I got a ticket the other day from Advanced Parking Systems. I’m a monthly parker there and have been for over two years. My decal had fallen off my dashboard and onto the floor, so I was ticketed $17 plus a warning that my failure to pay will result in “your vehicle being searched through the motor vehicle branch, and a service charge of $10 levied” and “your vehicle subject to towing in future without further notice.”
I have no intention of paying the ticket since I pay $200 for my spot every month (which already seems crazy to me). The following morning I talked to the attendant who asked me to talk to the evening guy, who then told me to call head office. So I did. The lady on the phone said she would take care of it, just fax over the ticket. I did so, with instructions to please contact me to confirm the ticket has been voided. Didn’t hear back, so I left a message. Still haven’t heard back. Will have to follow up again.
The customer experience is completely lost on so many service providers. Downtown parking is one of them. I know there is no shortage in demand, even as prices seem to go up every 6 months, but complacency nullifies opportunities for newer revenue streams and/or premium pricing.
What if APS wanted to be the best parkade in downtown to park a car, not just another concrete floor to lay your wheels on? A parkade that had a waiting list of companies and professionals wanting to sign up as monthly and annual parkers regardless of price. What would best look like? I would start by asking the customer. I have never received a single inquiry from APS about how I like their services, what do I value in a parking provider, what other services they could offer… nothing. Except my monthly bill which means I know they can find me.
Being a customer, I can tell you what I value first: security. My car has already been broken into once. Sporadically I see a security guy on a bike making rounds, but only during business hours on weekdays. Why not have a designated area for monthly parkers behind a separate security gate with cameras? Make the lot only accessible by monthly parkers and staff, and have it available 24/7. And add a stand with complimentary newspapers and maps.
My car is always dirty. If they had a car wash and detailing service available while my vehicle was parked, I would be the first in line for the service. I would pay more for the convenience, as I’m sure would many others. APS also has other parkades around downtown. How about a reduced parking price for monthly parkers to park in a regular stall at any other APS to reward loyalty? Discount Car Rentals has leased out an area in the parkade (they have taken up a full floor that used to be designated for monthly parkers). Team up with them and offer an exclusive deal on car rentals.
A few ideas of how APS can move from just selling parking stalls to selling an experience, one that many people would be willing to pay more for.
Rajan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BIG Marketing for Small Business. He's an award-winning marketing strategist who is passionate about branding, digital marketing and social media. He spent nearly a decade as the marketing executive at global IT firm Peer 1 Hosting and was instrumental in their explosive growth.