A live person is on the other end of Asheville Parking Services’ new video call assistant. The service is designed to help people who encounter any difficulty exiting a City parking garage after hours.
Say it’s after hours and for some reason the gate won’t open as you try to exit a City of Asheville parking garage. No problem. Asheville Parking Services has just installed an after-hours video call center to assist people with any issue they may encounter.
When you press the call button between the hours of 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, a real live person pops up on the video screen with these magic words: “How may I help you?”
“We’ve installed this video call center to improve our customer service for our guests at night,” said Parking Services Manager Harry Brown. “If someone needs assistance, they can press the call for service button for one of our representatives who is empowered to do certain things, such as raise the gate or give them guidance on the pay system. If the call center detects a problem, they will call Parking Services so someone can come rectify the problem.”
The service also keep records so Parking Services can detect trends in issues that might pop up.
And the system notifies the City when it thinks something may be awry. For example, there was a special event at the U.S. Cellular Center last week. When there is special event parking, parkers pay a fee at the entrance and then Parking Services leaves the gates open for people to exit. “The call center detected that our gates were open and called us to alert us to that,” Brown said. In that case the gates were supposed to be up.
Not only does the video call service put a friendly face on a sometimes frustrating situation it frees up security to do their job more effectively.
“It’s been working great for us,” said Parking Services security employee David Smith. “It’s freeing up security to do what they need to be doing, which is looking for trouble inside the decks and stairwells instead of running to the gates to help people with the pay system.”
So the next time you are exiting a City of Asheville parking garage after hours and you encounter any issue with paying or the gate not raising, simply press the call button. We’ll get you going in a hurry.
Parking fee reminder
Starting July 1, the hourly rate for parking in City of Asheville garages rose by a quarter, to $1.25. The first hour is still free! Revenue from this slight pay increase, approved by City Council, will be used to extend the life of the aging Civic Center Parking Garage. Special event parking at Civic Center Parking Garage will go up by $2. Revenue from that is earmarked for Thomas Wolfe Auditorium maintenance.
Hourly on-street metered parking rose to $1.50 April 1, also approved by City Council, with the additional money earmarked for the Civic Center Parking Garage. Read more about that and other Parking Services initiatives, such as smart meters, here.
For more information about downtown parking, visit the City’s Parking Services webpage.