Parking Equipment and Service
I was talking to a buddy yesterday about his revenue control system. He runs an extremely large complex with six garages, surface lots, over 15,000 spaces in a central city. He did nothing but gripe about the system he had had for 15 years. I asked him why he didn’t replace it. He said that it wasn’t a good business decision. The system worked. It met his needs, but it also required a lot of maintenance (it was a decade and a half old). His problem was getting strong local support.
I asked him if he would be so unhappy if he had a good support system, and also had all the problems he did now. He said that he felt that most of the problems would go away, but even if they weren’t completely cured, knowing that someone was there to help would make a HUGE difference.
Go back to my statement from years ago that all revenue control systems work and all don’t work. The difference is expectation, how well they were installed and how well they are supported. My buddy went to see a similar system to his in another city. The owner there was ecstatic. He loved it, never had a problem with it. What was the difference? Simple – the dealer/installer in that city was on top of the situation. He stood between the customer and the manufacturer and represented both. He knew that to keep his customer he had to keep both the factory and the customer happy. He knows how to talk to the squids at the factory and get results. He has a large number of installations and when he calls, the factory listens.
We did a study a few years back and asked owners what type of system they had (manufacturer) and whether they liked it or not. We got a large number of responses but two stood out in my mind. They were from hospitals about 200 miles apart. Similar climate, similar size (number of lanes, etc), similar traffic. One owner loved the system, one hated it. The interesting thing was that they were exactly the same system, same manufacturer, same age, same same same.
I interviewed each and found out a lot. In the love case, the owner did his research. He visited factories, checked references, and ensured that the system fit his exact needs. He supervised the installation, had his people factory trained, and was extremely satisfied.
The other inherited his system as part of a “design build” garage. When he took over the new garage, the equipment came with it. The builder bought the system to meet a very general spec. The on site electrician installed the equipment. He handed a user’s manual to the owner and walked away. This owner hated the equipment from day one.
So the moral to the story – the most important part of a new revenue control system is the support that comes with it, from the local installer, and from the factory.