in the first place – ask him or her to give a summary of what you just said. That way you’ll be sure that your point was communicated and received effectively. This strategy works both ways. If an employee tells you something and you aren’t entirely sure you understood what he or she said, give a recap of the conversation and ask if what you said was accurate.

When you give an employee a task, make sure he or she fully understands the responsibility.

When you give an employee a task, make sure he or she fully understands the responsibility.

Don’t forget to listen 
While clear communication is important, so is listening. To be a good manager, you need to give your employees a voice as well. According to U.S. News & World Report, people are often too busy preparing their own response or interrupting to really listen to what the other person is saying. Give your staff the courtesy of listening well to their concerns and contributions and they will likely do the same when you speak.