When it Comes to Parking at the University of Houston, Customer Service is Paramount
Founded in 1927, the University of Houston is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System and the third-largest university in Texas, with over 47,000 students. Located in the sprawling metropolis of Houston, the university provides cutting-edge programs including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, distance, and continuing education studies.
Ranked among the best colleges in the United States, UH is home to award-winning faculty, innovative research centers, alumni who have become international leaders, and a diverse student population. UH is also well known for athletics, having won 17 NCAA team national championships.
For a school with such a robust academic, artistic, and athletic life, parking is an important campus resource. Technology plays a huge role in the success of the University’s parking program. Advanced PARCS systems get students, faculty, staff, and visitors in and out of parking garages quickly and easily, and parking guidance technology guides drivers directly to available parking.
UH’s parking technology package is extraordinarily advanced. But as every university parking administrator knows, technology doesn’t always work as it’s supposed to. Parts break and things go wrong. Also, drivers sometimes have trouble operating technology, even when it is working properly. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting helplessly at a gate that won’t open when you are late for class or trying to get out of the garage to get to an afterschool job on time.
That’s why the university recently partnered with Parker Technology to provide 24/7 customer support in campus parking facilities. The customer support is offered via Parker’s customer service platform, which provides a direct video link to a highly trained customer service representatives if the driver experiences problems when entering, exiting, or paying.
“Partnering with Parker Technology is all about elevating the parking experience,” said Neil Hart, Executive Director of Parking and Transportation Services for the University of Houston. “It’s also going to help us streamline our own parking operations, which will significantly reduce our parking management costs.”
The customer service solution works in tandem with UH’s existing PARCS equipment, providing instant access to trained customer services professionals via buttons located in the entry and exit kiosks. Six of the university’s garages have two-way video functionality, while 16 of their lots have audio functionality. Across all 22 facilities, Parker’s solution is available in 111 lanes.
In today’s increasingly automated parking industry, Parker’s customer support platform can 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 United States reach out to customer service professionals via call buttons at least 85 million times.
“As important as this technology is as a customer service amenity, it’s also playing an important role in our long-term management plans,” said Hart.
As stated earlier, the technology is helping to streamline parking operations by inserting a vital safeguard into the university’s automated parking management system. It provides additional operational benefits by collecting valuable customer service data. Data is the backbone of contemporary parking management, and that data is collected by the wide array of technologies employed in parking facilities.
For instance, PARCS equipment tells owners and operators how many parkers use a given facility, and when peak hours and days tend to occur. Parking guidance equipment collects data about which sections of the parking facility are busiest and when. This is invaluable information for helping parking administrators manage their parking resources and determine whether they need additional parking.
But as important as this information is, it doesn’t tell owners and operators anything about how well the facility is operating. Are parkers able to enter facilities quickly and conveniently? Are they able to pay and exit quickly? When there are problems are they caused by equipment malfunction or user error? If there are malfunctions, which equipment experiences the most issues and what are those issues? The customer service platform collects and analyzes all this information and makes it available to parking administrators.
With the addition of Parker’s customer service platform, parking at the University of Houston is more convenient than ever before. The parking system is also more manageable. The University of Houston’s addition of the customer service solution puts it at the forefront of university parking operations, and UH’s parking customer service program should serve as a model for other universities across the United States.
Brian Wolff is President & CEO of Parker Technology. He can be reached at email@example.com