Regina Int’l Optimizes Parking with 24/7 Call Center and On-site Customer Service Reps

Regina Int’l Optimizes Parking with 24/7 Call Center and On-site Customer Service Reps
Ronnie Wendt
Published in: 

Before recent upgrades, parking at Regina International (YQR) was like parking at many airports. The system worked well most of the time. But when there were problems, customers had to wait for help, sometimes up to half an hour.

“That was not an acceptable level of service for us,” says Justin Reves, manager of Customer Experience and Marketing for the Regina Airport Authority.

Knowing that parking is the first and the last impression many passengers have of an airport, YQR improved its system. 


Project: New Parking Operations Manager & Customer Service Call Center

Location: Regina (SK) Int’l Airport

System Configuration: 7 entry lanes,
8 exit lanes

System Provider: 
TIBA Parking Systems

Parking Manager: Platinum Parking Canada

Customer Service Call Center:
Parker Technology

Software & Network Updates:
Nortech Parking Systems

Timeline: Fall 2022

2 months

Equipment Costs: Nominal expenses to replace credit card readers

Key Components: 24/7 call center; on-site customer service personnel; software & firmware updates; new server to reduce dropped calls

Key Benefits: Improved customer experience; enhanced revenue collection

“Delivering an exceptional customer experience is our top priority,” Reves explains. “Our upgraded parking operation gives us peace of mind. We know all customers will receive prompt, quality service, no matter the time of day.” 

The Saskatchewan airport, which served 763,840 passengers in 2022 and expects to see around 1 million passengers in 2023, selected Parker Technology to provide 24/7 phone assistance for customers who encounter problems entering, exiting or paying for parking. In addition, it contracted Platinum Parking Canada to provide on-site customer support via four “parking ambassadors.”

The results are exceeding expectations, reports Reves. “Parker Technology and Platinum take care of everything,” he says. “Dissatisfied customers no longer come to the Airport Authority with complaints, which is a very good litmus test for how they are performing.”

Although hard numbers are not yet available following changes last fall, Reves predicts that the operational improvements will boost parking profits. “We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people choosing to park in our long-term parking,” he notes. 

James Vergie, regional manager of Platinum Parking Canada, is more definitive: “Since taking over operations in October, parking revenue has gone up every month. We are fixing the immediate problems so we can collect parking revenue from every customer.”

Integrating the Upgrades

Like many airports across the globe, YQR uses technology and applications from TIBA Parking Systems to track the comings and goings of vehicles at its parking facilities. In total, the airport has seven entry lanes and eight exit lanes for its short-term, long-term, overflow and employee parking garages and lots. 

Because the airport didn’t want to replace this technology and associated equipment, all new changes had to integrate with its existing systems. “There’s a lot of things that TIBA equipment can do, and we needed companies that could take advantage of that,” Reves explains. “Platinum was aware of the system inside and out, and Parker Technology had an API integration with the equipment.”

Parker’s application programming interface allows its offsite customer service staff to troubleshoot misread tickets, calculate fees and push receipts to mobile devices so travelers can get on their way. 

Platinum also needed Parker’s software platform to integrate smoothly with the TIBA equipment so the team could dispatch onsite personnel. “We needed that integration on the call center side to ensure calls connected correctly, and customer service representatives could see where the call was coming from,” says James Vergie, regional manager of Platinum Parking Canada.

Vergie explains that each TIBA device is set up as an endpoint in Parker’s software to indicate which machine a call comes from. This allows the remote customer service reps to use the appropriate script for YQR and its specific equipment. “They even have photos of each device, so they can instruct them how to insert their ticket or credit card correctly,” he says.

The technology also tells Platinum the precise location of customers who need help from onsite staff.

New Capabilities From Existing Systems

In addition to providing onsite customer support, Platinum also manages YQR’s 1,610 parking stalls spread out in four locations. Before it came on board, the airport wasn’t fully benefiting from its TIBA systems because the software hadn’t been properly updated. In fact, some functions, including the license plate readers, didn’t work at all. “We couldn’t run audits or see who was on the lot for extended periods,” Vergie notes. “We didn’t have a way to track when people abandoned vehicles on the lot, which happens more often than you might think.”

Platinum Parking’s sister company, Nortech, updated all software and rebuilt a new network on site. This solved many issues, including chronic technical problems during customer service calls. “The customer could be in the middle of explaining their problem and the call would drop and they had to start over,” Vergie laments. “The network could not handle everything because there was too much data going through. With the upgraded network, calls rarely drop.”

In addition, the new application programming interface integration between Parker and TIBA allows customers to pay at terminals inside the parking garage and drive through exit gates without scanning tickets.

Vergie notes that the new system is allowing YQR to capture revenue that was previously not collected when customers lost (or claimed to lose) their parking tickets. Now, Parker can scan license plates to retrieve objective information about when such customers enter and exit, and collect the appropriate fees.

Local businesses that frequently fly employees in and out of the airport have also benefited from the tech upgrades. “We created a validation program with a QR code specific to those clients,” says Vergie. “Employees receive a ticket by scanning the code. Later, they scan that ticket on their way out, and the system sends the company a bill at the end of the month.”

Reves says that the valuable upgrades came at a nominal cost to the airport. “It’s been a seamless transition,” he adds. “We did not need to buy new equipment. There were some minor costs in swapping out a few credit card readers inside the terminals. But all of that was pretty minor because of the integration within the TIBA system.”

The entire switch happened over a few weeks in October. Platinum coordinated the shift with the airport’s previous vendor and transitioned all systems to Parker Technology. “It was a seamless transition that customers did not even notice,” Reves reports.

A Better Customer Experience

Automated equipment has replaced cashiers in entry and exit lanes, but that alone does not equate to good customer service. Many people still crave human interaction, says Brian Wolff, president and chief executive officer of Parker Technology.

“When airports started putting in machines with call buttons, no one really expected anyone to press them,” Wolff muses. “As a result, travelers waited a long time for help when they were stuck.”

At YQR, Parker provides human response with a personalized touch. Reves notes that customer service reps even use the local pronunciation of “Regina” (jai vs. gee) when they answer calls for assistance.

Most customer problems are easily resolved, Wolff notes. Usually, they just need someone to walk them through the process when they lose their ticket, don’t know where to put the ticket, or can’t get the system to read their credit card.   

“We have built a business around catching help calls from over 750 parking facilities across North America, and 85% of the time, people press the help button because they are confused,” he shares. “Every machine is a little different and they don’t interact with parking technologies very often. About 3% of parking customers will experience a problem they need help with.”

The mission of Parker Technology is helping parking customers so they can complete their transactions and get on their way. “We give [airports] the ability to put a virtual ambassador in every lane because it would be cost prohibitive to staff every lane,” Wolff remarks.

YQR’s virtual ambassadors help travelers when they are stuck or confused. “Within 15 seconds, we answer the call and walk them through the transaction,” he explains. “The customer is happy because they got helped quickly by a well-trained, empathetic person.” 

The company puts its customer service reps through extensive training and has a quality control department that monitors every call, adds Wolff. Calls are audited to ensure a prompt greeting, proper engagement, appropriate initiative, strong close, etc.

Parker Technology worked with Platinum and YQR to develop responses to specific situations call center service reps are likely to encounter, such as how to help customers insert their tickets, or what to do if equipment malfunctions. They also needed to know about the airport’s policy for towing vehicles, when a customer service representative can open the exit gate, and so on.

“We have a full implementation process that sets up rules for every situation and uploads pictures of the equipment and all details so that our customer service representatives know exactly what to do,” Wolff says.

As new scenarios emerge, the rules and responses can change accordingly. “We figure out how to best handle the situation, then create a rule or concept that gets implemented into the system for the call center,” Wolff explains. “When that situation arises, the customer service representative can see the new rule and answer that customer within a few seconds.”

All the specific information lives within Parker Technology’s software. The system also lets customer service reps know whether they are getting a call from an employee lot, long-term or short-term parking, and in what lane. “When they take a call, they know exactly where the customer is,” Vergie says. “The software matches the call to the rules for that facility.”

The new processes for responding to customers who need help give Reves a lot of confidence. “As parking experts, Platinum could identify most of the challenges people will have and walked us through how to respond to them,” he relates. “I really appreciated the help to onboard all the business rules.”

Parker uses audit results to tweak business rules if they are not quite right. “We can even change rules on the fly,” Wolff says. “The customer service representative will see the rule changes on their screen immediately so they know what to do.”

He adds that YQR benefits from the company’s experience because its customer service team has collectively answered more than 4 million calls about parking since 2010. “They know parking and the software tells them the rest,” he concludes.

Digging Into the Data

Parker Technology’s cloud-based software platform tracks all call interactions in a dashboard. This allows the airport and Platinum to review call recordings, track call volume, understand why guests are calling for help, and hear customer service reps resolving situations.

The airport can use these insights to enhance the customer experience and make necessary adjustments to parking operations, Wolff points out. 

Vergie considers the online portal one of the best things about the new system. “Within this portal you call pull dates, times and get every reason for every call that comes in,” he remarks. “You can cross reference the recorded call against the notes. We use this data in our monthly reports for the airport.”

The data helps identify trends, such as when the same people forget their parking pass (ticket). It also identifies specific systems that have functionality problems or ticket equipment that repeatedly jams. “We can see those issues and resolve them so that they’re not constant problems,” Wolff explains. “Platinum takes care of everything from refilling the paper to repairing the machines.”

Wolff also emphasizes the importance of prompt service. “We know that time is money, and that is never more important than at an airport when someone is trying to catch a flight or get home to loved ones.”

For Reves, YQR’s recent changes to parking operations met his top goal—service that leaves a great first and last impression. “Customers have a choice of where to park,” he concludes. “A great experience will drive them to make the airport their first choice for parking.”


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