A New Era of Customer Service and the Rise of Collaboration
Day by day, we are growing weary of the crisis. Weary of the ongoing disruption to what we consider our “normal,” forced limitations, missed opportunities to connect in person, and an often unforgiving schedule of Zoom calls. However, beneath the surface, there is a positive force at work throughout this pandemic. It can be seen in many facets and among many groups of people. Specifically, in the parking industry, there is finally a realization that things need to be reimagined.
Smart technology is a product
of thinking on this universal level so that you can accurately distill targeted results.
Parking is a service industry. Because of that, we are focused on the demands of the parker. The parking consumer wants less and more. Less friction. More options. They want to safely and easily park, when and where they want to, and at the best price available to them. Our industry has always been consumer-driven, but COVID-19 has brought the public’s needs to the forefront. Meeting those needs is no longer an opportunity to improve operations; it is a fight for survival.
This shift marks a new era of customer service and a rise in collaboration. Technology has enabled us to make major strides in transitioning from physical to digital transactions. Historically, some of these efforts were siloed or deprioritized. Now, the consumer is demanding more. Over the last three to five years, online bookings were at 2-5 percent of parking transactions.
Over the next three to five years, digital, contactless transactions will easily become the dominant form of payment. Various stakeholders, from parking owners to service management companies to emerging technologies, are working side by side to future-proof our industry. Competitors are becoming collaborators, platforms are opening up to integration, and B2B companies are thinking B2B2C. We are aligned in our focus - serving the consumer - and looking to each other as a means to survive.
I am often reminded of the quote attributed to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Change is uncomfortable. When faced alone, it can be a lonely process. The changes we are facing now are universal. Moreover, there is a universal urgency to pull through the crisis and emerge stronger. Smart technology is a product of thinking on this universal level so that you can accurately distill targeted results.
It’s all about breaking down silos - silos in systems and silos in information sharing - and, in doing so, moving toward data standardization. Alliances, such as the Alliance for Parking Data Standards, of which I am fortunate to be an active member, are focused on establishing a common language and driving unification across our global industry. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. To truly understand our progress, whether it is as an individual, a business, an industry, or a community, we need to work together.
Weariness is a sign that we are changing. We are being stretched. Our normal has unraveled, and we are collectively adapting and innovating. We are actively reimagining an entire industry and devising the tools we need in order to survive. I often share a quote with my team: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Through inclusion and collaboration across our industry, we will be empowered to shape the new normal rather than be shaped by it.
George Baker Sr. Is founder, chairman, and CEO of Parkhub. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org