5 Ways to Wow Customers in Any Business

The Internet. Social media. With the advance of digital technology, customers have changed. Today they can connect directly and faster, publically broadcasting their loyalty to your company, or their complaints. But, whether you own a valet company, parking garage or any other type of business, you can still delight your modern customer with five customer service tips that combine tried-and-true best practices with a few digital-age updates.

#1 Hire the Right People

Sunshine Valet

Having a great customer service team isn’t enough. Great customer service happens when you maintain a high level of customer service across all departments and points of contact with your business. To achieve this, you’ll need to take the time to hire the right employees. Your agents are your company’s ambassadors. Once you’ve hired them, make sure they’re well trained so they feel empowered to make on-the-spot decisions. Then keep them happy by treating them as well as your customers. Offer competitive pay and benefits. Provide a clearly defined path of promotion. Make the job fun through rewards. If you hire and retain exceptional staff, they’ll deliver exceptional customer service. 

#2 Make a Great First Impression

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is even more true as customers have become more connected. So give your agents the support and incentive to wow new customers. A relationship that starts off strong will be much more likely to stay strong. Customer engagement company Thunderhead.com found that 20% of customers stop trusting a company after one bad experience, and a 1/4 of them will instantly switch brands. If you’re in the valet or parking business, this is even more crucial as your staff may be the first, and final, encounter a customer has with a business. Two very memorable moments that can make a lasting impression.

#3 Manage and Exceed Expectations 

Bridge City Parking

Let customers know what they can expect. Then, exceed those expectations. Customers will know you’re willing to go the extra mile, and you won’t have to worry about unmet expectations. If you offer a guarantee, honor it. If you say you’ll respond to emails in 24 hours or tell a specific client you’ll call them by Monday, then commit to that. You can’t earn the trust and respect of your customers unless you deliver on promises. Also make sure you’re accessible. Today’s customers expect instant access and fast responses. So offer plenty of ways to contact your business like phone, email and social media. Then make sure these channels are easy to manage and well staffed.

#4 Always Take the High Road

Even if you’re dealing with an angry, rude, complaining or demanding customer, treat them with respect. Instead of arguing, train your employees to focus on what’s occurred and how to best resolve the situation. Scripted dialogue and emails can also provide your staff with the right tone and tools for tough conversations like these. If your business did make a mistake, admit it, apologize and do whatever it takes to make the situation right. Your customers will appreciate it and stay loyal.

#5 Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Peninsula Parking

Too often, customer service is reactive. This happens when a business only communicates with customers when they reach out with complaints. “When customer service management systems operate proactively with customer experience solutions and are able to anticipate customer needs before they occur, you’ll have a more satisfied customer.” says Rita Tochner, head of corporate marketing at Pontis. Utilize big data, customer suggestion cards, or input from staff to proactively address issues before they become problems. You might also offer your employees incentives to brainstorm ways to impress and better serve customers. 

Want More Business Insights?

Follow us on social media for more customer service best practices, insights, updates and inspiration that will help your business grow and thrive in today’s market. If you’re a valet company or parking service looking for a professional kiosk to greet and serve your customers, we can help with that too! Contact The Valet Spot today at 877-977-8733 and we’ll work with you to create a custom valet or parking station that’s perfect for your company.

Valet vs. Rideshare: We’re Betting on Valet

How Valet Can Take Back the Night, and Day

Are Uber and Lyft driving down your profits? Well, you’re not alone. Industry giant Ace Parking told the San Diego Union-Tribune that, in the current battle of valet vs. rideshare, rideshare competitors are cutting into the parking business with as much as 50% less traffic at nightclubs and a 25% drop at restaurant valets. We believe parking services can come out on top with partnerships, smart marketing strategies and tech tools!

Reasons for Your Customers to Drive Instead of Rideshare

Rideshare with pets Photo by Raoul Droog on Unsplash

First of all, the truth about valet vs. rideshare is, ridesharing is not always the cheapest or most convenient option. Additionally, customers with a service animal or those who want to visit a pet-friendly place may find themselves in a predicament if their Uber or Lyft driver arrives and refuses to transport their pet. Lastly, for people heading to mall, there’s no guarantee a rideshare vehicle will have room for all their purchases.

Driving is Good for the Neighborhood

Digital parking management via pay-ahead parking websites, parking locator apps, and space-saving automated garages, enables more sustainable parking and valet services. This takes up less valuable real estate and makes room for denser, more walkable neighborhoods. It also eliminates the wasted time and emissions that come from circling for a spot and better utilizes parking inventory, improving profits and reducing the need for parking expansion. Plus, says Mark Lawrence, CEO of parking app SpotHero, “lots of people say, well, autonomous cars will simply drop us off then go to the outskirts and wait. Where is that? How will, say, two million vehicles go to the edge of Los Angeles, and then come back to where they’re needed?” Idling Ubers and Lyfts only add to traffic congestion and toxic emissions.

Dependability, Freedom, & Four-Wheeled Zen

 

Driving Zen Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash

Dependability, freedom, privacy . . . aren’t these the main reasons we love cars, and driving them? But what happens to these vehicular virtues when we switch to rideshare? How dependable are rideshares when people are late for a meeting and there are no drivers available? Plus, how can someone stick to a transportation budget when rideshare companies can add surge pricing to their trips, whenever they like? And what about freedom? Road trips. A spontaneous journey to surprise a long-distance love a state away? All at a moment’s notice or with little planning. Lyft has a maximum range of 60 miles. Though Uber technically doesn’t have a trip limit, it does require passengers to “notify the driver” of a long drive, and hope they’re willing to go the distance. Then there’s the four-wheeled zen of being on the open road and blasting a favorite playlist. Or the ability to zone out on a drive and not engage with a chatty Uber driver. Andintimate conversations? There’s no way anyone can have a heart to heart with their husband, or even call in a pharmacy prescription without a driver hearing every personal detail.

Why wouldn’t everyone pick driving over rideshare if they didn’t have to worry about parking?

Smarter Parking

If you own a parking lot or garage, you can now park smarter, thanks to the latest 21st-century tech advances. Parking expert Casey Wagner, who hosts a National Parking Association webinar, says that, in valet vs. rideshare, parking and valet chains are competing by offering “parking reservations, parking on demand” and smart parking apps. Ace Parking’s leadership envisions a parking website that displays the locations of available spots, plus prices. Drivers would pay online and scan their cell phone when arriving at the garage. Somerville, Massachusetts is working with Audi and the Federal Realty Investment Trust on a garage design that stores cars in a tight grid instead of rows with space for humans to maneuver. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch also have a trial smart parking garage in Germany. Museum guests leave their vehicles at a drop-off area and send them off to park using a smartphone app. Technology in the garage and car will get the vehicle to a designated spot. When visitors are ready to leave, they summon the car to a pick-up area using the app. Take advantage of this tech and University of Toronto study predicts the capacity of parking lots and garages could increase by 62%.

Give Your Business a Lift, With the Perfect Podium

 

compact podium shoreline valet

So now that you know all the reasons parking services win in valet vs. rideshare, don’t keep it to yourself! Devise a marketing campaign that lets customers know why you offer a better alternative to rideshare. Once you’ve come up with that campaign, we know a great place to promote it—on your valet podiums.

Let customers know the name of your website, app, contact info, or the locations of your garages and valet services by investing in a Custom Deluxe podium from the experts at The Valet Spot. It features brand-able panels that allow you to add custom graphics and signage. Have your valet or parking manager contact us today to learn more!

Want to Boost Your Valet Business? Head to the Mall.

It’s no secret that old-school malls have been losing sales to online stores. But the good news, according to a new report from AT Kearney, is that the modern mall’s future looks bright!

Younger consumers seek experiences over products

Ski While You Shop

Cleveland Mall Photo by Ron Dauphin on Unsplash

Forward-thinking shopping centers are viewing retail spaces in a new way. According to a recent Forbes article, that means becoming a “Main Street” that focuses less on selling people products and more on engaging them with experiences that create a sense of community. So in addition to retail stores, modern malls are adding restaurants, theaters, event spaces, museum exhibitions, plus attractions like theme parks, skating, ski slopes, and water parks. Some current examples of this trend include the Minneapolis Mall of America and the American Dream Centers in New Jersey and Miami.

Curbside Service

To tempt visitors to leave home, and truly enjoy the modern mall experience, shopping centers are also removing one of the biggest annoyances of yesterday’s malls—having to park. And then schlepping all your purchases back to that spot you circled for 30 minutes to find, at the far end of lot. The solution is valet parking and curbside pickup.

The president and managing partner of The Forbes Company, which runs luxury shopping centers, believes curbside pickup will compliment shopping. In a CNBC interview he says, “They’ll come to the mall. They’ll buy their stuff. We’ll have it picked up.” Then, “we’ll have it available for you at the valet outside the shopping center at the curb when you’re ready to leave the shopping center.”

The Modern Valet Station

So if you own a parking service or valet company you’ll want to make sure your valet stations are stylish, modern, and versatile enough for the malls of the future. But don’t worry, The Valet Spot has a wide selection of valet stations and valet podiums that will help you take advantage of this lucrative shopping center trend.

Shop Valet Stations & Podiums

Find the perfect valet station or podium for your parking business.

Classic Podium

Classic Valet Podium features

The Classic Podium is sleek, modern, and simple enough to match any exterior. 

  • Scratch-resistant white finish
  • Rounded aluminum corners
  • Curved side panels

Custom Deluxe Podium

Custom Deluxe Valet Podium

The versatile Custom Deluxe Podium has customizable panels. Change them out to display a schedule of mall events, featured mall attractions and shopping services.

  • Countertop with brushed stainless steel trim
  • Electronic compatible
  • Tip box installed
  • Locking security bar

Why healthcare needs valet services more than ever

Volume to Value Healthcare

The healthcare industry is rapidly transitioning into value-based care (VBC) models that focus on outcomes rather than volume. More attention and budget are being spent on balanced care that treats and helps prevent illness while providing excellent patient experiences. In fact, in a Forbes article titled Top 8 Healthcare Predictions for 2019 the #1 prediction is that global healthcare spending on value-based models will increase by 5% in 2019.

Hospital front entrance

Modern Hospital(ity)

Thanks to Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, healthcare professionals know exactly how to provide the best patient experiences. The assessments evaluate hospitals based on standardized criterion that include service quality, environment, communication, discharge information, and food services. By these standards, quality means addressing patient wants and needs in a timely manner with respect and dignity.

What are healthcare support services?

Healthcare facilities outsource to specialty providers who design and implement best-in-class hospitality inspired services. These specialty services are collectively known as healthcare support services. The category includes clinical services such as nutrition, music therapy, occupational therapy and laboratories. It also includes non-clinical services like back office, housekeeping, culinary, systems maintenance and transportation. That’s where you come in.

Valet Services & Patient Experience

Often the parking lot gives patients and their families their first impression of a healthcare facility. Working with the right parking services company helps any facility put their best foot forward. For hospitals it can also help ease patient stress. If you’ve ever driven an expectant mother in labor or a badly injured friend to the hospital, you know stress. Additionally, knowledgeable valet staff may direct patients to appropriate starting points or information kiosks, improving patient flow.

Valet healthcare support services

Valet Stations

Whether you work directly with a healthcare support services department or indirectly through a provider network, healthcare facilities need your valet services.

The Valet Spot’s extensive line of podiums and kiosks come in a variety sizes with customization options and accessories that let you match the branding and décor of any client. Designed with versatility in mind, our valet stations are equipped for both low and high-volume areas. Kiosk key boxes that can hold anywhere from 24 up to 400 key hooks.

Two Great Ways to Start

  1. Use our Designer Series Podium builder to mock up a customized podium for a proposal
  2. Give us a call at [Number] and we’ll work with you to build a custom valet station that’s perfect for any modern healthcare facility.

Come to a Dead Stop, at the Valet

It’s October, and we all know what that means. The air is crisp. Leaves are turning. Pumpkins are ripening. And the zombies are parking your car.

Halloween’s lurking just around the corner and everyone’s getting into the spirit! Because it’s not just fun, it’s also a great way to make your valet station stand out and draw drivers and potential customers to your business. While they might not notice plain unformed attendants standing behind the usual podium, they’ll have a hard time zooming by a zombie-manned valet station with a sign that reads “Come to a dead stop”. Pick your favorite theme, trending or classic, and choose valet station decorations and attendant costumes that match. How about a Hogwarts theme with wizard attendants and valet tickets printed with the names of Hogwarts houses, “Gryffindor, Slytherin …”? Or keep it monstrously simple with werewolves, Frankensteins and more fiendish creatures. Not elegant enough for your business? What about a stylishly dressed family of vampires with a sign that reads “Bloody good service”?

Still, you can’t join in the Halloween valet fun without the right valet station. Luckily, The Valet Spot has the perfect podium for your needs, whatever the season.

Valet Stations

The Classic Podium

With a modern, upscale look and sturdy construction, this podium has classic style that will last for years. Completely redesigned, its all-steel construction features a brushed stainless steel working surface and a scratch-resistant white powder coat finish with rounded aluminum corner accents—the perfect canvas for your Halloween decor. It also has curved sides, a transaction counter, umbrella holder, and four locking casters.

Classic Valet Podium with pumpkin Panels
Classic Valet Podium with pumpkin Panels

Looking for the old Classic Podium with the Simplex lock installed? You can now add the Simplex lock to our Standard Podium here.

Unique Details

  • Scratch-resistant white finish
  • Transaction counter
  • Rounded aluminum corners
  • Curved side panels

Essential Features

  • 50-200 key capacity
  • 18-gauge sheet metal
  • Staggered key hooks w/white, screen-printed numbers
  • Corrosion-resistant hardware (zinc-coated)
  • Brushed stainless steel working surface
  • Umbrella holder
  • 4 Locking casters
  • 2 Slam-action locks with 2 keys
  • Tip slot
  • Replaceable parts
  • Pre-assembled
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty

The Deluxe Valet Podium

We increased the width of our Deluxe Valet Podium and added a counter above the working surface to give it a premium look. We also added a key drop box to the side, so keys can be deposited quickly and securely without the need to unlock the podium. An anchor loop allows the podium to be secured, while a lockable tip box in the drawer and a locking bar add additional security. Grommets on the working surface and podium base make it easy to route electronics through the unit.

The Deluxe Valet Podium with ghostly panels
The Deluxe Valet Podium with ghostly panels

Perfect for Halloween, the Deluxe Valet Podium can also be custom-wrapped in printed Halloween-themed panels offered by The Valet Spot.

 

Unique Details

  • Countertop with brushed stainless steel trim
  • Key drop hole with theft guard
  • Electronics compatible
  • Tip box installed
  • Locking security bar
  • Anchor loop
  • 16-gauge, heavy duty sheet metal construction

Essential Features

  • 50-200 key capacity
  • Scratch-resistant textured black finish
  • Staggered key hooks w/ white, screen printed numbers
  • Zinc hardware
  • Brushed stainless steel working surface
  • Umbrella holder
  • 4 Locking casters
  • 2 Slam-action locks with 2 keys
  • Tip slot
  • Replaceable parts
  • Pre-assembled
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty

Get Into the Spirits

Costumes, check. Decorations, check. The Valet Spot podium, check. You’re ready! Now you have everything you need to make sure your customers, and your valet attendants, have a spooktacular time. Contact us today at 877-239-8496 to design an un-boo-lievable valet station.

Why Valet Parking Increases Restaurant Revenue

Restaurant Valet Parking Increases Revenue

They have become a common sight in most large city’s, valets waiting outside restaurants ready to relieve you of your car, and that annoying problem of finding a parking space. There is a reason for this, not only does it attract more customers, valet parking increases restaurant revenue in several ways.

As more and more restaurants continue to open in busy city centers and downtown areas parking is getting harder and harder to come by in many metropolises and small towns alike. Many restaurant owners overlook figuring out a parking solution when providing sufficient parking, especially during the peak seasons may be their key to success. This is why a growing number of restaurants, bars and retail stores are now offering guests valet parking.

Keep Regulars Consistently Coming Back

Parking is sometimes a major issue depending on where you’re located. If your restaurant is snugly situated downtown customers have to drive specifically to your restaurant or bar to eat. Not knowing if they’ll be able to find a parking space will seriously deter many potential customers, especially regulars. It’s important to ensure that regulars and newcomers will all have a place to park even when it’s the busiest time of the year.

Why Its Time to Valet

When you’re applying for a permit with the city but can’t afford (or find) a nearby lot to purchase or rent, you may feel dead on arrival. Thriving cities are simply running out of parking spots and developments where parking is feasible. Even if you’re planning on providing parking spots the block surrounding your restaurant may already be full.

One way to circumvent this issue is to purchase a valet podium and start your own valet service or hire a valet company to handle it for you. It’s an investment, but the promise of carefree parking will bring in enough additional business to pay off the investment in full. In fact, if you add your own valet service it actually creates an additional source of revenue.

Demand-Based Parking Pricing is Increasing the Use of Valet Service

Demand Based Parking

Demand-based parking is a relatively new concept that is currently only being used in San Francisco but due to parking congestion, large cities nationwide will likely soon be creating their own versions of demand-based parking.

With this system, meter rates go up or down based on demand, which encourages faster turnover on overly crowded (more expensive) blocks and increased use of underutilized parking (where the fee is cheaper). According to the MTA, San Francisco is the first in the U.S. to implement such a program citywide but more are soon to follow.

Meter pricing is currently a minimum of 50 cents per hour and a maximum of $8 per hour. Rates are set block by block and rates change throughout the day to reflect peak hours and off hours. Beginning in January 2018, the city will start adjusting those rates every three months. If a block is consistently at 80 percent or more occupancy, the hourly rate will go up 25 cents. If it’s at 60 to 80 percent occupancy, the rate will stay the same. Below 60 percent, the price drops by 25 cents.

When the city implemented these new rates on the public parking lots and garages private parking lots throughout San Francisco also increased their rates. If you review rates on BestParking.com the average daily parking rate is now almost $30.

The fact is consumers are now taking the cost of parking into account when deciding to go to a restaurant, a movie or pretty much any other activity that involves them having to drive somewhere and park their car.

Savvy business owners have realized this and are implementing ways to offer free parking to their customers. This is usually done in three ways.

  1. Create Your Own Valet Parking ServiceACTUALLY GENERATES ADDITIONAL REVENUE
  2. Hire a Valet Parking Service – Not as much of an initial cost but still an ongoing expense
  3. Validating Parking – this is usually the most costly option

If you are looking to start your own valet service we recommend taking a look at our full line of valet podiums and other parking equipment.

Increase Car Wash Revenue with Valet Service

 

Car Wash Valet

Have you ever thought about offering valet service at your car wash or auto spa? Customers have less and less patience these days and they also expect a level of service that not only meets but exceeds their highest expectations. The fact is every car wash and auto spa no matter the location can benefit from offering valet service, here are a few reasons why.

1. Attract More Customers with Convenience

Every car wash wants to increase their daily revenue any way possible. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when you are an established car wash that already has the majority of the local business. Rather than offering sales and running costly promotions, focus on making it more convenient for people visiting businesses around you to drop off their car at your car washed valet service to get it washed while running their errands rather than paying for parking. This will not only attract new business but increase the frequency of regular customers coming in.

2. Decrease Wait Times

As stated previously many customers simply will leave and go to another car wash if there is a long wait time. Having valet attendants greeting customers as soon as they pull into your parking lot prevents this from happening. It also provides a level of service that most car washes and auto spas do not offer which will keep your customers coming back.

3. Upsell Additional Services

At a traditional car wash, most customers will choose the standard wash if they are driving up to a machine and making the selection on their own. Most auto spas have an attendant that asks what service you would like and explains the benefits of each. Customers will almost always choose additional services like waxing, leather conditioning and tire dressing if they are offered the service when it’s needed and have the benefits of that service explained to them. Having valet service at your car wash created the opportunity to upsell customers as soon as they pull into the drive.

A Guide to Selecting the Proper Valet Equipment for Your Business

All of us in the valet parking industry know that selecting the right valet equipment and parking accessories for an event isn’t the easiest task. Every event has different variables to consider. How many vehicles will need to be parked? How many guests will be in each vehicle? What amount of parking space is available at the venue? Where will the valet podium be located? Will directional parking signs be necessary? These are just a few of the things that have to be considered for every single event. Fortunately, with proper planning, the valet parking operation should run as smooth as the exquisite machines it parks. Here are some tips on selecting the right equipment for the occasion from the leading supplier of valet equipment.

1. Select a Podium that Compliments the LocationPortable podium at Wedding

By saying “select a podium that compliments the location” we aren’t only referring to the look. Actually, we are primarily referring to the functionality.

For example, if you are hosting a wedding and the venue happens to be somewhere that has loose gravel or even grass for the parking area it would be wise to bring a collapsible podium that is easily transported without having to be rolled across rough terrain. Sometimes a rolling podium is not ideal for the situation. In this scenario, a valet parking stand with a key box might be a good option for smaller parties.

2. Be Prepared to Direct Traffic

Sometimes getting people to drop off their cars at the proper location is easier said than done. Keeping people that are not taking advantage of the valet service from using parking spaces that are reserved for the valet operation can be even harder. This is where having the proper type and quantity if valet parking signs come into play. One example that always comes too mind is casinos. Think about the last casino you went to, how easy was it to find the valet service? Almost every casino has tons of parking signs directing you straight to the casino valet stand.

3. Attract the Right Amount of AttentionProfessional Kiosk in front of hotel

Now we are referring to the looks of the podium. There’s nothing worse than seeing an old shabby valet parking podium in front of a classy establishment. It immediately makes you reconsider going inside, first impressions are everything. At the same time, you don’t want a parking stand or podium that resembles a flashing billboard with advertising all over the place or an extensive use of LEDs. The goal is to attract attention in an elegant way that compliments the businesses valet service. A restaurant might think about a portable Custom Deluxe Podium that can match almost any decor whereas a hotel usually is better off going with a hotel kiosk or hotel greeting station looking podium like the Professional Kiosk.

Hotels, Resorts & Casinos are Adding or Hiring Valet Parking Operations Nationwide

Courtyard Marriott Hotel Parking Valet Service

Large hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Wyndham as well as small hotel groups across the nation are either starting their own valet operations or hiring a parking management company to manage the valet service for them. The reason for this is simple, most hotels these days are dealing with a lack of parking space and are simply not staffed for parking large amounts of vehicles.

If you go any popular travel site that allows customers to rate the hotel they stayed at you will see hundreds of comments stating parking was an issue. Here are a few comments regarding hotel parking from TripAdvisor.com.

Saso G.

“The hotel is in nice location, owners are slowly investing in it, but the rooms are still in the 70s style. Rooms are clean and nice size. Staff is unfriendly. Problems with parking during the weekends when people are coming to the camp next to the hotel.”

Nancy C.

“Stayed for a meeting overnight & enjoyed my stay. Food & facilities are excellent and commendable staff. Asked front desk staff about not being able to get parking again & was told that they had a big event. I have been to this hotel 3 times before & didn’t have any parking slot available. It was good that the assistant manager welcomed me for my stay & was able to solve this parking issue.”

London L.

“Have stayed at this hotel numerous times. Nice room generally although room 101 was both too warm and noisy if windows are open. Negatives this time:
It states that parking is available but we were driving around for 25 minutes trying to park at around 8.30pm, in the end squeezing into a tiny spot that wasn’t actually a parking place. When mentioned to reception the response was “well we host quite a few functions so sorry for that”. Ok you might think but after a long drive the last thing I expected was a stressful drive around looking for parking, along with another visitor. Also was given a bill £16 more than was quoted, this was refunded after showing documentation of the initial price.  Nice hotel overall but customer service possibly needs a more proactive approach.”

Marriott Hotel Parking Valet ServiceYou can see there is a clear correlation between hotel parking management and a positive hotel experience.  In fact, most of the comments you will find that mention parking being an issue at the hotel or resort they stayed at usually have nothing but nothing but positive things to say about the business other than the parking but that still doesn’t necessarily make them leave a good star rating. This is why every hotel, resort, and casino should take into account the effects a lack of parking has on their establishment.

The Valet Spot carries a full line of valet parking equipment designed to meet the needs of any business looking to add valet service. Shop our entire line of valet podiums, parking signs, and other valet parking equipment with the best warranty in the parking industry.