With the country beginning to stir in a “new normal” posture, the underpinnings of a new operating model are beginning to take shape, such as social distancing and work from home (WFH) as a way of life, being ever more mindful of the things we touch, and managing or complying with mandates for cleaning areas that are touched routinely. The parking industry will need to adapt, the same way every industry will. Parker Technology is uniquely qualified to help municipalities, universities and private operators manage this transition and accelerate trends that were already afoot before the COVID-19 crisis dramatically changed the rules.
Automation had already swept the parking industry, removing cashiers from lanes and generally reducing the number of humans available to help parking customers in those facilities. Long before social distancing was a thing, automation made it easier to operate a facility without the need to ever speak with a human, except when there was an issue or when the levels of activities, like events, created a need to have more ambassadors available to meet the increased demand.
Social distancing has forced us to think about how to get things done virtually for the health and safety of our employees and consumers. It’s also highlighted the power of two-way video as a way to connect with our colleagues, families and customers. At Parker, we always knew that providing a smiling face via two-way video was a better customer experience because of how comforting and powerful seeing another human is when help is needed.
Before the crisis, Facetime was nice, but now, two-way video is critical. It accomplishes two important objectives in the post-virus era: 1) keeping your customers and employees socially distant from each other when there’s an issue in a lane. 2) It will solidify that you care enough about your customers to use this new standard of customer service to help enhance their experience.
Delivering a better customer experience also means that we need to help our customers touch fewer surfaces in parking facilities. COVID-19 has raised our awareness of this significantly. What they will want, is to interact with your facility using objects that are known only to them, namely the interior of their car and their cell phones. The infrastructure to do this is already available through frictionless parking and mobile payment systems. Parker Technology has retooled our technology roadmap with several initiatives to help parking customers call for help without touching the help button.
In the transition to a fully touch-free parking experience, our parking customers are going to demand a level of cleanliness that did not exist prior to the crisis. These new standards will create the need for parking operators to develop and execute more stringent disinfection plans. These demands will add to an already long list of activities needed, to keep facilities running smoothly and profitably. On this front, Parker Technology is well ahead of the curve because our customers have repeatedly told us when we take their help calls, we liberate their people to focus on higher priority tasks. Such as, maintaining a clean facility, attracting new customers, executing a more robust online experience and installing the latest parking technology, like mobile payments, LPR, parking guidance and new PARCS.
As these advanced technologies are implemented, we already know from our data that the number of help calls will increase, as human’s ability to adapt to these changes won’t match the rate of change. Data collected from more than 2 million calls to our call center also reveals that 85 of those calls are not because the technology failed, but because the human failed in the face of that technology. When Parker takes those calls for help, our customers know that we will deliver a warm, knowledgeable, engaged virtual ambassador to follow their business rules, secure payment and get that customer on their way in less than a minute.
As we transition into the new normal, Parker Technology is here to keep your employees and customers safe by social distancing through two-way video, help your customers refrain from touching surfaces in your garage and liberating your employees to focus on higher priority tasks, all without sacrificing a great customer experience.