Tag Archives: customer service

IPMI Webinar: The CCPA and State Efforts to Protect Consumer Privacy: What the Parking Industry Should Know

Live Online Webcast: Free for CPPA and IPMI Members $25.00 for Non-members

The California Public Parking Association (CPPA) in partnership with IPMI is hosting this presentation that will review the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 and various state efforts to protect the privacy of its citizens, including:

  • An overview of common privacy threats and legal landscape:  Shooting at a moving target
  • The intersection of expanding customer expectations and legal obligations
  • Discussion of what makes an information security/privacy program “defensible”?
  • The ROI for investing time and resources in an information security/privacy program
  • Effective strategizing for moving to the next level of cybersecurity and privacy protection

Objectives:

  • Understand the changing legal landscape related to consumer privacy and the likely legal changes on the horizon;
  • What efforts that they can engage in now to both prepare to meet their specific legal obligations and to implement information security/privacy program “best practices” in their organizations; and
  • Which internal and external resources (e.g., data privacy officers, outside counsel, information security experts) can help them right-size their efforts regarding a fast changing area of the law.

Presenters:

Sue Friedburg is the co-chair of Buchanan’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Group.  Sue advises clients about the rapidly evolving standards of care for safeguarding confidential information and responding effectively to security incidents that threaten to compromise our client’s valuable or protected information.  Sue has extensive experience advising clients on the fast-changing world of consumer privacy laws at the federal and state level.

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Holland regularly advises clients from all business sectors on the impact of consumer privacy laws and legislation that continue to be a hot topic across the United States.  Bringing his experience to businesses offering a variety of products and services, Rob helps them address the sometimes thorny implementation issues related to the laws.  No two businesses are the same, and Rob brings that recognition to help each business craft a unique approach to protect their customers and their reputations.

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Wrona is a legal veteran to the parking industry, having served as counsel to a number of public and private parking operators and related businesses.  Notably, Jason has served as the outside counsel to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority for more than 10 years.  He has a deep understanding of all facets of the parking industry and is proud to be counted as a “parking nerd.”

Customer Service the Disney Way

“Remember that once you train people how to be professional, you’ve improved their lives. When you become great, it affects your children and grandchildren and on down the line. It becomes your legacy.” So says Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of The Walt Disney Company, also known as the guy behind much of Disney’s legendary customer-service strategy. It’s part of one of his 39 rules of outstanding customer service: Great service follows the law of gravity, which he says breaks down perfectly for parking.

Disney customer service is the gold standard, and Cockerell, who’s authored several books, runs the Creating Disney Magic podcast, and travels the world teaching others about creating a top-notch service culture (including to the Disney Institute), has great, actionable insight on how the Disney philosophy translates to parking and mobility–and it’s all in The Parking Professional  this month. Read it here, share it with you colleagues, and let us know in the comments: What’s your favorite tidbit?

Bringing It All Together

Creating a sense of community through parking.

19-06 Article Bringing it togetherBy Brittany Moore

AS A POSITIVE PERSON WITH A MARKETING BACKGROUND, it was initially difficult to step into a role with parking. Sure, I enjoy a challenge, but the negative connotation surrounding parking weighed heavily. There was lit­tle public support, morale was low, and communication was lacking between departments, community stakeholders, and event venues.

I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of my marketing practices into parking. I try to look at things in municipal government, parking included, through the eyes of the customer. This does not mean giving the customer whatever he or she wants and never saying no, but it does means aiming focus to­ward customers—their needs, feedback, and overall experience. Losing sight of the customer is doing a disservice not only to the customer, but to your operation as well. Now, let’s be real, in the parking business you are not going to make everyone happy, but small steps in the right direction sure take a lot of stress out of the day-to-day.

The City of Greenville, S.C., has 11 garages, four surface lots, and 800 on-street parking spaces, totaling close to 9,000 spaces. Many of the facilities are tied to development projects in the form of hotels, office complexes, event venues, residences, restau­rants, and retail. Here are a few tips from Greenville to connect with the community through parking:
You have no idea how tattered these look until you replace them. It is an easy fix that makes garages look cleaner, is highly visible, and that people notice.

Small Touches Matter
Small details make all the difference to customers as they walk to and from their vehicles. Painting elevator walls and landings is a simple wayfinding technique that also brightens the garage. We took it a step further and applied an epoxy paint with speckled flakes to landing floors. It took a few tries to get this right, but our maintenance team found the perfect color combo that hides stains and gives the garage that polished look. That paired with clean, new signage and tiled ele­vator flooring make the areas more approachable.
We started making these changes, and, much to our surprise, customers noticed. We partnered with local high schools to hang student artwork in one of our garages; it serves as not only a focal point but as part of the overall wayfinding package. We were awarded an IPMI award for this project in 2015.

Another garage has wind chimes hanging in an adjacent breezeway that provide a relaxing cadence on the walk to work. Local maps are hung in each ga­rage that detail public restrooms, ATMs, and major landmarks. These maps are in frames with printed inserts that allow changes to be made easily and afford-ably as our city grows. Another simple replacement that truly made a difference involved trash cans and clearance-height bars. I’ve come quite a way in my short parking career—now I get excited to order both! You have no idea how tattered these look until you replace them. It is an easy fix that makes garages look cleaner, is highly visible, and that people notice.

Taking Ownership
Our employees are ambassadors for our city, and we urge them to take pride in that role as well as in their workspaces. The city has full-time maintenance em­ployees who are each assigned to two garages. They are in charge of cleaning, minor repairs, lighting, painting, sweeping, and removing trash. We encourage them to get to know those parking in our garages. This has helped to reduce calls to our office, and customers seem pleased with the garage aesthetics.
Employees are praised for going the extra mile— helping a customer in need, even if that means carrying a box a block away to someone’s office. When hiring, make a concerted effort to build a team that shares your philosophies and goals. If you are lucky enough to find a group that wants to put in the extra effort, take on special projects, and make customers happy, hold on and don’t let go! More importantly, when they take the time to go the extra mile—for example, come in early to paint an entire stairwell top to bottom at the request of a hotel—you as a manager need to take the time to admire the work and praise all involved.

Building Community Relationships
The importance of building community relationships cannot be stressed enough and has been one of the keys to Greenville parking’s operational success. We meet regularly with downtown merchants, hotel and concert venue staff, and homeowners associations. These meetings take place in various forms: face-to-­face, phone calls, emails, board meetings, and lunches. Building these relationships keeps our operation run­ning efficiently with fewer headaches.
We make sure stakeholders know when we are performing any maintenance work in the garages, whether sweeping, blowing, lighting repair, touch-up painting, or pressure washing, not only because we want them to be informed but because we want them to know the garage they use every day receives just as much attention as the next. More importantly, they know who to call with any concerns before elevating it to a higher level.
We ask for input on paint colors, signage wording, and cleaning schedules. We ask for suggestions and share our goals with them. Quick and effective commu­nication makes all the difference. Greenville continues to be generous with parking specials to thank our cus­tomers and encourage downtown visitors. Every week­end, parking in our 900-space garage and in on-street spaces is free. We offer free parking specials for major holidays citywide. This is a perk that comes with great support and input from our downtown businesses and visitors. Programs such as these, along with other ef­forts, have really helped shape the image of parking in Greenville (outside of enforcement, of course).

Signage

It only took a few months in my role to see the low-hanging aesthetic fruit in our garages. I often heard that the garages were confusing and drab and not user-friendly. Our monthly parkers could navigate the garages, but guests were lost. Having six hotels and more than a dozen residential complexes attached to the garages meant working toward a better solution. That became top priority.

Our sign campaign began with an inventory of current signage and a list of desired signage. This turned into quite a large project involving the city’s public information team, but it produced great results. Fresh signs were strategically placed for pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and we added sig­nage in elevators and stairwells, including maps on the ground levels. All of this reduced confusion, and we started to get those (rare) parking compliments. With 11 garages this is an ongoing project, but we are well on our way.
The most important thing to note when starting a project like this is to stay organized. Be prepared to meet, take pictures, keep a tape measure at close reach (so important—those signs look much smaller when looking up at them from the ground), spend lots of time in your garages, and add more signs even after you thought you were finished. It is no easy task, and to be successful requires a fresh set of eyes. Have someone who’s not a frequent parker walk and then drive the garages with you. Let that person point out what you may be missing. After your signs are in place, keep an eye on them and make sure your staff does too. Do not be surprised if that sign in the elevator only lasts two months before it needs to be replaced. Be smart and save yourself some time by ordering in advance spares of the small signs that might be more prone to damage.

 

Customer Service

You always hear it, but any organization is a reflection of its employees. An employee’s attitude, determination, and demeanor all translate to his or her work. It is important to take the time to invest in, encourage and get to know your employees, especially those in customer-facing positions. It all starts with hiring the right people and giving them the tools to succeed in this business.
I am a firm believer that mistakes are inevitable, but you must use them as an opportunity to learn. I am not afraid to admit that we should have done something differently and to make adjustments after the fact, but I will support employees if they were doing what they felt was right.
We offer a wide range and many types of training. The most effective seems to be discussing real scenar­ios with employees and how they handled or would handle each situation. Sometimes this means analyz­ing phone calls, event operations, and field decisions. Mostly, we try to take advantage of group training sce­narios, but we take time for one-on-one trainings if the need arises.

Training should be positive, informative, and concise. Get your point across, address the tone and dialogue, ask for feedback, and offer advice. Engage the employee in the training to ensure you are making progress. Ultimately, you want to get to a point that you trust your employees to carry on your customer-service mentality when you are no longer in the room. This takes time and requires a lot of attention.

I have found sometimes a pat on the back (and may­be a lunch) is the best motivation you can offer. Feeling appreciated goes a long way—it is something we as managers need to be reminded of because with cus­tomer service you should always be striving for more. Complacency is unacceptable.

So there you have it: Make the extra effort, build those relationships, provide exceptional customer service, and pay attention to the details. But also take the time to invest in your employees and get involved in your operation. Remember, it is all what you make it.

Read the article here.

BRITTANY MOORE is Assistant general  with the City of Greenville, S.C. She can be reached at bmoore@greenvillesc.gov

PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG / JUNE 2019 / PARKING & MOBILITY 51

Hit By the Bus—and Smiling

IPMI Blog bus imageBy David M. Feehan

I read with a smile Kim Fernandez’s story about her stupid furnace and brand loyalty. It made me recall an incident that occurred just before Christmas.

I was on my way to visit my son and his family in Brooklyn. It was a lousy night for driving from D.C.—rainy, foggy, and bone-chilling. I had just pulled off the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and onto the BQE (the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), exited at the Fort Hamilton off ramp, and was preparing to turn right on 65th Street. While waiting at stop light, I suddenly felt a bump. I looked to my left and there was an MTA city bus, trying to squeeze between my Jeep and another car.

I started honking and flashing my brights and the bus driver pulled over to the curb. The young driver got out, came around to my driver’s side window, and asked if anyone was injured. I told him I thought it was a minor collision and he looked at the side of my Jeep and then told me he would call his supervisor but it might be awhile before anyone would come. Wanting to make sure I had a record of the accident, I called New York City Police, who promised to send a squad.

Within about 20 minutes, two MTA supervisors arrived. They were very friendly and courteous. One, noticing my Maryland plates, remarked about the Nationals winning the World Series. Before long, we were discussing the 1969 Amazin’ Mets and the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. After the supervisor took a number of photos with his cell phone, he explained how I could file a claim and gave me a form with instructions and a number to call. By the time police arrived, we had pretty well settled the issue.

When I returned to Maryland, I found I already had two mailings from MTA with the forms I needed and the instructions for filing a claim. I then received a call from Dominick, a representative of MTA’s legal department, who wanted to check and see if I received the forms and again walked me through the process of filing a claim.

All’s well that ends well. I took the Jeep to my neighborhood body shop, where the owner rubbed out the scratches with some rubbing compound. No harm, no foul.

Who said transit agencies are by nature rude and impossible to deal with? New York’s MTA set an example for other transit and parking systems. There is a lesson here for any public agency, whether transit or parking. Encounters like these can build loyalty or animosity. Your choice.

David M. Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.

Two Plain Hamburgers. No Fries.

tpp-2016-05-two-plain-hamburgers-no-friesby Cindy Campbell

Very few of us have ever received specific training on effective listening. My first formal course on the topic came in a workshop about Steven Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Covey talks about listening skills, or more appropriately, the lack thereof. One of the points made about his fifth habit—seek first to understand, then to be understood—rang true with me: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Why do we do this? Were we taught in our formative years to ignore message content? Perhaps not explicitly, but in some ways I suppose we were. For the sake of efficiency or expedience, we learned to listen for key words and to anticipate phrases so that we could reply quickly.

As adults, we filter everything we hear through our own life experience and previous knowledge. Sometimes in our haste—certainly more often than we realize—we draw the wrong conclusions, completely missing what someone is really trying to tell us. When this occurs in our business dealings, we risk being perceived as uncaring, disinterested, or even mechanical in our responses. In an industry in which the public’s perception can be critical to our success, leaving customers with a bad impression
can prove to be costly on many levels.

No Fries
In line at a fast-food place (don’t judge me), I recently overheard a conversation that illustrates Covey’s assessment of the importance of listening.

“How are you today?” asked the employee. “Would you care to try one of our new menu items?”
“No, thank you,” came the reply. “I’d like two plain hamburgers and nothing else. To go.”
“Would you like anything to drink?”
“No, no drink. Just the burgers.”
“Okay. Would you like anything else?”
“No. Nothing else.”
“OK, so that’s one hamburger …”
“No, I’d like two hamburgers.”
“OK, so two hamburgers. Would you like any fries?”
“No fries. Just two plain hamburgers. That’s it. To go.”
“So two plain hamburgers, no fries. And, I’m sorry, what did you say you wanted to drink?”
“No drink.”
“OK, will that be for here or to go?”

As I stood there, I could feel the tension radiating from the customer trying to order his meal. I wondered how long it would be before he ventured back in for another hamburger.

Listening
Now, I recognize that we don’t sell fast food, but the lesson from this observation still applies. In the parking industry, our product is a combination of services and access accompanied by a healthy dose of problem-solving and chaos prevention. Customers
don’t always fully understand or appreciate our services. Often, they can be unpleasant and difficult to assist and yet despite their attitudes and the lack of respect they may exhibit toward us, we must still provide them with an attitude of service. Pretending to listen or only listening selectively is not providing service. It’s withholding service.

As industry leaders, we must recognize that active listening plays a vital role in how we are perceived. To be successful, we must instill the attitudes and aptitudes for active listening within our organization. Active, in-the-moment listening conveys significant proof of genuine care about what the speaker is saying, thinking, or feeling. It isn’t necessary to agree with or even to understand everything that is being said; we simply have to set aside our preconceived ideas about what’s coming next and try to understand someone else’s point of view.

One last thought on the importance of active listening: Good listening skills can improve relationships beyond the office. Listening effectively can bring understanding and cooperation to our interactions with our friends, our family, and especially our significant others and our children. We owe it to ourselves and to those important to us to be fully present and listen carefully.

CINDY CAMPBELL is IPI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite training and professional development and can be reached at  campbell@parking.org.

TPP-2016-05-Two Hamburgers. No Fries.

Wait, My Customers Said What?

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.

 

Wow Your Customers

tpp-2016-04-wow-your-customersBy Dennis Snow

Three keys for delivering great service. 

The term “customer service” evokes different images in people’s minds. One image could be that of friendly, smiling, helpful employees who go out of their way to serve you. Or it could be the opposite—indifferent, unfriendly employees who can’t wait for you to leave or hang up the phone.

Most people can recall many examples of poor customer service. Whether it’s the help desk employee who puts you on
hold for 20 minutes or the store cashier who engages in a personal conversation instead of ringing up your purchase, poor
customer service can make people feel frustrated and vow never to do business with that company again.

On the other hand, great service feels like a gift. It makes us want to continue to do business with an organization for the long haul. And that alone is the secret to business success—retaining customers by providing great customer service. With so much competition out there, customer loyalty is the single most important attribute your business can have. You achieve loyalty by doing the little things that make customers want to deal with you again and again and recommend you to their friends. The real difference is how a business makes its customers feel. If customers feel valued, most will remain loyal. If they feel under-valued, sooner or later, they will defect to a competitor.

Why They Leave
Several reasons exist for why customers defect from a company. They may move away, a competitor may lure them away, or they may leave because they are unhappy with the product. However, a recent study found that a whopping 68 percent of customers who defect do so because of poor service. That’s a sobering statistic. The study further noted how customers defined poor service: “an attitude of indifference on the part of employees.” So while bad service certainly causes customers to leave, indifferent service can be just as detrimental.

Nurturing Loyalty
With two out of every three customers citing poor customer service as a reason for leaving, what can your company do to achieve customer loyalty? Assuming your products and prices are competitive, you need to focus on providing superior customer service. To do that, here are three simple steps to help you make sure your customers stay with your company:

1. Look through the lens of the customer.
No matter what industry you’re in, chances are that you interact with customers at some level. Realize that customers can be drivers who want to park their cars, shoppers at a store, patrons at a bank, patients of a doctor, clients of a law firm, etc. Because customers have their choice of where to obtain goods or services, the business has to convince the customer that it truly cares. An engaged, caring employee raises the customer’s confidence that the business is looking out for the customer’s interests. When that employee suggests a new product or service, the customer trusts that his or her best interest is at heart. On the flip side, if the customer senses a lack of caring, he or she will question the motives behind any recommendations.

Every business has its jargon, so be careful to speak in a language customers understand. Successful businesses speak the language of the customer, not the language of their own industry. Take, for example, the banking industry. Would a young couple buying their first house be looking through the same lens as a customer who buys and sells real estate for a living? Of course not. That young couple purchasing their first house is excited and nervous—that is the lens with which they are experiencing this purchase. Therefore, they need loan officers who are excited for them, who explain the terms in everyday language, and
who provide information that will make their buying experience easier. A bank that shows that level of care is likely to earn that young couple’s ongoing business.

The same applies for customer complaints, which can be frustrating for customers and employees alike. As employees, we often can’t understand why a customer is making such a big deal about a particular issue. Didn’t the customer read the contract? (Probably not.) Doesn’t the customer understand that researching a problem takes time? (No.) Remember, it’s not the customer’s job to see through the business’s lens; it’s the business’s job to see through the customer’s lens and show an understanding
of the customer’s frustration.

Next time you are working with a customer, stop and ask yourself: “Am I seeing this experience through the customer’s lens?”

2. When it comes to a company’s environment, recognize that everything speaks.
Imagine visiting a fine-dining restaurant for a special occasion. You’ve been looking forward to the meal, and you’ve heard good things about the restaurant. Then imagine noticing something crusty dried to your silverware and old lipstick marks on your water glass. Wouldn’t you begin worrying about the cleanliness and quality of everything else in the restaurant? Everything speaks!

Now imagine a customer entering a place of business. She notices trash in the parking lot. When she enters the reception area, she sees delivery boxes stacked by the receptionist’s desk. She sees employees standing around eating and having personal conversations. All of this detracts from your business’s image. Consciously or unconsciously, the customer’s antenna goes up and
makes him or her question, “Do I really want to spend my money here?”

The “everything speaks” philosophy means all employees understand that even the little things count. So pay attention to everything, including whether the physical environment is neat and clean, whether all necessary supplies are available, whether
employees are dressed appropriately, etc. Anything that sticks out as wrong becomes an intrusion on the customer experience. These intrusions add up and result in customer concern. On the other hand, when customers sense an atmosphere of professionalism, care, and order, they feel a sense of confidence.

How many times have you seen employees in a business walk right past trash on the floor or a display that has been bumped
out of alignment? Employees who understand that everything speaks will take a moment to pick up some wadded paper
and straighten the display because they know such behaviors have a direct impact on the customer experience.

Take a moment to think about your company’s environment. Because everything speaks, what are the details saying about
your organization?

3. Create customer “wow”s.
Small gestures can create customer wows. Consider the housekeepers working in the hotels at Walt Disney World. Housekeepers have a tough job. Cleaning up after people on vacation is a challenge. Even in such a challenging job, Disney’s housekeepers will do little things that make guests say “wow.” For example, while spending a day in the Magic Kingdom, children will often leave their stuffed Disney characters in their hotel room. Housekeepers have been known to position the characters with playing cards in their hands or tuck the characters into the children’s bed to create a moment of magic.

Employees can do many things to create wows. Remembering a customer’s name is a huge wow, creating a feeling of family. Letting a customer know that another product may better meet their needs is another wow. Sending a goody basket with a handwritten note to that young couple who just took out their first mortgage is a wow. Some wows are small, and some are large, but make no mistake about it—wows add up.

One of the most powerful ways to create wows is to share best practices with fellow employees. Hold a company meeting so employees can share things that they have done that dazzled customers. Just talking about these behaviors increases the likelihood
that others will adopt some of the practices or create new ones of their own. It is also likely that some wows can become standard procedure, whether it’s a grocery store bakery handing out fresh-baked cookies to children or salespeople escorting customers to a product rather than simply pointing.

Next time you’re helping a customer, ask yourself, “Will my behaviors make this customer say or think ‘wow’?”

Take Action Now
Excellent service is not about policy manuals. Excellent service is about excellent behaviors. When employees focus on excellent service, the results can be magical. Customers are happy, employees are happy, and shareholders are happy. Everyone wins. The key is to make service excellence a habit. Encourage every employee to internalize the above steps so they become habits. When employees focus on these principles, your company will achieve the most powerful result of all—intense customer loyalty.

 

DENNIS SNOW is a speaker, consultant, and author of two books, “Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life” and “Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service.” He can be reached at dennis@snowassociates.com or 407.294.1855.

TPP-2016-04 Wow Your Customers

IPMI On-Demand Webinar: Cracking the Code to Sustaining a Customer Service Culture

OFFERED FREE TO MEMBERS THROUGH JUNE 2020.

Regular Pricing: $35.00 for IPMI Members, $50.00 for Non-Members

Register Button

In this webinar, the key tactics that can be used to sustain a customer service culture within your organization will be reviewed. The webinar will give you practical solutions to implement with limited time and dollars including: refresher training ideas, reward and recognition program options and mechanisms to create feedback channels with employees that can help to address common customer challenges proactively, so some customer service issues can be avoided altogether.
Objectives:

1. Recognize customer service program components that be motivating and effective within an organization’s workforce;

2. Implement tactics within their own operations to develop and sustain a customer service culture.

Presenter:

VICKI_PEROVicki Pero, SPHR
Marlyn Group clients ensuring Employee Training, and Organizational Development programs align with operational needs. Vicki has over seventeen years of experience in the parking industry. She is a member of the Green Parking Council Board of Directors, serving as Treasurer. She is also a member of IPMI, where she serves on the Education Development Committee.

Member News: Parker Technology Partners with Greenleaf Hospitality Group in Kalamazoo, MI

Indianapolis, IN—Parker Technology, the leading provider of parking customer service, has successfully been providing 24/7 customer support for the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, MI since September. With Parker’s customer service platform, guests and visitors to the Radisson Plaza Hotel can immediately reach a Parker Technology customer service representative if they experience problems when entering or exiting the hotel garage. Parker’s call buttons are integrated into all of the hotel’s parking payment kiosks to provide instant access to their cloud-based platform, and thus a connection to their customer service reps. The Radisson Plaza Hotel is owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group.

“Greenleaf Hospitality Group (GHG) was excited to identify Parker Technology as a solution provider within the Parking Access and Revenue Control (PARC) world that focused on the Customer Care challenges that a parking operation can present to both our parking guests and our PARC operator team. Due to the breadth of clients Parker Technology partners with, we are leaning on them as experts in this space to collaborate with us to provide the best solutions for our parking guests. It is not a one and done conversation either, we are routinely monitoring Parker’s customer service reps’ recorded interactions with our parking guests to identify ways to continuously improve the experience for everyone involved. We are learning and discussing what works and what does not, as well as how to prevent certain types of issues from arising in the future. Parker Technology listens to us as a partner as we tackle the opportunities together; they are truly an extension of our own customer service team. We are excited to see their business model grow and be part of the story to develop a new standard of PARC related Customer Care through ongoing continuous improvement, engagement and passion for the customer!” – GHG’s PARC Experience Task Force

In today’s increasingly automated parking industry, customer support platforms often provide the sole connection between parkers and trained professionals who can help solve common problems related to paying for parking or entering and exiting garages. Each year, parkers across the US reach out to customer service professionals via call buttons at least 85 million times. This statistic is extrapolated from the Parker Technology platform, which also records and analyzes data about each call to determine which issues are most common and help hotel administrators better manage their parking resources.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Greenleaf Hospitality Group to offer customer support to the Radisson Plaza Hotel’s parking patrons and guests,” said Brian Wolff, president and CEO of Parker Technology. “A hotel’s parking garage is often the first experience a guest has at a hotel, and our parking customer service platform can have a vital role in guest satisfaction. We are proud that Greenleaf Hospitality Group has entrusted their guests’ satisfaction to us.”

Background

Greenleaf Hospitality Group (GHG) is comprised of Radisson Plaza Hotel, Wings Event Center, Wings West and several outlets located in each. GHG aims to make a positive impact on the greater Kalamazoo community by providing premier establishments of dining, hospitality, and entertainment. Learn more at greenleafhospitalitygroup.com.

Parker Technology is a fast-growth tech-led software and services company that provides parking facilities with a premium customer experience, by helping resolve issues for parking guests when they fail in the face of automated payment kiosks. Parker’s patient, well-informed customer service specialists answer and resolve intercom “help” calls 24/7, and boasts being the only company in the parking industry that can deliver this service with face-to-face, two-way video communication. Putting this personal, human touch back into an automated situation enhances the customer experience, provides metrics to improve operational efficiencies, increases successful payments and outcomes and ensures customer service calls are answered. Learn more at www.helpmeparker.com.

The Best Kind of Disney Magic

By Kim Fernandez

The hotel was church-pew quiet when I wandered down to the lobby at about 1:30 a.m., three hours after we arrived at our Disney World accommodations. My kids were little, it had been a long and loud day, and I was wiped out. But we were all sharing a room and as two of my three beloveds fell into deep slumbers, they started snoring. No sleep for me.

I passed two workers up on ladders scrubbing the lobby walls (scrubbing the walls!) on my way to a very comfortable couch, where I sat and stared at a wall. “Can I help you,” asked a desk agent who walked over. Snoring roommates, I told her. She smiled and disappeared … and then re-appeared, pushing a little bag into my hands and wishing me a good night.

Earplugs. She brought me earplugs. No charge—just here they are. Because they’ve thought of everything. And I slept and enjoyed a wonderful vacation and have kept Disney close to my heart ever since.

My savior behind the desk probably learned her customer service skills from a program developed by Lee Cockerell, who was EVP of Disney before becoming a speaker, podcast host, and bestselling author of books about hiring the right people and teaching them those stellar skills, ingraining service into the company culture no matter what company is in question. He’s the man behind much of the Disney magic you experience. And, believe it or not, he recently shared lots of thoughts with me about the parking industry.

Read all about it in the November issue of The Parking Professional, coming to an inbox near you next week. I can’t wait to share it with you. Not to go too far, but you might say it’s magical.

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publications and editor of The Parking Professional.