Data Trend Analysis in Parking
As a finance executive, I often ask myself, how do I make sense of all the trends and different delivery models presented to me? Starting in the 1990's, companies began to invest in business intelligence, which evolved into big data (previously companies had mainframes and AS400s crunching data). Questions arose as to how to gather data and information: customer service surveys, website cookies, applications, social media–an ever-expanding list of methods and opportunities. As a company–and more specifically a finance department–our bottom line is not net income. Rather, providing accessible support both internally, to our operational team members, and externally, to our clients, is the primary focus of our efforts.
Utilizing Data to Facilitate the Peak Customer Experience
How do we implement the data trend analysis that will provide our team members and clients with the most relevant, valuable information for their respective operations? I certainly don’t have the silver bullet, but I believe there are several key steps:
- First, we must understand what the customer wants and values. Many of us provide services directly or indirectly to end customers. We have to understand what these customers value so that we can provide goods and services accordingly. A good example of this would be providing parking services to special events where most attendees want an easy way to get to the venue and a quick way to get out.
The second step is to implement or utilize transactional data from the operational and financial systems to determine the products and services customers value the most. We compare data from multiple properties and locations to understand how the customer values the respective services, keeping in mind that customer experience drives growth and commitment to a brand.
The final and most critical component to business is engagement both internally, with our operational team members, and externally, with our clients. As a finance leader, it is important for me to be seen, emphasizing the importance of engaging our clients directly via verbal and electronic communication. This helps us understand any challenges our customers may face, as well as what data would be most useful in implementing their respective solutions. We don’t establish calls or meetings just to check a box. Rather, we establish an agenda with specific topics to address. By working together, we can prevent issues from occurring instead of resolving them.
In summary, all trends, technology, and solutions are great. But as a company, we need to understand what our clients and customers want and use that understanding to directly engage them to deliver the highest possible value for our service.
Brian Dubay: Chief Financial Officer
Brian Dubay joined Lanier Parking as the CFO in 2015. He is a senior finance executive with hands-on finance experience in Operational Finance, Sarbanes-Oxley PMO, Internal Audit, and IT/Risk Management. Brian has also gained broad public accounting experience in the Big Four. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Information System Auditor whose breadth of experience includes solving both day-to-day and global project issues.