Ensure you’re not paying for amateur ways of working

Imagine a site which requires a solution to take parking payments, issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) to abusers and supported by an appeals process for those who seek it. That’s three pretty sophisticated workflows, handling potentially millions of pieces of data (at ParkingEye we handle over 2m pieces of data each day). Together, and in the right hands, this can and absolutely should deliver a smooth, friction-less parking experience to your users to support your business model – whether that’s to eradicate abuse, generate revenue or drive efficiency. In the wrong hands, this may well serve up a painful, frustrating exercise for all involved which has the very real potential to damage your brand reputation. Scary stuff.

Here, we discuss some key operational factors that really matter when picking your perfect partner.

Tried and tested

Make sure your business isn’t paying for inefficiencies in the back-office. Convoluted processes, manual handling and inconsistent ways of working can really have an impact if you’re the customer. Not only will respond time start to suffer but there is a very real danger of your users feeling the frustration if site staff are unreliable, machines aren’t emptied on time or incorrect paperwork is issued.

Be on the lookout for a good level of automation to ensure an optimum experience and opportunity to drive cost out of the solution (for instance through ANPR), although beware of too much – after all, you’ll always want to talk to a human being who knows your account intimately. The best businesses demonstrate an easy balance between the two, delivering efficiency coupled with a very personal service in one seamless approach. Easily said of course but how to check before you jump into partnership? Asking for references from other businesses like yours is always a good idea, even better to speak to a business directly about their day-to-day experiences.

Fundamental to any success is the operational back-office management system – this ensures that the cogs turn smoothly and quietly behind the scenes leaving you hassle-free and your users delighted with an easy parking experience. We’re talking tried and tested systems rather than shiny technologies still in beta testing, an experienced appeals team who understand the nuances associated with parking and an optimised process to deliver fair yet robust enforcement.

Never stand still

The world around us is ever-changing – the explosion of mobile telephony or the internet of things has taught us that. So, your car park management provider should be no different. A business which looks to the future will ensure your solution is built on the best.

In parking terms, this could be future-gazing to bring new tech to market or it might be reviewing better ways to deliver core existing services which can improve the way you work today. Smart city solutions can also offer complementary opportunities alongside your parking solution – for instance connecting motorists looking for available space with unused spaces on your site – and generate some much-needed additional revenue. Consider the focus on R&D with any new partners as this suggests an open-mindedness to embracing new and better ways to operate – that can only be of benefit.

If you’ve found this article useful but still have questions, we’re here to help – whether you’re a blue-chip household name or a
small independent surface site. As the biggest private sector operator of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems, with the largest privately-owned ANPR database in Europe, we’re serious about quality.

If you’d like to talk to us about improving the way you do things, please get in touch