How AirGarage provides better service with OpenPhone

Industry
Logistics
Use cases
Customer support, Sales
Founded
2018
Headquarters
San Francisco, California
Previously using
Google Voice
We use OpenPhone because we want many different phone numbers so we can triage more easily.
Jonathon Barkl

When AirGarage founders Jonathon Barkl, Scott Fitsimones, and Chelsea Border got sick of paying high prices to park near campus at their university, they came up with a creative solution: pay the owners of nearby houses to use their empty driveways during the day. That led to the creation of a successful network of driveway owners renting spots to fellow college students.

They soon realized that the big opportunity wasn’t in driveways that can fit a couple cars, but in parking lots that can fit dozens. AirGarage is an end-to-end parking lot management platform that provides marketing, collects payments, handles customer service, and enforces legal parking for garages and lots across the U.S.

The challenge

After AirGarage transitioned from a peer-to-peer network of small driveways operated by a few founders to a larger operation managing several multi-space lots, they needed more robust customer communications.

"We were making the transition from just me as one of the founders doing all the customer support from a Google Voice phone number," says CEO Jonathon Barkl, "to now we’re starting to hire people and we need some way for them to respond to customer support issues and answer phone calls."

The shared communications history in OpenPhone is just so valuable. We can all see, at any time, what is the full history of that conversation between AirGarage, the company, and this individual.
Jonathon Barkl
CEO at AirGarage
Jonathon Barkl headshot

With Google Voice, the AirGarage team struggled to share the support load. They also had no way to assess the importance of each incoming call.

"When it was just one Google Voice number, it’s not very good for sharing. And if you pick up calls from just one phone number, it could be anybody — it could be a parking lot owner or it could be a driver," says Jonathon. "So then you have to pick up every phone call to that line because it could be the most important phone call you get all day."

Their call volume also became too high for one person to be able to handle calls from multiple groups of customers and partners, including drivers parking in AirGarage-managed lots, lot owners, and enforcement operators. Expansion also meant AirGarage began dedicating resources to sales.

"Our communications with customers became siloed," says Jonathon. "Each person on the team had their own phone number on their own separate phones. Nobody could see who was talking to lot owners and what the history of the conversation was."

Their existing phone system setup also made it hard to properly route calls to the right teammate and made onboarding new contractors tedious, as Jonathon had to manually send welcome messages to everyone they hired.

Everything we do as a company is a shared history so that any one person can step in immediately and take over a function, a task, or a relationship and understand what’s happened.

The solution

Fortunately, AirGarage found OpenPhone early on, and as they’ve grown to manage lots across the U.S., they’ve expanded their use of OpenPhone to continue meeting their needs. 

Managing call volume and knowing when incoming calls are from parking lot owners or drivers are no longer issues. With OpenPhone Jonathon and his team have dedicated, shared phone numbers to provide support for parking lot owners, drivers, and their network of contract enforcement workers, as well as for sales. 

"It’s really useful to be able to say, okay, if someone is calling this phone number we can tell who they are  before we even pick up," says Jonathon. "We use OpenPhone because we want many different phone numbers so we can triage more easily."

Jonathon also uses the OpenPhone Zapier integration to save time onboarding new contractors. When someone applies on Craigslist, they receive an email containing a link to an Airtable form. Jonathon can review applications and mark anyone as accepted, which automatically pushes a welcome text message via OpenPhone containing a link to AirGarage’s app. 

"For me, it’s not having to type the same message a million times. This saves me so much time doing it that way because I’m usually onboarding in batches of 50 to 100," says Jonathon. 

OpenPhone provides AirGarage a centralized location for all their customer-facing communication, which has improved the quality of that communication overall. In Jonathon’s words, OpenPhone has "unsiloed" their customer communication so “we can all see, at any time, what is the full history of that conversation between AirGarage, the company, and this individual.”

OpenPhone has enabled AirGarage to raise their standard level of service by making it easier to triage incoming calls and share communications histories between teammates. Anyone on the team can answer customer inquiries at any time with full context.

"The shared communications history in OpenPhone is just so valuable," says Jonathon. "Everything we do as a company in terms of lot owner support, driver support, enforcement support, all of that is a shared history so that any one person can step in immediately and take over a function, a task, or a relationship and understand what’s happened in that relationship and be able to pick it up without causing any hiccups."

Bottom line

OpenPhone unifies customer communication in a single place, allowing anyone on the AirGarage team to solve customer problems with full context.

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