Is your parking company starting an international growth journey? Read this first.
More and more parking companies are aiming for international growth to boost their profitability. But what does it take to succeed? While customer needs and preferences are fairly similar across countries, the legal and technical requirements surrounding payments can look very different. Find out how to sharpen your offering and free up resources to enter new markets.
Focus on customer demands as competition intensifies
Competition for parking customers is fierce. The key to keeping users happy and loyal – and ultimately gaining market share – is to offer the best possible customer experience. This is particularly true when it comes to payment – which is a fundamental part of the service you offer. Whatever markets you are in today, or plan to enter, you need to be able to satisfy the four following basic requirements to stand a chance in the battle for customers.
1. A seamless user experience Finding a parking space and then paying for it should require a minimal amount of effort. The more manual entry steps customers have to do, the more likely they are to choose another provider.**
2. Flexible payment options Most customers would probably prefer having to download fewer parking apps. But when it comes to how and when they pay, many appreciate the flexibility of being able to choose between payment methods such as cards, direct debit, invoice or popular mobile payments services.
3. Clarity and transparency Customers want to know what they are paying for and to whom, as well as who to reach out to if they have questions. Outsourcing payment or claims management, so that a completely different company name appears on the bank statement, can create unnecessary confusion.
4. Quick feedback if something goes wrong While late fees and reminder charges can be an important source of income, this income needs to be weighed against the cost of a dissatisfied (or lost) customer. In the long run, you are likely to benefit from offering your customers the much appreciated opportunity to quickly make another attempt to pay on time.
What does it take to break into new markets?
Once you've made sure these requirements are met, it's time to take your offer to your prioritized markets. This is where it can get really complicated. For each new country you establish a presence in, you need to answer a series of questions, such as:
- What requirements do we need to meet to start billing within the country?
- How do invoices need to be structured?
- What are the regulations for claims management?
- Which payment methods are most established and what changes are coming up in the near future?
- How will our existing IT infrastructure need to change?
This research, as well as the measures you need to take to adapt your business, can take up a lot of internal resources. And in a growth phase, it's particularly important to use resources wisely - otherwise a more agile player will get ahead of you.
Streamline administration before you take the plunge
Before expanding internationally, it is wise to first review your internal invoicing and payment processes and automate as many steps as possible. Otherwise, each inefficient piece of administration risks growing exponentially with every new market you enter.
The aim should be to hone as agile and scalable a concept as possible, to free up the resources needed to meet the different needs and challenges in each market. It is a good idea to enlist the help of a flexible partner who can support you with a payment process for multiple markets. This is far more efficient than having to look for a separate solution for each country.
Do you want to learn more about the benefits of growing with the same payments partner in multiple markets? Contact us!