Automation, Without Sacrificing Customer Service
When the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio decided to automate their parking facilities, one of their first calls was to Parker Technology. Automating the school’s garages and parking lots made a lot of sense. It would make the parking experience much more convenient and free up staff who had been working at exit booths to handle other essential roles, both in and outside the parking department.
Yet Director of Parking and Transportation Mark Jesse didn’t want to sacrifice customer service. He knew that technology doesn’t always work as planned, and that even when it’s working perfectly fine, people sometimes have trouble using it. Parker Technology’s two-way video capability offers protection against the risk of parking equipment malfunctioning and user error.
“Sure, we are in the parking business, but we are really in the customer service business. The point of automating parking operations is to make it easier and more convenient for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to use our parking facilities. Parker’s customer service platform allows drivers to speak directly with a trained customer service representative who can solve any problems they may be experiencing when they are trying to enter or leave the facility, or when they are trying to pay.“
Mark JesseDirector of Parking and Transportation (former) at UT Health SA
Parker Technology’s two-way video technology is available 24/7 in garages and parking lots that serve both academic buildings and the university’s renowned teaching hospital. Each of the university’s garages are equipped with Parker Technology’s intercom hardware (both video and audio-only) at entrances, exits, and pay-on-foot equipment, serving a total of 10,133 parking spaces.
Benefitting UT Health San Antonio and Their Customers
The benefits provided by the technology were felt immediately. Before Parker Technology’s customer service platform was installed, it took about five minutes to exit one of the parking garages or lots. Now it takes just one minute because of the smooth experience provided by the automated payment and exit gate technology and Parker Technology’s customer service platform.
The university also enjoys administrative benefits. Most notably, the technology provides real-time information about how the parking technology is working and what types of issues are most prevalent. That information can then be used to improve the tools’ performance or make other adjustments to further improve the parking experience.
“Parker’s platform couldn’t be easier to install,” said Jesse. “The equipment was plug and play. It was installed and worked right out of the box.”
Flexibility and Innovation
This project also demonstrated the benefits of flexibility and innovation.
“Originally there was a separate help button on the screen that people just couldn’t seem to figure out,” said Jesse. “Parker’s technical team removed that button and added a contact icon to the payment screen itself. It may seem to be a small detail, but it made all the difference in the world to our customers who struggled with the original configuration. Parker’s flexibility and willingness to think outside the box is one of the reasons that we love working with them.”
Adaptability is an important feature of any successful technology, and parking tech is no different. Every parking owner has unique needs, and the tools they use need to be able to adjust to those needs. Likewise, the people who park have different needs. Some users may be uncomfortable using advanced technology, for instance. That’s why it’s so important for a customer service platform to offer flexibility, allowing all parkers to successfully navigate the process.
This was a particularly important consideration for users of the campus garage that serves the university’s teaching hospital. It’s always important to provide the easiest, most convenient parking experience possible in a hospital parking facility. Patients traveling to the hospital are often under a lot of stress, concerned about their health and making their appointments on time. Likewise, visitors are often anxious about friends and loved ones they are visiting. The last thing they need is added worry caused by issues getting in and out of parking facilities.
“The customer service is particularly important to patients and their visitors,” said Jesse. “Our hospital serves a lot of older patients who sometimes struggle with technology and can use a little help.”
An Extraordinary Parking Experience, Campus-Wide
The addition of Parker Technology’s customer service solution has been a resounding success. In fact, over the next two years, the university plans to add the technology in each of the campus’ three additional parking garages. By offering Parker Technology’s platform in each of the university’s parking facilities, UT Health San Antonio will be able to provide an extraordinary parking experience across the entire campus.