The Lost Ticket: But How Does it End? by Cindy Campbell

I think of myself as an optimist. Keeping that in mind, let’s say I recently “created the opportunity” to fully experience the effect of losing my airport parking ticket/gate coupon. Perhaps a few of you have experienced that same sense of dread when you’ve frantically searched for that confounded date/time-stamped ticket to no avail. In my case, I returned to the airport after midnight with no attendant on duty, and no way to pay the $72 parking fee I rightfully owed. No, my only immediate option was to pay out the lost ticket fee … of $350.00. Pretty steep punishment for being disorganized. Having said that, I know the rules and why they exist, so I paid the full fee, whimpered a little (or a lot), and figured I’d call the parking management company the next day to explain my plight.

As I placed the call to the airport parking office, there were two thoughts going through my mind:

  1. This must happen a lot. There’s likely an appeal process for forgetful morons like me.
  2. No matter the outcome, this customer service contact is going to become a story to use during future customer service training sessions. Whether it’s a going to be a good story or a bad story has yet to be determined.

I called the number and immediately went to voicemail. The friendly, outgoing message from the parking supervisor informed me that she would call back within the hour. (Oh yes, I would be timing it.) Sure enough, within 10 minutes, I had a return call. I began my explanation with an apology for my error as well as a clear assumption that there would be a process by which I could receive a partial refund. Without hesitation, the parking supervisor told me not to worry, this kind of thing happens frequently. When I told her that I had not yet located my ticket, she further assured me that there was a simple process to verify my actual parking use at the airport and once that could be confirmed, she assured me that a refund would be processed. During the entire call, her voice tone was friendly and understanding. Everything about this interaction alleviated my concerns and confirmed that there was a caring, knowledgeable parking professional on the job.

After our business conversation concluded, I let her know that I was also in the parking industry and commended her for how well she handled this customer service interaction. “Wendy” went on to tell me that she’s been in the parking service industry for more than 23 years and she loves what she does for a living. She feels good about being able to help people with their parking issues and concerns. I told her that feeling came through loud and clear.

Needless to say, I’m adding this to the list of good stories to be told during future trainings.

2 thoughts on “The Lost Ticket: But How Does it End? by Cindy Campbell

  1. Cindy – A great story indeed. But this isn’t the audience who needs to hear it. We know our good staff members who not only “do their jobs” but do it well. Unfortunately, the stories that people (customers) see are about rogue enforcement, unfriendly parking policies, corrupt officials and such. So while this is a nice story (and one that I hope was shared with “Wendy’s” company) what is IPI doing to promote parking in a positive light and to combat these negative stories?

  2. Great blog Cindy. I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head on a number of fronts. First, a key to providing great customer service is being reasonable. When we equip our people with tools to solve customer problems we almost always deliver great service. If we give our people only one option – “No, I can’t help you” – we can expect the exact opposite. You’ve also highlighted the importance of having the right technology. Whatever system allowed the airport to know your length of stay gives them the opportunity to charge you only for your actual stay – and no more – even if the sign suggested that a lost ticket would result in a steep fine. Thanks for sharing your story.

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