Transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber are convenient, but as we touched upon in a previous entry, it is unusual that a TNC meets the safety and hospitality services of a chauffeured transportation company. This is partly because TNC regulations differ in each state.

Recently, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker filed legislation to regulate TNCs for better industry and consumer safety.  The stricter regulations call for consistent background checks of TNC employees and a regulatory framework through which states and municipalities can oversee TNCs. While this legislation is an improvement, it still approaches nowhere near the industry standards for chauffeured transportation companies like EmpireCLS.

At EmpireCLS, we take it upon ourselves to train our chauffeurs in the highest levels of hospitality and safety. It’s not because we’re required by the state to do so: we train our chauffeurs to offer five-star service because we believe our clients deserve nothing less than a memorable, safe transportation experience.

Before hiring any new staff member, we do fingerprint and social security number background checks in DMV, local and federal databases going back seven years. We also screen employees for drug and alcohol use and have a zero tolerance policy for driver impairment and illegal drug use. Furthermore, a clean background must be supplemented by passing a personality assessment test. We use this test to determine whether chauffeurs understand what it means to offer five-star service and treat you as our welcome guest.

Each chauffeur undergoes training through “EmpireCLS University,”our in-house training program built with the same customer service and hospitality standards as our five-diamond hotel partners. We teach our chauffeurs how to offer the level of customer service we call “chauffeured hospitality,” a standard that sets us apart from other transportation providers. In addition, chauffeurs learn about vehicle maintenance and safe driving techniques.

As a supplement to our own safe driving course, EmpireCLS uses the Smith System defensive driving standards. The Smith System is a defensive driving system used by Fortune 500 organizations to improve fleet performance and safety. We implement the “Smith 5 Keys” standards for chauffeurs to learn how to provide a smooth and comfortable ride while learning safe and defensive driving techniques. The 5 Keys are:

1. “Aim High in Steering”— Chauffeurs are taught to look further ahead down the road than other drivers so they see what’s coming and avoid any danger or obstacles more readily.
2. “Get the Big Picture”— Chauffeurs maintain a wide view of the road so that they are aware of dangers other drivers don’t see.
3. “Keep Your Eyes Moving”—Chauffeurs learn methods for staying attentive and alert.
4. “Leave Yourself an Out”—Chauffeurs learn to position their vehicle in traffic so that they can easily avoid collisions.
5. “Making Sure They See You”— Chauffeurs are trained to make their vehicle more visible to other drivers.

Drivers who know the Smith System, and know how to navigate traffic skillfully, are calmer and treat their vehicles with respect, creating a better experience for passengers overall.
Despite our thorough training, there are some qualities that can’t be taught. We attract individuals who are born with the crucial qualities that make a professional chauffeur. Our chauffeurs are innately passionate about service, dedicated to consistently exceeding our guests’ expectations and thoroughly reliable. These are qualities that can be neither taught nor feigned. Each time you travel with EmpireCLS, you’ll be chauffeured by someone who truly cares about your safety, comfort and luxury experience.

To stay in the know about how our ever-improving safety measures and levels of hospitality, stay up-to-date with this blog or visit the EmpireCLS website.

Photo Credit: Nate Steiner via flickr