Customer experience is one of the biggest factors determining if someone will return to your facility. Satisfied customers translate to repeat business, which means more money in your pocket. But how do you know whether or not they are having a good experience?
In this article, we’ll show you how to leverage customer reviews from your online reservation partner to stay ahead of operational and customer satisfaction issues.
Gathering Customer Feedback Is A Challenge In Parking
Historically, parking has operated almost entirely offline, which makes gathering feedback nearly impossible. Without contact information from your customers, how do you know if their experience went well?
Whether it’s issues with equipment, attendants or the facility itself, you need to find a way to close the feedback loop as quickly as possible. If you have the potential to solve the problem after one person, why not fix it? Each additional person who experiences the problem is another repeat customer lost.
Many Operators Rely On Secret Shoppers For Feedback
A secret shopper enters a parking facility as a real customer and evaluates the condition of the facility, staff interactions, customer service and any other parameters set by the operator.
However, secret shoppers have a few drawbacks. First, the cost can be significant. Plus, an experience from a secret shopper doesn’t cover everyone’s experience. The secret shopper won’t use the facility as frequently as your repeat customers and likely will not catch every issue. Plus, the feedback loop is longer, making it more difficult to solve problems quickly.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective, thorough solution, what other options are out there?
Use Online Reservations To Gain Customer Feedback
Your online reservation partner may be your ticket to gathering real-time feedback, in the form of reviews from your customers.
Rather than paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for secret shoppers, you can access your real customer reviews at little to no cost. In doing so, you could discover issues you were previously unaware of or reinforce what you’re already working to improve.
Plus, with a larger pool of feedback, you’ll see if customer experience problems are one-off instances or recurring events.
Businesses Overlooking Customer Reviews May Be Missing Out On Valuable Insights
Need proof? Here are some examples of customer reviews about issues that could be resolved, as long as you know about them.
There was no attendant on duty. I got out of car and inquired, but he could not be found. I had to pay $45 to park elsewhere.
The attendant working was completely rude. I couldn’t believe the things he was saying to customers. I wish I had gotten his name because he deserves to be fired.
Stairs very unpleasant
Entry attendant was impolite. Exit attendant was awesome.
When I arrived there were metal gates blocking both entrances. I had to leave my car at the entrance and walk to find a security guard who let me in, but did not give me a ticket.
Dark, dirty, poor signage, 1 ramp shares both in and out
Don’t overlook positive reviews, which can reinforce what you’re doing well.
Great spot at a great price. Attendant was courteous. Wonderful first experience.
Very positive experience, easy access to garage, found a convenient spot in a very clean, well-lit facility with elevator access to street.
The gentleman at the front gate is friendly and professional.
It is the closest to the Capitol and very convenient. Very friendly staff. Highly recommended if you visit the Capitol.
How Can You Make The Most Of Your Reviews?
As you can see above, customer reviews highlight where there’s room for improvement and what you’re doing right, whether it’s with your attendants or the facility itself.
If you get several reviews that mention a particular problem or issue, share these insights with ownership. Explain how improvements to your facility will satisfy your customers and ultimately generate repeat business.
Positive reviews should be leveraged, too. Not only can they be shared with ownership, but they are also valuable additions to RFPs to show what’s going well with current clients.
Access Reviews From Real Customers Today
If you’re already working with an online reservation partner, talk to your account manager about getting access to customer reviews. Ask if they can share market standards, which will help you establish a baseline. From there, you can determine how your service measures up to the rest of the market.
If you aren’t working with an online reservation partner, research your options to see which one is the best fit for you. In addition to gaining customer feedback, you’ll also have the opportunity to fill unsold inventory and increase revenue.