Having worked client side for some great operators like Secure Parking and shopping centre owners like Westfield, I have often felt that during the procurement process I had the full attention of the suppliers; with amazing promises of functionality and national service support. However, the reality never quite lived up to those expectations, unfortunately I have witnessed this first hand here at HUB and now I know why.
Breaking this down and from my perspective all equipment suppliers are the same, a bold statement maybe but I believe it to be the case! We all provide the same equipment functionality, software solutions with varying benefits, through to third party integrations, that are all boxed up in equipment that we believe to be aesthetically pleasing. We all have specialist teams that provide great levels of innovation and teams willing to challenge the next generation of equipment or new parking trends.
I have spoken with many of my colleagues both past and present along with existing and previous customers to get their perception of the industry, none of you would be surprised to hear I am not saying anything new here. More concerning is each person I have spoken to also believes that nothing will change… WRONG!
So get to the point I hear you say… the biggest learning since joining this industry is the lack of actual parking knowledge within it. We (the industry) advise our customers on the best technology and its functionality and how it will work for them, but this is done with no understanding of how these assets are managed or commercialised by the operator and with the most important question not being asked. What does your customers journey look like?
In addition to this and due to the lack of the above experience and knowledge, our industry has a lack of empathy when things do go wrong and let’s be honest, with technology, something will go wrong. What is important is how these issues are picked up and dealt with. It is easy to say we will respond within an SLA or in line with contractual requirements, but is that putting the customer first? I would say not.
So over the last 8 months I have been working closely with all of our teams to improve on their industry knowledge on subjects such as car park operation, commercialisation and profiling. Additionally, we have spent a lot of time working on making our customers feel like they are at the heart of our business, and we do actually understand their needs and the importance of results.
We have done this by improving how we communicate with our customers, information is power and it is our responsibility to enable our customers to have all of the information they need. This does not just mean dashboards and analytics. But also, how we have rectified any issues that they have experienced; which is building a greater level of trust between us due to the honest nature of our communications.
We have also spent time with customers looking at how they operate and have provided advice on alternative ways of using technology. Sometimes this has resulted in taking them away from certain solutions, to our own detriment, as they did not fit with how they want their customers to use the asset. We have worked with some customers on profiling their car parks and provided further guidance on possible tariff improvements while introducing them to third party companies that can offer alternative or additional revenue streams.
It is my goal to make each and every customer, both now and in the future, feel like they are at the heart of our business, and we will NOT simply sell a system to meet a target! I want our product to meet the needs of our customers while delivering the needs of their guests.
I have joined a great team who have done amazing so far this year we are enjoying the challenge!
The team and I look forward to supporting you all in the future.