Surprises Are Best Left For Valentine’s Day

Don’t you enjoy it when a loved one surprises you with a nice dinner out, or a getaway weekend to unwind? Who doesn’t? Or how about when you receive that special gift you’ve always wanted, but never purchased yourself? Surprises like these put a smile on our faces and are some of the greatest moments in life.

But what about getting a call in the middle of the night that an exit kiosk is down and there is a line of cars waiting to get out? Or your monthly parkers’ prox cards suddenly stop working on a Monday morning? Those surprises aren’t quite as fun, right?

Something I hear all the time from parking industry leaders is that they are tired of the troublesome surprises that pop up every day. Whether it be surprise maintenance issues, customer service snafus, or hidden fees that appear out of nowhere, parking executives wish they could keep the surprises for Valentine’s Day, not parking operations.

Wouldn’t it be great to come to work every day and not have to fight fires or explain surprise costs to stakeholders? What new opportunities would that open? How much money would you save on headache medicine? Predictability is the friend of parking professionals, and the enemy of aspirin makers.

Unfortunately, these surprises are just accepted as a part of doing business, and parking professionals simply resign themselves to the fact that they will continue to suffer from parking headaches for the foreseeable future. However, that doesn’t need to be the case. Technology innovation in the parking industry has allowed operators to vastly simplify operations, which has enabled increased operational efficiency and reduced the number of unwanted surprises. It’s simple math: operational inefficiency + complicated equipment = greater chance for a system break down. It’s time to reverse that equation.

FlashParking, as a relatively new player in the space, has the benefit of seeing the industry through a fresh set of eyes rather than conforming to the way it has always been done. We have built our entire solution portfolio from the ground up using “No Surprises” as our guiding tenet. No surprises for you, the parking operator or asset owner, and no surprises for your guests—the parkers.

No Surprise Maintenance – “It just works…until it doesn’t.”

Isn’t it funny how parking equipment always breaks down at the worst time? Kind of like when you drop a piece of bread with jelly on the floor, it always lands jelly-side down. Murphy’s Law sure loves the parking industry. Well, instead of just accepting the metaphorical jelly-side down, it’s time to look to solutions that will ensure less maintenance, less unexpected downtime, and more reliability.

“That’s the way we’ve always done it,” is a phrase that has killed many businesses. There’s no quicker way to win the race to the bottom than by running a company that can’t evolve and adopt new ways of doing things to better position itself for success. Constant, unplanned maintenance issues create an undertone of anxiety. Now, we all know there is no way to completely eliminate issues, but with the right solutions, you can limit them, troubleshoot your own problems quickly, replace failed components yourself in a matter of minutes, and even be alerted to issues and fix them before they ever affect your guests. The days of stressing over unplanned issues causing extended downtime are a thing of the past. For instance, what if you could replace a ticket printer yourself in a matter of minutes with a turn of a few screws and plugging in USB connection, rather than calling a technician and waiting sometimes days for them to come out and fix the issue? Parking equipment doesn’t need to be overly complex and require a university degree to perform basic maintenance. Plug and play equipment components are standard in so many industries, it just makes sense that this model is becoming the new normal in parking for better, more efficient operations.

No Surprise Pricing and Costs – “No more getting ‘nickel and dimed’ to death”

There’s nothing more infuriating than surprise fees that pop up after the contract is negotiated and signed. You thought it was all spelled out in the contract, but you suddenly get hit with an extra fee for a standard software update or a security patch. Why wasn’t this unhappy surprise factored into the overall cost? Getting nickel and dimed for every minor update is not a good way to ensure loyalty. With a cloud-based software platform running your PARCS equipment, however, you can save those nickels and dimes, as all updates can be done remotely and automatically. No more having a technician come out, close a lane, make an update and re-configure the equipment. The cloud promotes complete flexibility, scalability, and cost-saving efficiency by removing those surprise fees and simplifying the process.

No Surprise Security Compliance – “Take the Worry out of Ensuring Compliance”

Security compliance, specifically PCI compliance, is one of the most misunderstood and anxiety-inducing aspects of running a parking operation. No one wants to be the next Home Depot or Target, making the news for a payment card security breach. Those surprises are far and away the worst kind of to get. Not only will it cause massive damage to your brand and customer trust, but the costs associated to recover from a breach can often cripple a company. Let’s face it, parking professionals are not experts in PCI compliance, so why not minimize the risk and surprises associated by passing that burden to your vendor who specializes in PCI security? A PARCS vendor that is a level 1 PCI service provider can off-load the responsibilities of PCI compliance from you and manage it for you.  There is an old saying that any PR is good PR, but that phrase was coined prior to the age of cyber security breaches. So, take surprises out of the security equation and let your vendor handle the technical details to ensure instant and sustained, complete PCI compliance.

With today’s technology, there is no reason why you need to live with the inconvenient daily surprises in your job. A little predictability in your operations goes a long way. So, let’s reserve the surprises for Valentine’s Day.