‘Making the customers happy is what we’re all about’
One way to keep customers happy and coming back is to treat them the same way you would like to be treated.
That is the top priority of Executive Express, an airport shuttle and transportation service that recently relocated to Waite Park.
“Customer comfort and security are very important to us,” said Executive Express owner Larry Logeman. “Taking a trip can be stressful, and we want to do whatever we can to relieve as much of their stress as we can.”
Executive Express recently constructed a large, modern facility on 15 acres of land in Waite Park that includes a headquarters, transit center, maintenance center and customer lounge.
When Logeman purchased Executive Express 13 years ago, the company was based in St. Cloud and made only five runs a day to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; all during daylight hours.
“We had only five vehicles then,” he recalled. “They were 15-passenger church vans. It was much harder back then for our customers and for our office staff to arrange a time to take them to the airport because there were three-hour gaps in between each run. That wasn’t conducive to good customer service.”
Executive Express, which has 120 employees, including 85 drivers, currently makes 18 round-trips a day to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
“With this many runs now, it’s much better for everyone,” Logeman said. “We make runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We never close.”
The corporate headquarters for Executive Express is based in Waite Park, with branch offices located in Baxter, Alexandria and Ames, Iowa.
The number of customers utilizing the services offered by Executive Express continues to climb yearly. Four years ago, approximately 60,000 used their service. Last year, that number rose to over 100,000.
“I am pleased to know that Executive Express is interested in maintaining excellent customer service,” said Linda Frisell. “I have used their services for many years getting to and from the airport comfortably and efficiently. They have an excellent corps of safe and friendly drivers that are enjoyable to work with, even once during a difficult snowstorm.”
Another major step Executive Express is undertaking with customers in mind is the convenience, comfort and security of its new state-of-the-art facility in Waite Park.
The facility will include a modern customer lounge and transit center in which customers can relax, have a complimentary cup of coffee and read a newspaper while waiting to be taken to the airport.
“Our goal is to alleviate the stress from those planning to travel,” said Logeman.
“We serve over 40 Central Minnesota cities. Our drivers take care of our customers’ luggage, so all they have to do is get into our vehicle. When they arrive, they park under a transit hub to protect them from the wind, rain and snow.”
Vending machines and clean restrooms are also available in the customer lounge.
A large, secure and safe parking area with a high-tech, 24-hour surveillance video and alarm system has also been built.
“If a customer drove their own vehicle here, they can leave it in a secure and well-lit parking lot while they are away,” explained Logeman. “That way, they don’t have to pay to park at the airport or drive into the Cities. They can just relax and enjoy their trip, knowing their vehicle is safe and sound here. When we bring the customer back from the airport, they can just get into their vehicle and drive home.”
Customers are transported by one of the 85 well-trained drivers that Executive Express employs.
“With customer service being so important to us, we naturally want the best drivers we can get,” said Logeman. “When they come here, they are asked if they like driving in the snow. If that’s not something they are happy doing, then they shouldn’t apply here. If they have a bad driving record, they shouldn’t apply. Or if they are uncomfortable driving in the Cities or in a construction zone, there is no need to apply.”
For those selected for an interview, they are required to take an “interview run” to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport with one of the Executive Express employees. During the trip, the would-be applicant learns more about the company and what is expected from them as a driver.
If they are still interested in the job after the run, they can apply for the job and will then undergo a “sit-down” interview.
And it’s that same extensive training and informational method that customers benefit from.
“We recently had great service on a personal charter to and from the Minneapolis airport for a family vacation,” said Cindy Dockendorf. “Our driver was very professional and courteous. And they were also very helpful in making arrangements and putting up with my many calls and emails. They have great employees.”
Executive Express has a fleet of 55 vehicles that are designed with the customer’s comfort in mind. Those vehicles range from a sedan, to shuttle vehicles with various seating capacities, to coach buses.
“We stress a thing here that we like to call ‘transportation relaxation,’ meaning we want every employee to be thinking at all times how they can make a customer relaxed,” said Logeman. “The biggest compliment we can get is if a customer falls asleep.”
Executive Express offers smoke-free vehicles, home and office pick-ups and drop-offs in select cities, pets allowed with some restrictions (call for details), and even free trips through their travel rewards program.
“I want to express how wonderful our ride home was from the airport,” said Alice Harmon. “We had one driver from the airport to St. Cloud and another from St. Cloud to home. They were both wonderful at helping us. The driver to our home helped us get our baggage into our house. He was also so thoughtful with our infirmities. He enjoyed visiting on the way with my husband who sat in the front with him. It was good for my husband, as things are really slowing down for him, and the gentle conversation was so good for him.”
Executive Express is more than just an airport shuttle system. It also offers private charters, employee transportation service, and same-day delivery service.
“Private charters might be something like a trip to a Twins game, a wedding, a mission trip, a trip to a winery, or a reunion,” Logeman said. “We want to provide a safe and relaxing trip for important occasions.”
Employee transportation is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. Employees meet at a designated area and are then transported to and from work by an Executive Express driver, allowing a customer to avoid driving in congested traffic and eliminating a need to find parking availability.
The same-day delivery service is provided to 40 cities across Minnesota. Businesses take advantage of the various Executive Express shuttle routes in order to alleviate costs when they want to expedite a package or product to one of its clients.
“We also have been delivering blood for the Red Cross for years,” Logeman noted. “Our same-day delivery service also includes things like delivering lost luggage or prescription delivery service for organized senior living facilities.”
Executive Express is also upgrading on the technical end.
“Another big part of our growth is technology,” Logeman said. “All our drivers now have tablets in their vehicles with customer data instead of paper. We also have a state-of-the art telephone system with three operators, including one for evening reservations. Or they can make a reservation online.”
Executive Express, which will mark its 40th anniversary next year, was named the 2015 St. Cloud Small Business of the Year.
“I am always looking for suggestions to make improvements from our customers,” he said. “We want to have the things here that will best serve a customer. And by getting input from them, we can continue to do just that. Making the customers happy is what we’re about here.”
For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.executiveexpress.biz or call 320-253-2226 (toll free 888-522-9899).