Nurturing Human Connections in a Virtual Parking Environment: Strategies for Operators

Nurturing Human Connections in a Virtual Parking Environment: Strategies for Operators

Parking exit violence


Caption: A parking customer who could use a human touch reaches a breaking point after 3 lanes of cars backed up. Image source: News Nation Now, 2023

In this digital era, convenience and speed reign supreme for parking customers, who prefer to interact with technology over humans.The shift in preferences of tech-savvy parking guests has motivated parking operators to replace their manually operated facility models with remote parking management systems.

Parking guests primarily interact with technology from start to finish during their parking experience rather than with humans in booths and onsite offices. However, guests expect seamless interactions that ensure a smooth, stress-free parking experience, whether with technology or human agents. Parking operators must strive for the right balance between offering the convenience of automation and providing meaningful human interactions to deliver the best customer experience.

Maintaining a sense of human connection with parking guests that delivers seamless customer experiences can be tricky. Amidst the whirr of technological solutions, how can parking operators ensure that human connections with customers isn’t lost?

In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of maintaining a balance between technology solutions and human touch in parking operations, highlighting strategies for nurturing connections that can elevate the parking experience for users.

Why The Human Element Matters

In the rush to gain technology-driven efficiencies, it’s easy to assume that customers prefer to interact with technology and care very little about their interactions with human agents. The reality is that exceptional customer experiences go beyond the transactional aspects of parking. Human interactions can transform a mundane task like paying a parking fee and turn it into a meaningful experience that drives customer satisfaction.parking

Satisfactory guest experiences are driven by meaningful communication with staff and helpful problem-solving that reduces stressful disruptions and delays and makes customers feel valued. No guest wants to feel like just another faceless transaction. They want to feel assurance that help is just a tap away, 24/7/365 if they need it.

Embracing Technology, Embracing Humanity

Surveys show that about half of consumers prefer to deal with complex or customer support issues with a human. Ironically, the foundation of human connections in a digitized parking environment lies in fully leveraging the technology that replaced humans. From the moment a customer enters the parking facility, connected technology such as mobile apps, digital payment systems, or license plate recognition enhances the customer experience.

Much of this technology, including audio systems, cameras, software, and databases provides the basis for developing a personal connection with parking guests. However, the efficiency and convenience for customers and operators gained by using technology doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the humanization of your parking guest’s experience.

Here are a few critical ways operators can use technology to create and sustain the human-centric customer experience.

Delivering a Human Touch Via Virtual Assistance

Parking operations are rife with potential issues for which a guest may need assistance: inquiries about parking rates, access or validation issues, lost tickets, vandalism, technology failure, and more. Staring at a soulless malfunctioning digital display, imagine how a customer feels when greeted by the friendly voice of a virtual customer service agent who is ready and able to fix the problem.

Assistance is the primary opportunity to connect with your parking guests and ensure a human-centric approach to parking management. Well-trained customer service agents can greet customers with a friendly welcome via audio or camera and handle customer questions and problems promptly and effectively, minimizing disruption and ensuring the seamless parking experience guests expect.

Virtual customer service agents enhance the customer experience in other ways, for example, by providing multilingual assistance or ensuring service consistency during peak times. The simple fact that a parking operation has invested in a virtual customer service operation offers a certain peace of mind to parking guests, assuring them that human assistance is available.

To get the most out of this opportunity to connect with customers, operators must ensure staff are well trained and skilled to navigate every concern customers may have in a consistent manner within prescribed timeframes. Agents should know how to escalate issues if needed and go beyond expectations to address problems. They should also learn how to recognize behavioral cues, respond appropriately to different requests, and communicate in a highly personalized and professional manner.

Cultivating Personalized Communication Using Data

More reliance on technology can lead to impersonal guest experiences. Yet 56% of consumers say they will become repeat customers after a personalized experience.  By analyzing customer data collected through digital platforms, operators can create a more personal experience, tailoring communications to suit individual preferences and behaviors.

Parking command center technologies can route guest support calls in real time based on lane criteria, lane and facility notes, camera views of the lane and customer, and established resolution workflows, providing agents information to provide personalized service at their fingertips. Operators can also create personalized messaging through mobile apps and emails, offering value-added services such as loyalty programs, personalized promotions, even seeking one-to-one feedback.

By addressing parking guests by name in these communications and providing customized information and services based on their activity and profile, operators can create the sense of a one-to-one rather than a transactional relationship with that customer.

Empowering Onsite Staff

Not all parking operations can altogether remove on-site staff using technology. Sometimes, onsite human intervention is needed. Chances are that onsite staff are lean in numbers and not always sitting in a booth where they are easily reached.

Virtual agents can facilitate human connections by supporting onsite staff in handling equipment malfunctions, enforcement, safety or security issues guests encounter. By empowering onsite staff with virtual agent support, operators can create a collaborative environment for customers needing help onsite and deliver seamless service.

Technology Connectivity and Human Connectivity: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Amidst the proliferation of automated parking systems, human connection with guests may seem elusive. However, technology and the human touch need not be at odds. They are two sides of the same coin–that coin being an elevated parking experience. Tech and human intervention are complementary elements that, when balanced appropriately, create seamless positive parking experiences.

By strategically integrating technology with thoughtful customer engagement strategies, parking operators can create an experience that is not just efficient but also very human.


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