According to car wash industry research, there’s been a boom in small car wash businesses. ICA estimates show that the industry has never been this competitive, with nearly 80,000 car washes in North America fighting for their slice of the $15-billion industry. If you want to get an edge on your competitors, you need to treat your customer base like royalty. After all, retaining existing customers is much more cost effective than finding new ones.
That said, here are a few things you can do to increase customer loyalty at your car wash:
When most buyers compare businesses that offer the same product, pricing becomes a major influencer in their initial decision process. But once the consumer has purchased your wash, what was their experience? Was there anything to wow them? What will make them come back to your wash, or will they go down the street and check out the other guy? Consumers are inclined to pay a little more for services or a wash experience that is superior to a less expensive wash. By addressing these questions, you will be able to maximize your pricing and maintain customer loyalty. It is important to analyze your market to determine what pricing is reasonable. You don’t want to price yourself out of your area.
You can maximize profits by making sure your operation is running efficiently at every step. Are you utilizing water and chemicals efficiently? Is each chemical process working together to enhance the next application? Are your suppliers working with you to create a superior customer experience? Using the right products — correctly — for each part of the wash, using energy- and water-efficient equipment, and finding a supplier who can deliver products reliably, affordably and with good turnaround times all become crucial factors in car wash success. If you can optimize business operations and provide an awesome wash experience it will translate directly into profits and keep customers returning.
Some customers are willing to pay more for a competitor’s service if they think they will receive better treatment or extra services for their dollars — you need to make sure you’re going the extra mile. Unforgettable service isn’t made by just one or two small changes, however: it’s something that you need to provide consistently... Here are some small ways to turn your service into a top-notch winner:
- Answer customer inquiries quickly
- Get washes done quickly, without sacrificing the quality of the service. This is where using superior equipment and chemicals comes into play
- Deliver excellent washes and detailing, even at the lowest price points
- Cut down customer wait times by ensuring an efficient system through the wash
Excellent service can also be delivered through a memorable car wash: for example, using products that produce a heavy foam, leave a pleasant fragrance, or come in a variety of bright colors. If you can put a smile on your customer’s face, creating an experience, it’s something they will remember and want to come back to.
What good are great services or prices if no one knows about them? Establishing good and consistent channels of communication — through social media and email as well as traditional channels like brochures and flyers — can keep customers from going to your competition. What’s more, it could be the make-or-break in convincing on-the-fence home washers to use professional services. You should not underestimate the power of good marketing in both sustaining and creating business.
Who doesn’t like rewards? Saying to your customers “you’ve done ten washes — this one is on us” has a huge psychological effect on customers, and has a much greater long-term benefit than loss from offering ‘free’ washes or extras (for example, free detailing on slightly more expensive washes). Another version of this is a discount for senior citizens or for military veterans, or special days that offer cheaper washes to families — or perhaps ladies on Valentine’s Day or dads on Fathers day.
Your car wash can greatly benefit from having a good loyalty program that incentivizes customers to come back for another wash. Just make sure it’s easy to sign up and well advertised when they bring their car in — and that the progress of the loyalty program can be easily recorded for both you and your customer’s convenience.
These are just some of the things you should consider to ensure repeat business. However, the greatest tool in your business strategy is partnering with the right people for your car wash. At ChemQuest, we’ve been helping car washes across the country build their businesses into successful industry leaders. We bring our special brand of excellent customer support, the best chemical products, and unmatched support to help companies thrive and push ahead of their competition.
Best of all, find out how we can help you first-hand. Simply click here, complete the form, and one of our chemical experts will contact you to help you discover how we can ensure a brighter future for your car wash.