How would good customer service solve THIS problem?

You are in the UK and want to park. The cost is 60p but you only have a £1 coin. What to do? If you are like me you simply put in the pound and go about your business. However rabble-rousers over in England, Scotland, and Wales are rousing. Seems although in our little scenario the cost was only 40p, in total, it can mean millions of pounds a year to the local authorities and rail lines.

They all say that machines that give change are expensive, can have maintenance issues, and since they hold more cash, can have a higher security risk. All makes sense to me.

The rabble is saying that if they go to find change, they are risking a fine. So they just pay, but don’t like it.

JVH’s solution – have the meter issue a ticket that says “TEMP” on it with the time and date. I would give a driver say 10 minutes to go to the nearest store and get some change. If he get’s back before “temp” expires, he’s golden, if not, a citation. Its customer friendly, but not over the top. After all, we all know that if we are going to park in certain areas we will need some change. Thoughtful folks have a little sack of change for just such purposes. However, this gives our customer a break.

My guess is that for 40p (about 60 cents) most people would not make the round trip and very few of these “TEMP” receipts would ever be issued.


Answering the question – “Why should a city go to all this trouble for so few people who give a damn?” Well, it’s a way, with a little software, to solve a problem, let your customers know you are thinking of them, and spend very little money.

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5 Responses to How would good customer service solve THIS problem?

  1. MTJ says:

    Most businesses/retailers don’t like opening their tills and giving change so they request you spend some money with them to break your pound or notes.
    There are people out there that would prefer to spend 15 minutes finding a shop to buy something they really don’t need (and then whine about it) in order to break their pound – rather than simply inserting their pound into the parking meter and get on with their life!

  2. Reality Check says:

    How many citations are actually written while the customer searches for change to pay the meter? Heaven forbid that the customer plan ahead and bring change when they know they’re going to a paid parking spot.
    Of course, there is a cost for the paper for the temp ticket, which oould amount to a considerable sum each year, what with lots of folks using it and not paying when they run quick errands. After all, how much time does 40p (or 1 pound, for that matter) buy these days?
    What about payment via smart card or credit card?

  3. Manny Rasores de Toro says:

    Is this a real problem or just the usual newspapers making something out of nothing?
    Many LA’s across the UK have also introduced during the last few years the pay by phone subscriber option as an alternative to using cash and displaying tickets. Paying by phone is become popular even that it is a bit more expensive for the user as it includes a small service charge of typically 20 pence per transaction as well as the cost of the phone call.
    In any case in the UK most Pay & Display parking machines have a charge based on fractions of an hour and in the case shown of 60 pence for 1 hour, inserting £1 would mean the ticket would show a parking time paid of 100 minutes. If you want to pay a smaller amount, the solution is simple either bring the right change or use the phone parking option and pay the extra service charge and if any of these options are not suitable, we have many thousands of barrier operated stress free car parks were punters can pay when leaving and all capable of giving change.

  4. Nickoli says:

    The problem with temp tickets is that some people will just keep using them (coming back every 10 minutes for more time). It’s normal, though, to give five minutes observation before issuing a PCN for no ticket, to give the motorist time to buy a ticket.
    I always try to find pay-on-foot car parks (barrier operated, pay just before returning to your car) to avoid this problem, though.

  5. JVH says:

    Nickoli: I doubt sincerely that someone would walk back to their car every 10 minutes to keep from paying 60p. If that’s a problem, make it 5 minutes. JVH

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