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It can seem like a never ending task... it is! Staying ahead of the competition requires work. As owners, car wash operators often times work "in" their businesses, but also need to make the time to work "on" them. Creating a plan to evaluate and monitor the car wash facility from their customer's point-of-view is important and taking actions and following through with updates and adjustments is vital. This is the extra "support" that an owner can provide.
Getting started in the planning process is often times the hardest part. One "keep it simple" concept is called, Support "4" Your Car Wash. Using this simple outline as an ongoing guide for evaluating your wash as your customer sees it can help you keep your edge on the competition. It can help you focus on some basic, but important, areas of the "consumer car wash experience" that you provide.
Support "4" Your Car Wash
#1 Focus on your car wash's overall appearance to the public.
- Clean = Clean. Wash bays and surrounding areas won't clean themselves.
- Attractive landscaping and bright lighting adds to the experience.
- Open and inviting. Don't let your lot get cluttered.
#2 Implement a marketing program to inform, educate, and excite consumers. Highlight extra services!
- CAR WASH CAR WASH CAR WASH… Make sure your site signage is clear.
- Provide menus that are easy to follow. Consumers should be able to make purchase decisions in 15 seconds or less.
- Explain features and benefits in snippets: "Best Value" "Get Glossy" "Protect & Shine".
- Offer the best super-sealant in the top package, or ala' carte, and use Logos or bright colors to make it jump off the menu.
- Create limited-time specials on tire-shine treatments or bug removal packages to get customers involved and satisfied.
#3 Develop a car wash team that displays the same commitment to your customer’s satisfaction as you have.
- Observe and evaluate the little things they do, or don't do, to please customers and improve your wash site or business process.
- Know your team. Interact regularly to understand more than their strengths or weaknesses. Knowing what drives people helps you lead them effectively.
- Tune them in to the company vision and mission. Make them feel a part of the company's goals and aspirations. This will encourage them to take ownership and perform as a team.
- Make it fun, because happy employees are productive employees. Also, your customers will sense the positive energy that motivated and energized employees exude.
#4 Monitor the overall effectiveness of changes or promotions and continuously look for areas of improvement.
- Keep accurate records of the car wash's sales performance as changes are made or promotions are run.
- Watch your competitors for their responses to your promotions.
- Speak with vendors regarding promotional ideas they have seen work effectively. Suppliers can be a great resource for new ideas. Keep things fresh!
- Be part of a positive, pleasant team of car wash professionals.
In the end… well, it never really ends! Working "on" your business should be a part of your regular, ongoing activities as a successful car wash owner. If you're not evaluating your business as your customer sees it and making improvements to meet their needs, you will never gain or maintain the competitive advantage that allows your business to thrive.
Using a simple tool like Support "4" Your Car Wash might be a good step towards Staying Ahead of Your Competition!
By: Doug Marquis, Vice President, Lustra Car Care Products
For more information go to Lustrabear.com.