BY KEITH B. JONES | November 15, 2018

When I think of our ideal customers, I think of parents driving the family to Disneyland, a sister on her way to the airport, an uncle looking for the perfect Christmas gift, and friends on their way to the movies. They’re heading to the mall and to work, or taking their kids to school. They’re going out for coffee, going to concerts, to the country club, to the beach, and even to the park. But they’re not going to park.

“People don’t park to park,” explains Casey Jones, CAPP. “They park to do something else.”

This fact is seemingly obvious but, until recently, parking companies tended to view the space between two white lines as where customers go, instead of what it really is: a waypoint along their journey.

Today’s standout parking companies take that journey very seriously, focusing not on filling spots but on filling needs. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to predict each customer’s destination. It simply means understanding that each customer has one. The new customer wants ease of use and value. They crave positive customer experiences, not just customer service—and there is a difference. Service is what’s expected. Experience goes beyond expectations.

And the customer experience is crucial when it comes to the customer journey.

According to PwC, “Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.”

Don’t take that with a grain of salt. The same report highlights just how important a positive customer experience is: 17% of people who love a company or product will turn away after just one bad experience; 59% will turn away after several.

Personally, I see this as a good thing. By enhancing services, elevating user experiences, and streamlining the customer journey, we’re moving our industry into an indispensable role in our communities. By understanding congestion issues in each urban core, determining transportation modes and connecting customers with parking and mobility options, we could single-handedly reduce congestion and enhance the customer’s experience.

More specifically, we need to focus on ensuring our parking and mobility services are aligned with the customer’s journey and it’s our duty to guide the city, retail center, hospital or whomever’s property it is, on aligning the the two.

Sure, parking has been and probably always will be an afterthought, but the journey is not. How customers get to where they are going and how we can impact that experience is the fun part. That’s the code we have to crack and start offering value.

It’s the exciting future of Tomorrowland and its smart cities abuzz with diverse transit solutions, all integrated with each other. It’s also the nearer future of harmonizing dissonant services available to us today. Like bridging the gap between shuttle services and rentable parking spots, so that customers don’t get travel fatigue just trying to get from the airport to the dinner table.

Investing deeply in our customers could very well mean an industry shakeup. Maybe it means collaborating with tech companies to develop digital services or working with cities to modernize infrastructure. It’s not likely going to be easy, and it will definitely transform the industry. But look at it this way—it’s all part of the journey.

“Ace Mobility Solutions isn’t just a business. It’s the Mobility Revolution in action.”

Keith B. Jones
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