Proactive vs. Reactive: The Best Way to Keep Customers Happy

Parking should be the easiest part of your customers’ day—ideally, a non-event. Because let’s face it: between the stress of traffic, work, and everything else, customers don’t want to—and frankly, shouldn’t have to—worry about where they will park.

Not only that, but parking managers also need to be aware that parkers pay money—sometimes a lot of money—just to leave their car somewhere safe while they work or visit; in other words, it’s an intangible service with nothing to take home. As a result, your operation needs to stand out from others by providing top-notch service.

As parking facilities lean more on automation and free amenities to up their customer service game, how can you ensure that your customers are happy with parking in your garage?

How to Be Proactive

The easiest way to keep your customers happy is to perform tasks proactively. If your garage is automated, ensure that the equipment works and is cleaned regularly. If you offer amenities, ensure that they are advertised, functional, and clean. If you send an automated bill to your monthly parkers, ensure it is received on the same date every month for consistency.

In other words, you want to avoid surprises by staying ahead of what you’re offering. If you encounter an issue that cannot be resolved immediately in your proactive maintenance, make sure you clearly provide alternatives to keep customers satisfied. In this case, you’ll want to effectively communicate with your staff regarding the issue, next steps, and potential workarounds for customers. This way, when customers ask questions or have concerns, you can use this actionable information to reassure them that the problem will not affect the way they park.

The Perks of Being Proactive

Choosing to manage your operation proactively not only helps you avoid negative issues but also keeps your customers happy. Customers hate being left in the dark or feeling like they need to resolve complex issues on their own. For example, if your garage is automated and the entrance gate isn’t lifting, you’d want to designate an attendant to stand at the entrance and help customers in and out. Furthermore, as many PARC systems contain an “anti-passback” feature, you should proactively tell customers that you are aware of the potential issue and will resolve it before their next exit (or entry) so they can eliminate any worry.

Similarly, if and when something happens, customers will be in a better mood because they know you’re looking out for them and already working on resolving the problem. Or, if they need to report an issue, your past actions will dictate their behavior—if you’ve been proactive and friendly, for example, they will report the issue in a friendly way, not a bitter one. Of course, you can’t control how others react, but if you prove that historically you resolve issues painlessly and in a timely manner, customers will learn to trust your operation and staff.

Final Thoughts

More than anything, being proactive shows your customers that you truly care about their parking experience. And when you care, customers will be more loyal to your operation, leading to more reliable revenue and stronger word-of-mouth advertising.

People hate change. Proactive communication and maintenance ensures that nothing will change on the customers’ end so they know exactly what to expect. Maintain the bar that you set or keep it higher—but don’t frustrate your customers by changing it without notice.

Penn Parking is an industry-leading parking management professional for the Baltimore-Washington area. With over 30 years of experience and a passion for offering innovative solutions, we are the area’s leading parking service provider. Contact us today for more information on proactively operating your parking facility.