I attended the Microsoft Tech Ready conference at theWashington State Convention Center this afternoon and parked my car in their parking garage. After I finished my work I walked to the self-service parking machines where I normally pay for parking with a credit card. There on big black and white signs I read, “Credit Cards Not Working. Pay at Booth”.
I got in my car and began making my way towards the exit when I realized there were lines and lines of cars trying to get out of the garage. I was one of the lucky ones who happened to be parked on the same level as the booth or it would have taken more a lot longer than 35 minutes it took me to reach the booth which was maybe 100 yards from where I’d parked.
The manager of the parking garage has a few choices here:
- Send more crew down with handheld credit card machines.
- Do nothing and let the lines back up angering every customers who used your service this evening.
- Open the gates and and let the 100 or so cars exit the parking garage for free.
Solution #1 requires lots of planning and probably isn’t reasonable in a short period of time. That it happened after 9 pm further complicates the situation.
Solution #2 is what happens when nobody has authority to think of the long-term effects of pissing off a hundred paying customers.
Solution #3 is the choice if you’re looking to take a bad situation and turn it into something your customers will tell their friends or blog about.
The problem is greed. Company greed. The two employees left to deal with the hundred upset customers were taught how to take money and nothing more. They weren’t taught to ensure their customers left the convention center happy let alone to exceed expectations.
So tonight the Convention Center got my $13 parking fee. But not tomorrow or Friday or ever again.