Tag Archives: training

Customer Service Representatives: Superheroes in Disguise

Woman in jeans and T-shirt whose reflection has a cape on.By Lesli Stone, CAPP

Frontline parking and transportation professionals are in a unique position to be the eyes and ears of the communities they serve. Each  can observe a large number of engaged people in innocuous activities, day in and day out. These countless observations provide the experience and context to determine when things don’t seem quite right.

Providing comprehensive training and empowering our customer service representatives is an important step to providing safe and secure communities. Most of us are familiar with the Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” materials and devote a portion of our training budgets each year to educating our teams on identifying and appropriately reporting suspicious packages and activities. However, we are positioned to see so much more.

Recently at the Coble Transportation Center, customer service representative Erma S. observed a gentleman acting strangely. She made the decision to investigate further. She initiated a conversation with the man and determined that he was confused about his surroundings and situation.

Erma was able to gain the customer’s trust and he handed his phone over for assistance. She was able to identify an emergency contact and made a call to quickly and calmly explain the situation. As it turns out, the gentleman in question suffers from dementia and had been missing for hours. A safe pickup was coordinated and Erma stayed with the man until his concerned family members arrived. She said, “I just handled it as if it was my grandpa.”

While it is impossible to anticipate every situation, we train our drivers and staff to recognize human trafficking, dementia, and cognitive dysfunction, medical emergencies, and a host of other situations they could encounter. When we know better, we can do better. Awareness and training matter.

Lesli Stone, CAPP, is general manager at National Express Transit Corporation.

Parksmart Advisor, Online, Instructor-Led Training: January 26, 2021

Register here for this event. $275 for IPMI Members

NoParkSmart Logon-Members may attend for a $495 registration fee. Click the register link above to attend as a non-member.  Need help logging in?

Contact us at professionaldevelopment@parking-mobility.org.


Additional Registration options:

Members Bundle APO Site Reviewer Training and this course for $450. Contact us for a discount code!

Bulk rate discount of 20% available for organizations that enroll seven or more individuals.  Please contact professionaldevelopment@parking-mobility.org to enroll your organization.

Parksmart Advisors lead clients through the certification process for sustainable parking structures. The Parksmart program is now offered under by the USGBC/GBCI alongside the suite of LEED and other sustainability rating systems. IPMI is the USGBC Education Partner providing the education required to earn this valuable certificate.

This is a four-day course. The class will take place on each of the four specified days from 1:00 p.m. EST until 2:30 p.m. EST:

  • January 26
  • January 28
  • February 2
  • February 4

You must attend all four sessions and pass the end of course assessment to become a Parksmart Advisor. All Parksmart Advisors are listed on USGBC’s website. Due to the online interactive nature of this course, this course is limited to 14 attendees.

Learning Objectives:

  • Illustrate and detail the specific management, programmatic, technological, and structural elements of the certification
  • Evaluate a parking facility, including the tools, process, and procedures for submitting facilities for certification
  • Evaluate case examples against the Standard and determine acceptability or changes.
  • Illustrate acceptable versus non-acceptable evidence for certification application.
  • Review the Parksmart scorecard.

Offers 9 CAPP Points or 9 CEU’s. IPMI CAPP points can be applied toward application or recertification.

For more information, contact professionaldevelopment@parking-mobility.org.

International Parking and Mobility Institute is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is accredited to issue the IACET CEU.

Register here.

Send Me Your Emails!

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.

Communication in a Virtual Training World

Virtual world blog postBy Kim E. Jackson, CAPP

I have the distinct honor of being a trainer for IPMI. I have been training for the past 23 years and one of the major highlights has always been the face-to-face interactions with trainees. During COVID-19, I decided to participate in Frontline Training Live Class Series in addition to teaching a session during the IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo. What an incredible experience! I was challenged in ways I did not think possible and realize this experience will make me a better manager.

In the world of Zoom and virtual meeting space, the interactive feedback I was used to during in-person trainings was often a black square, sometimes an initial and last name, making it impossible to see trainees’ reactions to the information I was sharing. Now there were those brave souls who turned their cameras on; they have no idea how helpful that was to this trainer.

Then there are the chat functions—a great feature when you have a co-facilitator, but very nerve wracking when training or teaching solo. It is nearly impossible to keep up with the flood of messages being shared to your questions or comments from others in attendance.

So you may be asking: How can this help me become a better manager? I have learned to be patient with the silence. I have learned eye contact, something I highly value, is not always necessary for comprehension or understanding. It is OK to take a risk and trust your own skills and abilities to communicate in any situation!

Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation at Princeton University and an IPMI trainer.


COVID-19 Information Clearinghouse: Events and Education

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Frontline Fridays: Taking IPMI’s Frontline Training Online

Woman takes class online with live instructorBy Cindy Campbell

The saying goes that “necessity is the mother of invention.” True enough.
We read on a daily basis about the realities of our changing world in response to this pandemic. An abundance of caution is necessary as we try to remain healthy and safe. For most, the pandemic has changed what we do and how we do it. As an IPMI onsite trainer, it has certainly limited my ability to provide training to our industry’s frontline staff. Until now.

Beginning April 24, IPMI is taking our popular frontline, instructor-led training classes online. To meet our members’ needs at this time, we’re approaching this training in a slightly different format: Our standard three-hour trainings have been divided into shorter, one-hour segments.

Timing is everything and like always, we’ll work with you to schedule the courses when it works best for your team. There are two options to participate in the training:

  1. Schedule an agency-specific training. You choose the dates and times that work best for your team.
  2. Sign up for a Frontline Friday session. Each Friday for the next five weeks, IPMI will offer two online, one-hour sessions. Class size will be limited, but we’ll work with you if the class you want fills up. Here’s a link to the Frontline Friday calendar.

We’re also excited to be rolling out new content. Kim Jackson, CAPP; Matt Penney; and I have developed timely new sessions appropriate for anyone within your organization:

IPMI will offer these frontline development courses through June at a deeply discounted, per-person price: Sign up for a single session for $30 or any combination of three sessions for $75. Class sizes will be limited to create opportunities for conversation and interaction.
We know that our members are facing challenging times. It’s our hope to bring professional development to your team no matter their physical work location.

Please reach out to me directly if you’ve got questions.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist.

Looking for Leadership? Keep the Attitude in Check

By Perry Eggleston, CAPP, DPA

Sitting at a recent conference, I was able to watch an usher trying to guide attendees to their respective places.  While this usher was performing her job repeatedly in a black and white manner, her frustration was visible and she did not attempt to hide it.  Some guests kept quiet but some pushed back, to which the usher returned additional negative comments.

Parking and mobility can sometimes seem like we are herding cats. Especially during events, we seem to repeat the same instructions to different guests hundreds of times.  Repeating the same message can be mind-numbing. Fatigue sets in and we let it take over our mood.   We become frustrated and we allow it to show.  However, when this occurs, the only loser is you.  Your visible negativity does not fix the situation, and at the same time brings you and your organization into a poor light.

Parking and mobility industry leaders must remind ourselves negative interactions will snowball into more significant problems if we allow our frustration to show.  When presented with a negative situation, remind yourself to keep your emotions in check, and remember that a negative response would only worsen the situation.  While I am not perfect, I have learned to take pride in the times when I control my emotions and defuse a negative situation. Leadership is more than leading those that will follow; it is taking the time and effort during a negative encounter to understand, and maybe they will start following you too.

Perry Eggleston, CAPP, DPA, is director, university services, with SP+.

PEO Safety

By Barbara Y. Roberts

When do I walk away? When do I hold my ground? PEO Safety Article

AS YOU PREPARE TO GO TO WORK, do you commonly think about how your shift will include verbal cursing, being punched, threatened, or spat on? Sadly, some parking enforcement officers (PEOs) experience abuse as they simply do their job of issuing parking compliance tickets.

Every employee should be able to go to work knowing that at the end of their shift they can head home without any damage, be it physical or psychological. There are inherent risks and challenges with parking enforcement work, which begs the question: When do I walk away? And when do I defend myself?

The Risks

As a vendor who provides privatized parking enforcement services, we have a catalogue of dangerous situations PEOs have encoun­tered. Receiving a parking ticket commonly invokes a visceral reaction from parkers when they come back to see the rectangular paper ticket affixed to their windshield. The average parker who sees a PEO issue on-street tickets typically worries more about the potential of being stuck with a $55 ticket than consider­ing that the PEO is simply enforcing parking compliance so congestion will subside.
Actual examples of dangerous situations experienced by our PEOs include a brick thrown through their vehicle window, gang members waiting for them to arrive, an unpro­voked attack, and an irate violator who threw a punch. Most people have no idea that a PEO job entails danger.

Policies and Administration

As you evaluate your enforcement program’s PEO safety, the first consideration should be alignment with your municipality’s pol­icies and administration. As an example, be sure the city’s policies focus on PEO safety first and foremost, so it is OK to let a ticket go. Re­garding meter time, too little time expired before ticketing can lead to the perception of predatory enforcement, which generates citizen animosity and creates legions of angry parkers. In some cit­ies, parking policy gives a one- to three-minute grace period before ticketing. The public then sees enforcement as more fair because a driver will not receive a ticket immediately after the meter expires.
For issuance policy, when a person walks up while a PEO is issuing a ticket, does he or she still issue it? That is an important policy consideration, and I’d encourage you to consider a more liberal ticket cancellation policy.
Concerning administration, collaborate with local police to identify high-crime areas. In known danger spots, or during certain times of the day, is parking enforcement a necessity? A municipality’s policies and administration should always be con­tinuously reviewed to synchronize with PEO safety.

Using Technology

Advancements in market technologies and tools can improve your PEOs’ safety. There are more options as handheld issuing devices are converting to smartphones. With automated issuance, an alert button can be used for assistance and issue escalation. Smartphones can automatically call for assistance during threatening situ­ations. GPS-enabled vehicles or smartphones can mon­itor PEO locations when alerts trigger. Voice recordings or picture captures in handheld-ticketing applications can be supporting evidence in after-action reporting to substantiate field actions taken. Although technology features may add costs, PEO safety is invaluable.

Evaluating Imminent Threats

To improve safety, train your PEOs to be aware of their surroundings and evaluate the types of imminent threat.

We suggest several tips:

  • Know your routes, danger pockets, and mix up your routes.
  • Keep watch for gang areas.
  • Be aware of mentally unstable people and unexpected behavior.
  • Monitor altercations in the same area for patterns.
  • Teach communication skills to defuse hostile situations.

As a part of PEO training, teach them to evaluate the type of threat they are encountering. In keeping with law enforcement, the three main types of imminent threat are passive, passive aggressive, and aggressive. There are no givens, but examples of each type of threat are shown in table 1 with a description, likely response, and indicative action plan.

Enhanced PEO Training

In most cases, more training is needed for PEOs to under­stand how to react in different situations.

Such training should include:

  • Carry yourself with confidence, not arrogance.
  • Wear the appropriate safety equipment and clothing to maximize visibility.
  • Enforcement is a distracted driving practice; therefore standardize cellphone and radio usage.
  • Know where you should position yourself so you can see as much as possible while still completing the is­suance of a notice of parking violation to avoid being struck by a passing vehicle, bicycle, or irate person.
  • Know what tools your agency authorizes for self-defense.
  • Know your own physical health, injuries, and limitations.
  • Know what to do it someone grabs you around your neck, waist, hair, arms, or legs.
  • If someone threatens you with a weapon, the time for talk is over. Leave the area immediately.
  • Know what your reporting system requires to track and collect assault and incident data.
  • What application should you use and what information does it need to analyze the data for policy, safety gear, or route modification changes?

Legislative Changes

Consider supporting legislative changes to support PEO safety. In Canada, assault on a parking enforcement offi­cer or bylaw officer conducting traffic bylaw enforcement is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada as as­sault on a peace officer and carries higher penalties than standard assault.

Finding the Right Answers

Due to the myriad of variables and scenarios that can occur in the life of a PEO, there are no absolutes regarding the perfect response to every incident. PEOs perform a very important job for municipalities to keep traffic flowing, increase turnover for economic development, and enforce parking compliance on our crowded streets to keep our citizens safe. But our PEOs deserve safety as well. For the questions “When do I walk away? And when do I defend myself?” there are no perfect answers, but new and differ­ent training is needed to improve safety as much as possible so every PEO gets home unharmed.

The average parker who sees a PEO issue on-street tickets typically worries more about the potential of being stuck with a $55 ticket than considering that the PEO is simply enforcing parking compliance so congestion will subside.

There are more options as handheld issuing devices are converting
to smartphones. With automated issuance, an alert button can be used
for assistance and issue escalation.

Table 1: Types of Imminent Threat

Threat Type
Action Plan

1 – Passive
You don’t feel in danger and your public interactions are without active response or resistance.
Defuse the situation using your words.
Improve your verbal communication skills. IPMI offers a Tactical Communications course designed to use effective communication to mitigate situations that are becoming unruly.

2 – Passive Aggressive
You feel indirect resistance from your public interaction and sense that the situation could escalate to a more aggressive direct confrontation.
Continue to defuse a tense situation using your words, wherever possible.
Assess if you continue with your duties or leave the situation.

3- Aggressive
You feel your personal well-being is in immediate danger.
Leave the area and call for assistance.
If feasible, record voice documentation of the situation and/or take pictures of the scene.

Read the article here.


BARBARA Y. ROBERTS is Director, Business development with Serco Inc. and a member of IPMI’s Safety and Security Commmittee. She can be reached at barbara.roberts@serco-na.com. This article is a product of the Safety & Security Committee’s Safety for Parking Enforcement Officers Working Group.


IPMI Moving Forward Video Series

Moving Forward is IPMI’s monthly professional development newsletter, highlighting educational opportunities and professional development tools and advice. Each newsletter features a new professional development video.

To watch all of the videos available, please search our Resource Center or check out our YouTube channel.

I'm Working from Home (Now What?)

Professional Development Series:  I'm Working from Home (Now what?)



Practical Capacity

Practical Capacity

Leadership for the Millennial

Leadership for the Millennial

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS)

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS)

How to Increase Parking Capacity without Building New Structures

How to Increase Parking Capacity without Building New Structures

Change Continuum

Change Continuum

Leadership as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Leadership as Easy as 1, 2, 3

July 2019: Technology VS. Human Interaction

July 2019: Technology vs. Human Interaction: Developing Millennial Leadership

June 2019: Mobile LPR Enforcement: Lessons Learned from Baylor University

June 2019:Mobile LPR Enforcement: Lessons Learned from Baylor University

May 2019: CAPP Update and Exam Changes

May 2019: CAPP Update and Exam Changes

April 2019: Sitting in the Right Seats - Maximizing Your Potential

April 2019: Sitting in the Right Seats - Maximizing Your Potential

March 2019: Embracing New Technology

March 2019: Embracing New Technology

February 2019: Dig Deeper - Creating Your Personal Mission Statement

February 2019: Dig Deeper - Creating Your  Personal Mission Statement

January 2019: Upcoming Education and Opportunities in 2019

January 2019: Upcoming Education and Opportunities in 2019

Preparing for Bad Behavior

By Cindy Campbell

Hostility. Aggression. Belligerence. Incivility. Rudeness.

All these words describe bad human behavior. Again this week, an over-the-top outburst was caught on video and went viral. Maybe you’ve seen it: A female would-be airline passenger went ballistic at the gate, reportedly because her flight was delayed.

It’s disheartening to think these scenarios don’t surprise us anymore. We have grown to expect bad behavior and at some level, tolerate it. Having said that, there is a significant difference between expecting bad behavior and being trained and prepared to encounter and effectively deal with it. We see emotional, anger-filled outbursts and disrespectful behavior everywhere. As our agencies’ representatives, frontline staff must be well prepared to handle these encounters.

It’s important to recognize that within our industry, customers are frequently hostile, even aggressive, and often have difficulty hearing and understanding our intended message. You have likely experienced scenarios where citizens see themselves as victims rather than customers. The skillset to capably provide helpful service within a public service agency requires the ability to quickly sort information and apply an appropriate response. Frontline staff typically perform their duties independently and therefore must be resourceful and aware that their words affect how they are perceived. The goal must be to quickly decipher what we hear while keeping our emotions under control so we are prepared to calmly and effectively address the situation.

What steps will you take to promote this concept within your agency in 2019?

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite trainings; visit parking-mobility.org.