Rome Airport and Port Transfers: 7 Differences between CHEAP and GREAT Service

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Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs, Rome’s Leading Company for Airport Transfers, Civitavecchia Transfers, Day Tours from Rome, and Shore Excursions from Italy’s main cruise ports.

When searching for a transfer online, you will find many sites and Google ads advertising cheapest prices, budget rates, lowest prices in town… usually accompanied by stock photos of new shiny Mercedes sedans and vans and well suited chauffeurs for a glamorous appearance of luxury at rock bottom prices.

Multiple websites offering unbeatable prices pop up left and right. They draw in budget minded travelers hoping to snag a good service on the cheap.

However, when further researching these companies’ reputation online you soon discover that their performance is not as stellar as their webpage presentation.  They often fail to deliver on their promises. And in the end you do get what you pay for.

This is often the case in Rome and elsewhere in Italy.  Competition for lower rates does not mean competition for the best quality of service.

To cut down prices to the bare minimum means cutting down quality of service, vehicles, drivers, reliability, and safety to meet bare minimum standards.

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Quality comes at a price. Quality cannot be had on the cheap.

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Newer and deluxe model vehicles cost more, regular vehicle maintenance done at industry standards service centers are pricey,  top of the line insurance policy to cover passengers is very expensive, the best possible drivers and office staff require fair wages. All these quality components add to the overall overhead expenses.  Quality and reliable service can be offered at good prices, not cheap.

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Companies that compete on quality and reliability of services are usually rated more favorably by their customers and have fewer complaints.

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In what ways do companies that provide GOOD vs CHEAP service differ and how does it affect their clients?

Here are some of the most common examples from years of experience in the transfer and tour industry in Italy.

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Rome Airport and Port Transfers: 7 Differences between CHEAP and GREAT Service

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1  QUALITY OF VEHICLES

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Stefano's RomeCabs  Transfers and Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers and Tours

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Higher quality vehicles  – GOOD!!  🙂

Companies that compete on quality usually have newer models of comfortable Mercedes or Opel European deluxe model vehicles in their fleet. These vehicles are more comfortable and more reliable. They are less likely to break down and wear out.  They also cost a pretty penny and also expensive to properly and regularly maintain at car service centers that specialize in Mercedes or Opel vehicles.  You also feel special traveling in a deluxe vehicle making your trip more special as well.

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Lower quality of vehicles are used when cutting corners — BAD!  😦

Companies that compete on prices usually use older vehicles, or inexpensive models like Renault, Fiat or Ford.  These vehicles are generally not as reliable as their newer deluxe counterparts, and cheaper to fix at local  mechanic shops. Rarely you find new shiny Mercedes sedans pictured on their website.

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2  VEHICLE MAINTENANCE AND BODY WORK

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Never compromise quality on vehicle maintenance and body work  – GOOD!  🙂

Properly and routinely maintaining the vehicles is not just a matter of vehicle reliability but safety as well.  When vehicles are taken to industry standard service centers for proper maintenance and repairs there is a higher level of reassurance that the vehicle is properly taken care of.

Not cutting corners on car parts, tires, maintenance and repairs cost more, however reliability and safety are priceless.

Properly maintaining the vehicle body and fixing common scratches and dents also adds to overall costs. Keeping a vehicle beautiful is not cheap.
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Cutting down on quality maintenance and body work  — BAD!  😦

Because vehicle maintenance and body work is expensive, to keep prices cheap maintenance is not always done regularly, the tires are not always the best, and vehicles are maintained at local inexpensive mechanics that don’t always guarantee their work like a reputable car service center would. This results in vehicles not fixed properly, breaking down more often, and not being entirely safe.

Body repairs to fix dents and scratches are often overlooked in order to cut on expenses.

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3  QUALITY OF DRIVERS

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Stefano's RomeCabs Transfers and Tours in Rome

Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers and Tours in Rome

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Quality of drivers also comes at a price. – GOOD!!  🙂

Companies that compete on quality look for and hire the best, most experienced, safe, reliable, professional, dedicated and customer oriented drivers available.   As in any industry, the greater the experience and quality of performance,  the higher the salary compensation  – which is fair.

It takes more than just obtaining a chauffeur license to be a good driver worthy of a company that competes on quality. The higher calibre of chauffeurs also demand a higher pay for their experience, efforts and dedication to quality of service.

As a traveler and passenger you expect a driver to be on time, presentable, helpful, have a pleasant personality, and most of all be a careful and safe driver.

Unfortunately these are qualities not shared among all professionally licensed drivers, therefore careful selection of drivers is very important when competing on quality of service.
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Lower quality of drivers — BAD!!  😦

Anyone can be a professional driver if they obtain a special license. But the license alone doesn’t guarantee great drivers that meet all the high demands of a company focused on quality.

One of the many ways companies that offer cheap prices cut corners is hiring inexperienced drivers, or any drivers willing to work for little pay.  Afterall, if they charge little for services, they also pay their drivers very little.

To earn a livable wage, these drivers have to work very long hours of continuous back to back services that render them too exhausted to safely perform their duties. Exhausted drivers are also not safe or reliable drivers. In the end the clients pay the price of having underperforming and tired drivers.  In the long run these drivers’ performance drops because as in any profession if someone feels is being underpaid and over worked, they compensate by underperforming. Driver turnover is also high in these companies.

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4  RELIABLE OFFICE STAFF

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Professional, knowledgeable and reliable office staff  – GOOD!!   🙂

Before clients meet their drivers, their first encounter is with the office staff either via email or booking a service.

The office staff are also the first impression potential clients have  about a company: are their emails responded professionally and requested information provided, are their bookings confirmed accurately and in a timely manner, are their services dispatched correctly? Cusotmer service is very important when competing on quality.

Finding professional and reliable office staff is as huge a challenge as finding equally professional and reliable drivers.  Careless oversights, failure to pay attention to details, unprofessional responses can lead to customer dissatisfaction and failure to provide the services required.

Training office staff is also a long term expense and investment for a company dedicated to quality customer service.  Reliable and dedicated office staff also requires a fair wage and compensation for their efforts of providing clients with quality customer care.
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Less professional or reliable office staff – BAD!!  😦

Another way to cut corners when offering cheap prices is to hire office staff willing to work for less.

Underpaid office staff are not nearly as enthusiastic or diligent in their duties as their equivalent who are paid a fair wage for their important office duties.  Their morale and level of dedication are low.

As a result, emails are not answered in time, little effort is put into customer service, and bookings get lost or not dispatched correctly. Consequently clients are left frustrated and waiting for email replies or left stranded altogether.

Absenteeism, turnover rates and employee disloyalty is high among these cheap priced companies which in the end harm their clients and reputation.

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5  PROPERLY SCHEDULING SERVICES

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Properly scheduled services, no mass overbooking – GOOD!! 🙂

Scheduling transfers with ample time in between each service to accommodate potential traffic and airport delays is very important when a company is focused on quality and timely service.

Unforeseen delays can happen at any time and to anyone.  By scheduling transfers with enough time in between each one ensures drivers are not obliged to rush from one place to another (often with clients in the car), arrive late for pre-scheduled pick ups, or not show up at all.

This also means booking less transfers in a day so each client and each individual service is well taken care of – which runs counter to those who are more focused on mass transfers and routinely schedule too many services to make up for charging cheap prices.

Companies focused on quality understand that overbooking results in disappointments when services are not provided on time, drivers are rushed and stressed, or services not provided at all due to delays compounded over the course of the day.
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Overbooking transfers to compensate for cheap prices — BAD! 😦

In order to be able to survive offering cheap prices companies need to make money by providing as many transfers in as little time as possible. It becomes a mass transfer service.

Transfers are scheduled with minimal time in between and and often overbooked to squeeze in  as many in a day as possible with little regard to risks involved.

The problem with that is that delays happen. Flights are late. Luggage delivery is delayed. Clients’ baggage is lost and they need more time to file paperwork.  Traffic in large cities like Rome is an ever present problem.  By over scheduling transfers with insufficient time between each service to accommodate common delays, many services end up provided late or not at all when drivers are so far behind they miss services altogether.

This leaves their clients late catching their flight or cruise ship, or left stranded altogether and desperately trying to find a last minute alternative transportation.

The one thing all the desperate travelers and cruisers who called us needing urgent help with transfers after they were left stranded and no one answered their calls had in common is they booked with budget websites offering cheap prices.  Many if not most of these travelers overlooked the spotty reputation of these companies hoping that what happened to others won’t happen to them. That’s a costly risk not worth taking when in a foreign country and you have a cruise or a flight to catch.
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6  LIABILITY INSURANCE

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Not skimping on liability insurance means passengers are well covered – GOOD! 🙂

Companies dedicated to quality service understand the value of buying the best and the top of the line insurance policies that will best cover their passengers in case of emergency.

Insurance in Italy is quite expensive, however, this should not be considered a luxury or something to cut corners on.  A company that cares about its clients, passengers, and drivers don’t skimp on liability insurance.
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Bare minimum liability insurance.  – BAD! 😦

Because liability insurance is expensive, in order to cut corner, companies that offer cheap prices have little choice but to buy minimal insurance that barely covers damages to passengers.

With skeletal insurance policies, passengers are not covered should an emergency occur causing them huge personal losses that will not be properly covered by insurance and never recuperate from the company itself.

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7  PUTTING THE CLIENT FIRST

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Quality driven companies put the CARE in Customer Care. – GOOD! 🙂

A strong and continuous focus on CARE in Customer Care and putting the client first is a key element at all companies that compete on quality.

This means that the clients’ needs and satisfaction are always top priority. It means going the extra mile even if not necessary. It means following up with the clients to ensure their service was provided satisfactorily. It means doing right by the clients when things go wrong.

It means doing all of the things mentioned above carefully in order to make their clients’ experience and service superior.

It means CARING about the clients and always making them Top Priority.

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Price oriented companies are more bottom line driven and profit at all cost. – BAD! 😦

All companies need to make money to survive.

Just because a company charges cheap prices doesn’t mean they make LESS money.

It means they cut corners as much as possible, and squeeze in as many services as possible in order to make reasonable profit.

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And just because a company charges more it doesn’t mean they make MORE money.

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As outlined above, providing continuous quality service comes at a price because quality costs more.

When quantity matters more than quality,  the level of customer care is compromised.  It’s not possible to put clients first when creating an environment where customer service is not prioritized and often compromised.

It’s not possible to go the extra mile and accommodate clients whose flight is late or luggage is delayed when overbooked in order to pack in as many services in a day to draw a reasonable profit.

It’s not possible to promise on time service when scheduling transfers so close that sooner or later on time service is no longer attainable.

It’s not possible to provide clients with the best drivers when the low pay only attracts those who would not make the cut at companies that focus on quality.

Overall, it’s not possible to provide continuous quality service and putting clients first while cutting corners at every turn.

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Quality comes with a price, and in the end you often you do get what you pay for.  Further, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind knowing you’re in the good hands of a reputable company dedicated to your satisfaction.

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When you have a flight or ship to catch,, is it worth saving a few Dollars or Euros and take a chance with a company that has cheap prices but a spotty reputation?  If things don’t go as planned it’s far more expensive missing your flight or ship.

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ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TIPS and ADVICE from our sister blogs:

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How NOT to Become a Victim of Airport Transfer Scams and Impostor Websites in Rome

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How to get from Fiumicino to Civitavecchia in 3 easy steps:

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10 Important Things to Remember when booking Rome Airport and Civitavecchia Transfers

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5 Ways to book the Perfect Airport Transfer in Rome

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Should I book my transfers and tours in advance? 6 Reasons why you should

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Thank you for stopping by and be sure to visit our website for quality and reliable Airport Transfers, Civitavecchia Transfers, Day Tours and Shore Excursions in Italy

Best wishes from Rome,

Stefano’s RomeCabs Team

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Stefano's RomeCabs www.RomeCabs.com Airport Transfers, Civitavecchia Transfers

Stefano’s RomeCabs

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