Campus News

Parking services launches campaign to improve customer service

University Parking Services has launched a two-year campaign to improve customer service.

Slated to run until January 2010, the campaign includes projects ranging from having employees smile more to reengineering the North Campus parking deck to decrease wait times.

Parking services manager Don Walter has spoken to Staff Council and is trying to get the word out about improving customer service.

“We did some strategic planning, and we’ve really tried to look at things from a customer’s point of view to figure out what the customer would want,” Walter said.

An increased emphasis on feedback is one of the major components of the campaign. Parking services has thus redesigned its Web site,, to utilize an automated customer tracking and feedback system called Remedy, which was launched in late April. Similar to UPS shipment tracking, site visitors can e-mail questions or concerns and track their status as parking services employees try to answer them within 24 hours.

Walter said that the Remedy system worked so well they got 400 e-mails the first day, and that all but the most complex queries were handled that day.

For those who would rather leave feedback without revealing any contact information, the site also allows visitors to offer feedback anonymously via the AnyMouse program. Data collected from both Remedy and AnyMouse will be analyzed to address recurring issues and concerns.

In May, parking services offered a survey on its Web site about various aspects of parking on campus. Questions ranged from asking if respondents had a parking permit and where they parked to opinions on the amount of available visitor parking or enforcement of parking rules. About 1,500 people responded. The survey will be repeated to gauge customer opinion about any improvement since it was first conducted.

Walter said the results were surprising and that 90 percent of respondents gave parking services a favorable rating, despite the recent criticism against upcoming parking fee increases.

In the survey, he said the chief complaint was “violators in parking lots.”

On campus, parking services is working on an attitude shift with an emphasis on smiles and efficiency.

For those visiting the parking services office in East Village Commons, the line is moving a little faster, about 3-4 minutes per customer, according to Mike Cosby, quality assurance manager. Customers are becoming more informed, due to the Web site and Remedy, according to Walter, and many of customer’s questions are answered by online sources or by asking customer service representatives before they even make it to the front of the line.

Also, the office now has keypads for customers to enter their Social Security numbers, so they don’t have to be spoken aloud.

Parking services also has stepped up signage, in both its office and lots across campus to better inform visitors about the dos and don’ts of parking.

For example, as spring semester ended and the May term began parking services employees put up signs in lots reminding visitors that even though classes are out, permits are required.

Parking services also put up signs in the lobby so customers turning in or buying passes would know what to expect, especially to bring their passes inside with them so they wouldn’t have to retrieve them and then return to the line.

More changes to parking on campus will be evident when classes resume this fall: new parking lots, sleeker technology and updated, cleaner parking decks.

“Our goal is to be the best. We don’t want to be mediocre,” Walter said. “We are looking in every nook and cranny of our organization for improvement.”