Cultivating a faithful customer base is no easy task and must be considered one of the most important objectives of any new car wash. But once a critical mass of happy local customers are familiar with the brand and wash process, a wash’s work is still far from over. Maintaining these customer relationships and encouraging both increased loyalty and frequency among return customers is an ongoing objective crucial for meeting a facility’s maximum potential.
While closely related, loyalty and frequency are each distinct objectives:
- Loyalty refers to an individual customer’s preference towards one car wash (or car wash chain) above all others
- Frequency, on the other hand denotes how often that individual actually visits and uses that particular car wash
Both of these factors must be considered when organizing strategy and programming at the wash, as both will have a profound and enduing impact on a car wash’s future.
Strategies to Encourage Customer Loyalty:
Emphasize Club and Membership Programs
Club and membership programs have been a boon to the car wash industry and are now widespread, and their adoption by a local car wash facility is a potent tool for building loyal decades-long customers. By offering a good deal on a monthly VIP club membership, customers feel as though they belong and become more loyal and locked in. At the same time, those customers who are the biggest fans and who most appreciate and associate with the business will generally become club members over time.
Remember, when a customer joins a club, typically with a month-to-month or longer commitment, they are putting down money for the right to have their car washed more often at the wash they prefer and at a better overall cost. This means that that customer is, with few exceptions, exclusively giving their business to one wash—and that means that that customer and their business should be prized and guarded jealously.
Establish VIP Lanes
Busy days at the car wash make for long lines and wait times that can turn away potential customers. VIP or Cub Member lanes provide a possible solution while also rewarding a wash’s most loyal customers/club members with special recognition and priority wash admittance.
Get the Word Out Through Community Involvement
Once an individual customer feels associated with a particular wash, they naturally become more aware of it and more willing to act as cheerleaders and boosters when the car wash comes up in conversation. Therefore, a wash’s leadership should make use of opportunities to build up their community exposure, expanding the wash’s presence in the community through events such as fundraisers, sponsorships, participation in community programs, parade floats, and more.
These events also make great topics to broadcast through social media marketing.
Deliver Stellar On-Site Customer Service
Positive on-site interactions between staff and customers can start yielding loyal customers from day one. Operators must make sure that all wash employees are prepared to do whatever it takes to delight customers, going above and beyond to put smiles on their faces and leave a great impression.
Strategies to Encourage Customer Frequency
Increase Processing Speed
Customers don’t come to the car wash to while away the hours. They want a wash that fits into their schedule and takes up as little time as possible. Review your process from start to finish, including the payment process, prep/presoak, wash equipment, and how long it takes to exit the wash, and optimize.
Deliver on Quality
Delivering a fast wash is a great incentive to keep people coming back—but only if the quality is equally great. Once customers become used to having a spotless vehicle with minimal effort on their own part, it is much more likely that they will continue coming back more and more often to maintain that appearance. But don’t underestimate the effort it takes to keep your chemicals and equipment in top working order.
Modernize with an LPR or Tag System for Your Club
Automatic admittance dramatically cuts down on wait times in the queue and can increase a facility’s total output dramatically. While RFID tags are a traditional solution, higher-tech and lower maintenance License Plate Reader solutions (With Wash Club App) is on the rise. This automation makes customers feel special and welcome, reduce the load on your cashier staff, and increases the utility of the VIP lane as well.
Customers will generally pull in for a wash when a) their vehicles really need it, or b) when it is convenient to do so due to proximity. So how to you improve your wash’s proximity to more of your customers and club members? By opening up new locations.
This is, of course, not an overnight solution. But expanding with uniform, well-branded facilities spread across a local or regional area can help create a critical density of customers leading to more frequent washes per customer, more market penetration, and even reduced local competition.
For car wash detergents, equipment, and more visit the Tommy Car Wash systems webstore. For Franchise information, please visit the Tommy’s Express Car Wash Franchise Information Page. And for information on the NEW Tommy Car Wash Systems Wash Club App, please visit WASH.CLUB
Tommy Car Wash Systems