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Attracting new customers and keeping them

October 11, 2010
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Summary: This month, Professional Carwashing & Detailing® asked Jay Siff, founder and CEO of Moving Targets, Perkasie, PA, to answer a question posted on PC&D’s online Bulletin Board by Fernando Salas, regarding how a carwash owner can catch the attention of a local newcomer.

Question: What do you do to attract new customers? Do you recommend offering specials?

Jay Siff: Attracting new customers is key to running a successful business. And offering specials and discounted services are important parts of any successful advertising strategy.

If you want new customers to pay you a visit, you must draw them to you. Carwashes are like many local businesses; they rely on loyal customers who, time and time again, return because they like the service, atmosphere, and price.

Whether your carwash is a self-serve establishment or an automatic, advertising your business begins with building a customer base by drawing new customers, “wowing” these new customers, and giving them a reason to return.

Building a new customer base
If a motorist is new to town and has yet to visit a local carwash, chances are they will either look for a carwash in the local yellow pages, or use a dirty car to drive around searching the streets for the nearest carwash.

But what if, after they moved in, they open their mailbox to find an offer from your carwash? They need to find not just an offer, but a coupon for one of your premium carwashes as a way to welcome them to the neighborhood.

With such an offer, many people would drive straight down to your business, coupon in hand, and take advantage of the special opportunity.

“Wowing” new customers
Once your new customer comes to visit your carwash, you need to put forth the effort to make the best impression possible. Don’t just wash their car, wash the exterior and clean the interior showing extra effort.

Your payment may not come immediately, but next time the individual wants a carwash, they will remember how magnificent their car looked after visiting your establishment, and will be more likely to return.

And when that return visit comes, your basic carwash will pale in comparison to the job you did last time. The new customer will remember how wonderful their car looked, and will most likely spring for your premium service to repeat the experience.

It’s important to remember that the worst thing you can do with a new customer is give them a bad experience. Bad experiences don’t just come from sub-par service; they can also result from the atmosphere of the establishment itself.

Your new mover is excited about his/her free or reduced price premium carwash, and is eager to make your carwash part of his routine. But if he/she arrives to a dilapidated business, or has to interact with rude or unkempt attendants, they will simply take the free carwash and never return.

Giving them a reason to return
You’ve established a customer base through a new mover direct mail program, you’ve wowed your customers with superior services and clean facilities, and now you’re ready to sit back and let the business come to you, right? Wrong.

Your customers are your business — they support you, they help you thrive, and they can destroy you if they disappear.

But believe it or not, after all you have done to show them you appreciate their business, they almost never think of your carwash unless their car is dirty.

If you want your business to become an integral part of their lives, you must remind them that you’re there and create top of mind awareness.

Through a loyalty program, your carwash can establish an electronic customer directory and proactively drive business to your front door at any given moment.

If Tuesdays and Wednesdays are your slow days, consider emailing an attractive offer to your customers valid for that afternoon only.

It just takes a few seconds and suddenly you’ve generated business you didn’t have before.

Loyal reward program offers are a simple and easy way to keep your services on your customer’s mind, and to drive business to your front door whenever you choose.

Combining new mover direct mail campaigns, superior services, and loyalty rewards can ensure that your business stays ahead of the pack and becomes a customer favorite.

Jay Siff is the founder and CEO of Moving Targets, Perkasie, PA. He can be contacted at