Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Pinpointing the heart of a carwash

April 30, 2013

Sales performance is not limited to attended point of sale systems or salespeople. Unattended payment terminals also offer the ability to impact and manage sales-per-car performance. In fact, the introductory greeting at an unattended payment terminal is just as important as the greeting with the attendant.

The unattended payment terminal can be an invaluable sales tool

Your unattended terminal should greet the customer with a video of a uniformed employee welcoming the customer to the wash by name. The greeting should also inform the customer of any promotions, new services or specials. This is your opportunity to communicate one-on-one with each customer using your wash. Special offers can be customized to appeal to frequent customers by tracking their purchasing history and suggesting upgrades or additional services, discounts on services or special offers. Generally, gift cards are promoted at Christmas and fundraising opportunities in the summer. If you offer a clean towel program, produce a video to tell all your customers that they can purchase a towel once and then every time they come to your wash you will give them a clean towel for free. Every opportunity to offer more value and build loyalty should be articulated to your customers. Each month a new message should be used to keep the content fresh.

The ultimate goal, of course, is increasing customer satisfaction. Once they’re at your wash its imperative to provide a positive experience. Providing brief educational videos at the point of sale can add to customer appreciation. Providing car care tips, the advantages of service upgrades, and enlightening customers on the products and processes integrated into your wash process instills a confidence that you take pride in your business, stay advanced in your technology and take a sincere interest in treatment of their vehicle. Upsells on unattended payment terminals are also important to managing sales per car. If you offer a new wash service, make an upsell video that will tell all your customers about the new service. For every service selected, a custom upsell video can be played that offers the upsell opportunity. Managing sales performance is not limited to attended greeters.

The heart of the carwash — how SMS helps to keep it healthy and wealthy

We have discussed numerous tools that are designed to help operators effectively manage their sites. Innovative point of sale equipment is now moving beyond sales, labor and loyalty promotions, now helping to manage the heart of the carwash: The tunnel equipment. There are many opportunities for cost savings and additional profits to be found within the tunnel equipment. No longer need you be caught by surprise when there are equipment issues and component failures. SMS provides the ability to send customized email alerts to critical managers, employees and service support. Let’s say the carwash equipment status at a particular site sends an alert that the reclaim holding tank or spot free rinse has switched over to fresh water. Typically, this would go undetected causing a rise in water and sewer bills. The site manager can be instantly informed of this development and address it. Low hydraulic oil, that causes the wraps to shut down, can also put the entire wash in a safe shutdown state automatically. An email will be sent to tell the manager why the wash was shut down. By immediately stopping the wash and identifying the problem downtime and vehicle damage is reduced. Alerts are separated into categories by severity: Informational, Warning or Critical and can be assigned to recipients’ email addresses based on who “needs to know.”

Alerts are also tied to event logs and system status. The status of any device tied into the management system at any site can be monitored real-time from one screen from anywhere using a computer or mobile device. If the bill dispenser in terminal two at site four jammed or is empty, an alert will be sent. The site status screen will show site two as critical and it turns red. The bill dispenser will turn red and show the error code. All events from all sites will roll up into this one screen. From here you can look at the error and resolution. The history of the bill dispenser and all error codes can be pulled and reviewed. The statistical performance of the bill dispenser, showing good dispenses versus impaired transactions, can also be reviewed. The complete history of a device can be easily retrieved by anyone with proper security from anywhere in the organization. If you cannot measure a performance, you cannot manage it. Management systems need to help you manage the entire site.

The equipment inside your tunnel can be integrated into your SMS system. The addition of an entrance management sign (EMS) to your express or flex operation provides several benefits. First, it adds another opportunity to interface with your customer offering an electronic greeting and graphics to instruct them into the tunnel. The EMS provides another control panel for the tunnel operator to relay instructions and overrides to the tunnel devices. For example, if he notices a pickup truck with lots of debris in its bed entering the tunnel he can set the blower to either retract, shut off or reduce velocity to avoid blowing the debris onto the vehicle behind it. Adjustments can be made on-the-fly for trailer hitches and other occasional circumstances. New technology includes the application of sensors in the tunnel to monitor the wash process. For example, sensors can identify the size and shape of the vehicle targeting the delivery and amount of the chemistry depending on the particulars of the vehicle. Sensors will recognize the increased height and longer length of an Escapade over that of an Accord and adjust the distribution of chemistry and rinses. This not only delivers an improved wash experience for the customer but also lowers costs in consumables, energy and utilities.

Tune in and tune up your carwash from anywhere and enjoy a profitable future!

Operating a successful modern carwash is increasingly demanding in a very competitive marketplace. Arm yourself with tools to help you understand when you achieve your goals and profitability targets. Be in tune to site developments and issues the moment they happen as if you are right there through the convenience of Internet connectivity and mobile access. Manage cash, sales, labor and loyalty programs with invaluable data and reports instantly at your disposal. You must also be able to monitor and adjust your equipment and wash processes to guarantee they’re performing at peak levels. Become intimate with the concepts of Repeatable Quality, Customer Experience and Value because they are vital to your success. The bottom line… increase earnings by bringing in more customers, reducing costs and improving margins. SMS software provides the tools to help you do all of the above. We have come a long way thanks in no-small-part to developments from 1973.