By Nicole Chinea, CAPP

We all have heard the million-dollar question. Any guesses as to what it is? Give up? Okay, here it goes.

How many times have you been asked, “Exactly, what does a parking professional do?” When I first started in this industry, I went to extreme lengths to explain my passion for parking. This usually resulted in being deemed a meter maid.

Fast forward to 2018 and the evolution of the parking industry. Parking, I am proud to say, has become the poster child of customer service. No matter if you are a parking organization, private operator, consultant, or supplier, service is the base of everything we do. Vehicles are personal and prized possessions and we assume responsibility for them, which means we need to reach a high level of customer service. Gain trust. Go above and beyond.

We have seen it and read about it–the valet who not only opens the driver’s door but helps the mom of two unload the stroller and diaper bag. Or we hear about the city employee who not only provides directions to a visitor’s destination but personally escorts them there.

With each customer-service transaction I encounter (parking or not), my expectations increase. This is because parking people are setting the bar higher and higher for our industry and others. Our industry is proudly leading by example.  Parking is customer service.

Nicole Chinea, CAPP, is senior project manager at  Wantman Group, Inc. and can be reached at 713.353.0008 or