The parking industry has had its fair share of shake-ups in recent times. Technologies like GPS, parking sensors, and apps, along with alternative transport solutions like Uber and Lyft, are putting time-tested strategies to the test. Then, of course, there is COVID-19, which has disrupted virtually all segments of the transportation sector.
As parking wrestles to recovering from a tumultuous pandemic period, operators must now revisit their playbooks and adopt new ways of generating revenue. One of the most promising opportunities is better engagement with customers.
Like most industries, parking stands to gain a lot from excellent customer service. The more satisfied a client is with your service, the more likely they are to repurchase it and recommend it to a friend. Having repeat clients also gives you a wealth of consistent data that you can use to serve them even better.
If you own or run a parking business, you have several cards to play to improve customer service and boost client retention.
1. Deploy a Parking App
A parking application can cultivate solid customer relations in several ways. An app that shows drivers your parking lot’s location, the empty spaces, and cost per hour saves them from all the speculation that comes with finding parking. Apps like Pavemint take things a notch further by enabling parkers to reserve spaces before driving to a parking lot. With Pavemint, you can assure your customers of a parking spot before they begin their journey.
With an app, your customers will spend less time looking for a parking space and more time using your facility. You will also give them a chance to minimize their carbon emissions. Additionally, apps make paying for parking as easy as tapping a smartphone screen. The convenience of apps can keep motorists coming back to your parking lot.
2. Equip Your Customer Service Team
Even the most automated shopping experiences will require human intervention from time to time. While a parking app can reduce the number of people you hire to control traffic and process payments in your lot, a robust physical or virtual help desk is still a crucial proponent of customer service excellence.
The right approach to a client’s question or concern can turn a casual inquiry into a sale or a complaint into a fulfilling experience. Quite often, resolving a complaint well can turn potentially unhappy parkers into loyal repeat clients.
Clients want a parking facility that knows their history beforehand and can provide a personalized experience to problem-solving. Therefore, ensure your customer service team has the right tools to handle client questions efficiently and convert as many inquirers into sales as possible.
3. Establish a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs have been motivating customers to purchase more goods and services for years. A properly implemented program can be an excellent reason for customers to keep coming back to your parking facility.
A loyalty program can go well with a parking app. You can introduce drivers to your parking lot by offering some points when they create an account on your platform. Customers can then earn more points through in-app operations like reserving a parking space and making contactless payments. When they see how easy it is to get rewarded, they will keep using the app and returning to your facility.
4. Use Social Media and Forums
A good handle of social media can work wonders for any consumer-focused business. In parking, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be effective ways to establish lasting relationships with your clients.
If you have a parking app, you can use it to know which platforms your customers engage with the most. Including social media links in your app is an effective way to get users to share information about your facility or their experience on social media. You can then use analytics to track the number of times the links are clicked and divert your social media efforts to the most popular platforms.
5. Collect Feedback
Customer feedback gives business owners the chance to identify and fix problems quickly and make improvements proactively. As customers engage with your facility through your parking app, insert a short customer satisfaction survey. Ask clients how long they have parked at your lot, what they like and dislike about their experience, and what they would change.
Collecting feedback in such a direct but non-intrusive way can generate more value than market research. It will also make your clients feel empowered and more in control of their experience.
Now that the world is gradually recovering from the pandemic, it is time for the parking industry to get back on its feet. As a parking operator, your client base is your best asset. Start focusing your time and resources on improving the experience you offer, and you will get back on top in no time.