We’re a talented bunch of people, all doing a fantastic job to make sure JustPark is the greatest parking app out there. We contemplate, collaborate and celebrate, but how much do we know about the different parts of our business?
Over the next few months, we’ll shine the spotlight on each of our departments and the first in this series is Customer Support.
Time and time again, drivers give us a five-star rating and based on over 500,000 reviews, we get a satisfaction score of 96%.
Of course, our products and technology play a huge role. But what goes on behind the scenes and more importantly, how we deal with our customers, is just as important.
Our support team started the same as many start-ups, with our founder and CEO (Anthony Eskinazi) dealing with customer queries. But as the business continued to grow, he realised he needed to hire more people.
Two years ago we had eight customer support agents. Today we have 24 team members across the world, dealing with space owners and drivers around the clock. This includes a recent partnership with an international service company that provides extended round the clock coverage. The team of seven have settled in well and are already serving over 2,000 customers per week.
This is proof of our genuine commitment to always give our customers an excellent service and build the world’s friendliest parking app.
Technology has already changed the world of customer support drastically over the last few years. As the barriers to technology drop, customers can access information 24/7 and expect quicker responses to their queries than ever before.
To continue delivering great customer service in a fast-changing world, businesses like ours have to adapt and keep up with what our drivers want and need.
The first step was to upgrade our back-office system. The previous system had been a reliable workhorse for many years, but it could no longer support the functionality of our software.
Our product and design teams worked closely with customer support agents to build a brand-new back-office tool from the ground up. We named it Solar - in line with Luna, the data platform we use for our business clients.
To help us deal with customer queries even more quickly, we worked with our partner Solvemate and launched our very own AI bot in September 2019. Parky taps into a bank of preloaded information and to date, has answered over 25,000 questions from customers. Both our customer support strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic and AI integration were nominated for the 2020 Engage Awards.
To align with the future trend of machine learning (using data and algorithms to analyse common customer phrases and words) we partnered with TrueAI. By using their TypeGenie product, our support agents can get answers for customers before they even start typing a response. With this tool, our customer support team now types 10,000 fewer words each week - so it’s saving us a lot of time.
Even with the latest technology in place, the success of customer support lies within the team. An unhappy team will not perform well and that will filter down to customers. Here at JustPark, we focus on hiring the right people, having the right tools and building the right culture.
Our customer agents are all resilient, forward thinking and supportive of each other. And with the right software in place, we can help them find the answers they need quickly.
The support department is also the place where the majority of our drivers come to give us feedback. So it’s vital to build a good culture and create a strong internal bond to ensure there is space to laugh, blow off steam and lessen the impact of customers with challenging issues.
Mike Miner, who until recently headed up Customer Support with Gabor Gyenes, says: “Just let them vent. People are sometimes angry and often not because of the issue we’ve caused, but perhaps because of some outside event and we can’t control that. Traffic might have been bad, they could have had a bad meeting and sometimes they just need to get that out. The key is to never take it personally, let them speak, listen and offer great support afterwards.”
It’s a simple recipe for success and encourages customers to continue using our service - and of course, give us five stars.
It’s important that front-line agents know our products better than anyone else. And like many scale-up businesses, we’re evolving fast. To be prepared for these changes, our support agents get regular individual and group training and coaching.
After Mike moved to the Mobility team, we welcomed Helen Tumminello who will now drive the strategy for Customer Support. Before joining JustPark, Helen was working as a consultant for a customer experience business, helping a variety of organisations shape their Voice of the Customer programmes and drive operational improvements. She also has operational experience leading customer-facing functions for brands such as easyJet, Hitachi, Mitie and FirstPort.
Helen will be looking at how we can build a customer-focused team that is both cost-effective and able to underpin our ambitious growth plans for the future. She says: “We want to be ready for when customers get in touch when they need us most. We need to look at how the mix of access channels best serves our customers especially at pain points in the customer journey.”
“This will also enable us to focus on speeding up getting to a resolution when the customer first contacts us, rather than encouraging those channels that require more to-ing and fro-ing to gather all the information we require. The focus over the next few weeks will be ensuring we have the capabilities and capacity to cost effectively handle those high volume, easy to solve service transactions using technology, and route the low-volume, more complex queries to our team members with the skills and experience best able to resolve them.”
Helen comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience and we’re happy to have her on board. She says: “I am delighted to have joined JustPark at such an exciting time and am ambitious to be part of its success going forward.”