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More humanity, more loyalty, more business success

Overlooked by most businesses today in their drive for material success is an approach that includes humane activity to help build a loyal customer base.

September 28, 2012
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Suppose we were to demonstrate to our clients that we cared about them in some special way that would signal to them that they really were something special. Do you think that would do something to enhance your business and make it more profitable? Do you think it would create a bond between your business and the client and because of their gratitude they show their loyalty by always coming back to you for their service?

Human interaction

The carwash business, as it is evolving today, is moving more and more into the realm of automation, and with it, there is less and less contact with the client. Go to an express carwash today and you might not even see another human being. A kiosk greets you warmly, and instructs you on what to do and how to pay for the services you have selected.

So after paying the lady in the box you are instructed to follow the procedures to carry you from one end of the carwash to the other. The conveyor gently moves your car through the bright, well lit tunnel, and the washers, almost like robots with cloth in their hands, sweep across your car gently removing the soil. Lights flash in a psychedelic dance and the foams in various colors bounces off the hood before your eyes. The raining down of horizontal thin streams of water washes away all the accumulated foam, soaps and waxes, creating a dazzling sparkle to the car’s finish.

The air blowers send their streams of wind down on the car at high velocities removing all the water by creating tiny little particles of moisture that are swept off the top and side surfaces, easily leaving almost a dry car. At the end of the tunnel another screen thanks you for your business, and off you go on to your next destination.

A program I have worked on in collaboration with Kevin Detrick, president and of Innovative Control Systems (ICS) provides the client with just that something that demonstrates that someone cares about them.

A simple, but successful idea comes to life

It’s a simple idea, but it is working wonders in express carwashes around the country. It’s the  Green Towel effect, and it has been successful in helping flex, express and self service carwashes in that it creates loyalty, and is helping them build more substantial customer bases.

Detrick, a 31-year-carwash veteran, said that The Green Towel is not any old towel. It’s sturdy, well designed, of very high quality, and very absorbent. Detrick designed the first towel exchange program, and used it successfully at his Sparkle Car Wash, located in Stroudsburg, PA.

“It reinforces the quality of the carwash, and is an effective tool to assist the carwash client, clean the windows and detail the body of their vehicle,” Detrick said. “The goal is to pull driveway washers back to my carwash.” 

Offering this Green Towel also sends a message to the client that even though there is a lot of automation, and no one to serve the client personally, the owner has demonstrated that they want to give the client something special to help them add the final touches to their beloved vehicle. They don’t forget this gift.

How it works

Each time a customer arrives at the carwash they exchange the used Green Towel for a clean one. It draws in customers because every time they need to get their car washed they feel drawn to the business that gives them that extra tool to finish off the cleaning of their car. It’s this act that creates a loyalty that develops over time that brings them back only to your carwash again and again.

The loyalty builds and remains because you have demonstrated to them that you really care about them, and that only at your carwash can they expect to receive this superior service and treatment. So adding the Green Towel adds a sense of humanity and a sense of caring that translates into a customer who always comes back to you. In our business we need more humanity, more care, and more ways that demonstrate unique services, even though no one is around to demonstrate it.


Car Wash Consultant  Ira A. Feinberg is the author of “Make Your Fortune Washing Cars. He welcomes your comments, which can be made by visiting  www.carwashworld.comor by emailing him at