A safe pair of hands

Undeniably, finding a perfect technical solution will transform the experience for both your users and internal teams alike but it’s also worth investing time to ensure you’re aligning with an organisation you can trust and who will deliver a service in line with your values. Here, we discuss the key factors that really matter when picking your perfect partner.

No solution, whatever the cost, is worth a dime if you can’t rely on it. There are a number of aspects which help deliver a strong solution – whether that’s high-quality equipment, high ‘up-time’, flexible staffing levels, market-leading SLA’s, a responsive account team or infrastructure resiliency should the worst happen. Business continuity is the key here.

Whether you’re a blue-chip enterprise business with a huge estate or a small independent surface site with 15 spaces, you need to know your solution is robust and can weather whatever life throws at it, from IT bugs and hardware failures to snow and vandalism. If you’re taking ANPR cameras across your estate, take the time to ask about testing, maintenance and which software technology is used. You’re looking for a team who proactively monitor both the equipment and the resulting statistics to ensure someone will notice in the event that something isn’t as it should be – remember, if your business is generating revenue from parking, if payment machines go down, so too does your bottom line. Camera up-time and first-time resolution rates are good benchmarks for quality and ANPR should run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for instance.

A provider of some scale could offer greater resiliency simply through UK-wide coverage, allowing them to flex resources as and when required to deliver a level of responsiveness which competitors may struggle to match. What’s more, anyone with regionally based maintenance engineers and hubs could potentially offer much faster resolution times and make access to equipment far more efficient. Certainly, something to bear in mind.

Parking is now a highly technical operation, or it should be. Don’t underestimate the value in choosing a provider who is not only equipped to analyse multiple data points in real-time, but also demonstrate a solid ability to turn all that information (from cameras, payment machines and so on) into accurate, actionable insights which can really improve the way you work. Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to clarify that your data is held on a secure server with the ability to scale up as necessary otherwise there’s a danger information may be lost as rack space becomes contended.

Make sure your provider isn’t looking to ‘install and run’ and has a solid account service plan in place. Whilst initial design, implementation plans and install are all key, ongoing management and support will keep life hassle-free and smooth-sailing, even for the most self-serve platforms. That starts with a great service delivery, beyond promises from the sales team and is often the responsibility of a dedicated Key Account Manager. Ideally with knowledge of your sector and depending on the size of the contract, this person will often be supported by a team of account executives who’ll handle all manner of day-do-day requests, no matter how ad-hoc, quickly and effectively. It’s the Key Account Manager who should liaise with the various other business areas to ensure KPI’s are being achieved and feedback any suggestions or issues that arise. That’s not only about building trust with you as the client or a smooth operation but also continual improvement.

Alongside the day-to-day running, monthly review meetings are very useful with the Account Director and Key Account Manager, with access to members of the senior team such as the Operations Director for instance if required. 6 monthly innovation reviews are also very valuable in sharing ideas to further improve customer service, efficiencies or other actionable insight from MI.

As well as a dedicated Account Manager, your business may also benefit from a ‘Technical Owner’ – this is someone who works within the partner operations team and are solely responsible for the performance of equipment on your site. This gives you a named person who can answer hardware and any IT-related queries as and when you have them. This technical owner should also ensure the nationwide engineering team fulfills its Service Level Agreements to you and meets both business needs and expectations every minute of every day. After all, your business never sleeps and neither should your payment machines, ANPR cameras, and so on.

Quality above all else

Any provider with a dedicated Quality Assurance team is worth a look. This demonstrates a root-to-tip commitment to doing things right, a business serious about standards. The Quality Assurance team should continually audit their customer services staff through a variety of techniques, such as remote call listening, match checking review and random appeal handling quality checks to make sure each stage in the process is not only compliant but honed to deliver a exceptional service levels to you, and your users.

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