Embracing Digital Tips: Why Valet Companies Should Make the Shift
In the fast-paced world of valet parking services, innovation is key to staying ahead of the competition and meeting the evolving needs of customers. One significant change that valet companies should consider is the adoption of digital tips (tipping via credit card or digital wallet). While the traditional method of tipping with cash may still have its place, embracing digital tips can offer numerous advantages for both valet companies and their staff. Oobeo Valet has offered digital tips in its software since 2017, so let’s look at what we have seen in this shift and its implications.
Convenience for customers
One of the most apparent benefits of digital tips is the convenience it offers to customers. In today’s increasingly cashless society, many people simply do not carry cash on them. By providing a digital tipping option, valet companies cater to the preferences of their clientele, ensuring that customers can easily reward their valet attendants without the hassle of finding cash. Many restaurants and bars have already gone cashless, further impacting the possibilities for the guest to be carrying cash.
Security and Transparency
Digital tips enhance security and transparency for both valet companies and customers. Traditional cash tips can be lost, stolen, or mishandled, creating potential disputes. With digital tips, every transaction is recorded electronically, reducing the chances of disputes and providing a clear record of tips received by valet attendants. This transparency can build trust between the company and its employees. By using a valet app that includes time cards and digital tips, your staff can even see in real-time their tip earnings for the shift. Using a valet app adds further security by avoiding the chance a valet accidentally takes a tip using their own personal device.
Accuracy and Fairness
Digital tipping platforms often allow customers to input the tip amount directly, reducing the likelihood of mistakes. This ensures that valet attendants receive the correct tips, promoting fairness within the workforce. Additionally, digital systems can enable automatic tip distribution among valet attendants, eliminating the need for them to split cash tips manually, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Oobeo Valet allows you to preset suggested tip amounts to present to the guest on their phone when they request their car.
Improved Tracking and Reporting
Digital tip systems provide valet companies with valuable data and insights. They can track tipping trends, peak tipping times, and individual performance more accurately. This data can help companies optimize their staffing levels and customer service strategies, ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
Contactless Payment Trends
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of contactless payment methods across various industries. Valet companies that embrace digital tips are more likely to align with the current trend toward contactless payments, enhancing the safety and hygiene of their services. This demonstrates a commitment to customer well-being, which can boost customer confidence and loyalty. Some of our clients embraced this early in the pandemic, even going so far as to stop taking in-person payments and requiring the guest to pay using their own phone.
Encouraging Larger Tips
Digital tipping platforms often offer preset tip amounts or the option to calculate tips as a percentage of the total bill. This can encourage customers to leave larger tips compared to cash tipping, where they might not have exact change or be inclined to tip generously. Valet attendants, in turn, may benefit from increased earnings, at Oobeo we have seen clients experiencing increased tips equal to a $3 per hour pay rise for valet staff, directly attributed to taking digital tips.
Embracing digital tips can give valet companies a competitive advantage in the market. By offering a modern, customer-centric approach to tipping, they differentiate themselves from competitors still relying on traditional cash tips. This can attract tech-savvy customers who value convenience and transparency.
Service industry workers depend on tips as a significant portion of their income. The shift to digital tipping introduces a new dynamic that service workers and employers must adapt to. To mitigate potential challenges, employers should ensure their workers have access to digital tipping methods and educate customers about these options.
The world is becoming increasingly digital, and valet companies should adapt to these changes to stay relevant and competitive. Embracing digital tips not only benefits customers by providing convenience and security but also empowers valet companies with improved tracking, reporting, and a competitive edge. By making the shift towards digital tips, valet companies can enhance their customer service, streamline their operations, and ensure fair compensation for their hardworking attendants. It’s time for the valet industry to embrace the future of tipping.
So what should you do?
Adapting to the shift towards a cashless society and changing tipping practices is crucial for businesses, especially those in the service industry.
Oobeo has you covered on a number of these items, but awareness is key! When we have conducted secret shopping of our valet clients who aren’t using credit card tips, the overwhelming reaction from the valets is they wish their employers would add the capability!
Accept Multiple Payment Methods: Ensure that your business accepts a variety of digital payment methods, including mobile wallets, contactless cards, and popular payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, or Apple Pay. This gives customers flexibility in how they pay for services and how they tip. In many cases this may mean faster checkout experiences for the guest = greater tips!
Provide In-App Tipping: If your business has a valet app, enable the in-app tipping feature. Make sure it is user-friendly and clearly visible to encourage customers to tip digitally.
Educate Customers: Raise awareness among your customers about the convenience and benefits of digital tipping. Display signage, send email or text reminders, and include information on your website or app explaining how to tip digitally.
Set Clear Tipping Guidelines: In cases where customers may need guidance on how much to tip, provide clear tipping guidelines on receipts, menus, or your website. This can help standardize tipping practices in a digital environment. Valet apps such as Oobeo also have the ability to set tips suggestions, which can help, especially with overseas guests.
Promote Hygiene and Safety: Emphasize the cleanliness and safety aspects of digital tipping, especially in a post-pandemic world. Highlight that digital methods reduce the risk of germ transmission compared to handling cash.
Train Staff: Ensure that your staff is well-trained in handling digital tips. They should be knowledgeable about various payment apps and be able to assist customers who may have questions or encounter issues when tipping digitally.
Offer Incentives: Consider offering incentives to customers who choose to tip digitally. This could be in the form of discounts, loyalty points, or special promotions to encourage the adoption of digital tipping.
Monitor and Manage Tips: Use technology to accurately track and distribute digital tips to your staff. This ensures transparency and helps avoid disputes over tip distribution.
Regularly Update Technology: Stay up-to-date with the latest payment technologies and ensure that your business is equipped with secure and reliable point-of-sale (POS) systems that support digital payments.
Seek Customer Feedback: Continuously gather feedback from customers about their tipping experiences. Use this feedback to make improvements in your digital tipping processes and address any issues that arise. Oobeo’s guest feedback and ratings feature is a great way to capture this customer feedback.
Engage with Payment Service Providers: Establish relationships with payment service providers and explore partnerships or integrations that can enhance the digital tipping experience for both customers and staff. Oobeo can work with almost any provider via our relationship with Authorize.net, or for a really streamlined experience customers can opt for Square payments which also gives access to cash app payments.
Stay Informed: Keep a close eye on industry trends and changes in payment regulations related to tipping. Being proactive and adaptive to these changes is essential for long-term success.