As we all know, the benefits of moving away from a manual based permit solution to a web-based self-service solution are multiple. Besides the value of driving down service costs, self-service portals are a progressively vital element of the customer experience.
Customers increasingly prefer to complete transactions themselves via the internet—whenever and wherever they want—rather than having to make a call or travel in person to a business location. Since customer experiences are so crucial to achieving competitive advantage, so are self-service customer portals.
In this article we shall share with you 5 top tips on what parking operators should be aware of when considering deploying a self-service portal solution for handling permits.
- Create and maintain requirements.
Requirements capture and mapping out the user journey should be mandatory. It is imperative that you map out any existing manual process and document all known use cases and edge cases that may be involved (for example “Taxi Driver requesting and paying for a permit”, “Permit administrator approving a request” etc.). Typically this process should be completed once for each permit type (for example Staff Parking Permit) and reviewed and updated for each customer deployment.
- Understand where data is stored and who owns what.
We are now part of a data transformation revolution and parking operators need to ensure they are aware of the regulations and their role in handling personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will give people more control over their personal information when it is passed into law in 2018, superseding the UK’s outdated Data Protection Act, which was drafted in the 1990s.
Therefore, when choosing what self-service permit solution to deploy, responsible parking operators need to ensure there is clarity on aspects such as where data is stored, how is it backed-up, for how long and ownership.
- Plan for roll-out and migration.
When moving to an online permit solution, there are often a number of activities involved that have to be considered to ensure minimal disruption and mitigate risk.
Parking operators should create deployment specific roll-out plans that include aspects such as data migration activities (should permit data be imported?), quality assurance (how will deployments be tested prior to launch?), communication plan (what messages/training to customers and internal staff?) and stability period (how long the solution will be closely monitored post-launch?). Best practice project management methodologies and techniques should be followed to ensure a seamless delivery.
- Prepare for support.
Like any manual process that may be prone to human error, online solutions do occasionally fail and with self-service customer portals there is an expectation for high quality support and rapid responsiveness. This expectation takes a new dimension when you also factor in that parking permits can be very expensive and customers are becoming more data aware (see point 2. above).
Parking operators need to ensure they have the right resources and processes in place to manage support accordingly otherwise fines and/or bad publicity may result which without saying can be incredibly damaging.
If using third party suppliers, ensure that a clear Service Level Agreement (SLA) and/or service warranty is in place and ensure the support process is clearly communicated to all stakeholders.
- Think about the future.
As with any software solution, it is always advisable to think ahead as much as possible in order to ensure future relevance and reusability. Naturally, this can be a fine line and often hard to do when there are tight timelines and business pressures at stake. As a rule of thumb, ensure that any self-service portal developed conforms to the following:
- Non-bespoke and built on an industry proven framework
- Best practice standards based API enabling external systems to integrate (for example barrier ANPR providers, internal HR systems etc.)
- Uses modular themes enabling easy UI enhancements and customization
Mobile Worker Plus provides a number of self-service portals to parking operators across multiple sectors addressing issues around permit management (taxi, staff residential), staff/contractor training and ticketing. The portals are built upon a framework that enables rapid customization, integration and deployment. For more information please read more about what we do.