By Matt Penney, CAPP
“It is Dr. Freemont. I would appreciate you using my proper title each and every time you address me.”
Great. I had contacted “Dr. Freemont” about his daughter’s use of his faculty parking permit. In the original email, I addressed him by his first name. He was using that slight breach of etiquette to attempt to redirect the conversation. Maybe he was truly offended. Maybe he didn’t want me to realize that his other daughter was also using his wife’s faculty permit.
The lesson to take away from this specific exchange was to never presumptively start a written conversation with an individual’s first name. It was too easy to begin with a more formal title. Actually, the formal beginning really connected with professors, police officers, and those in the military.
From the hundreds of emails Baylor Parking Services receives each semester, several very practical guidelines have come together to improve communication. Eventually, in partnership with IPMI, I enjoyed the opportunity to present what we learned about the best ways to effectively email at several regional parking conferences and operations across the U.S.
With travel and face-to-face trainings on hold, IPMI wanted to get creative in how they provided support to their members. Frontline Fundamentals and other online training options were some of the first steps to adapt to this new normal.
With emails, IPMI saw the opportunity to provide direct modeling for parking agencies. What better way to demonstrate a concept than by working through an agency’s real-world customer interactions? It’s a little different but what in 2020 isn’t different?
For the next four months, IPMI members can send me actual emails for review, and I’ll return with a suggested roadmap for response. Simply send your emails to askMatt@Parking-Mobility.org
More information on the program and how the framework was developed can be found in the October issue of Parking and Mobility.
It’s an atypical training format in a year that has been anything but typical. It should be fun—you never know what people might say.
Matt Penney, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation services at Baylor University and an IPMI trainer.