Changing the Culture of Parking Patrons

By Keith Kennedy, CAPP

After the course of many years and a consistent way of doing business, accepting changes can be challenging. The steadfast culture of how things are perceived  or how they “should be” is a roadblock that must be taken down. As new technologies come into play, organizations have to think about how they can help their patrons accept the cultural change that is happening.

My organization moved to more automated parking. This brought the need to see it from the patrons’ point of view. The culture that had been “stop at the booth and give the attendant money and exit” totally changed. The change will propel our organization into a much more flexible and efficient operation, but how do we change that old culture among our customers?

We understood that some patrons are not technology savvy and they were very used to the way things were. So, how could we help the patrons? What could we use that would add value and change that old culture? We simply used what we already had: great employees who already knew the customers. We repurposed our booth attendants to be true parking ambassadors, teaching and helping the patrons as they are experiencing the new culture of the parking. A new way of thinking helped everyone succeed with change.

Keith Kennedy, CAPP, is parking operations supervisor with the City of Durham, N.C.