By Alex Smith, AAE

Customers are the lifeblood of the parking industry, but how do you as an operator know they are satisfied, find value in your product, or have specific issues with your facility? Metrics are an integral part of a successful parking operation, but how your customers perceive your operation is paramount. There are a multitude of tools to measure customer perception:

  • Secret shopper programs. A secret shopper program will send unidentifiable individuals to a contracted business site to measure and quantify the levels of service, various attributes related to staff, and other benchmarks a business wishes to measure. They are a valuable tool as the shoppers blend in with other customers, allowing the company to get a realistic sense of what the customer experiences.
  • Customer surveys. Customer surveys are a flexible way for a business to not only measure customer perception and experiences, but  also draw responses from a broad population to get statistically significant measurements. This allows the company to better gauge of what is actually occurring rather than relying on the subjective nature of one secret shopper. Furthermore, customer surveys can be a great opportunity for a parking operator to reward its customers for their loyalty by offering coupons for completing a survey.

These examples are only a sliver of a very complicated science. At the end of the day, an effective measurement program will help champion a customer-centric parking operation!

Alex Smith, AAE, is operations manager with the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.