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.