Establishing effective communication
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Operations and Management

Establishing effective communication

Communication is important to running an effective carwash. Your team’s ability to properly communicate with customers and other employees is important to the reputation of your business as well as your bottom line. Carwashes that communicate make more money by establishing better customer relationships and helping you and your employees dispose of bad processes while making good ones.

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A functioning carwash needs strong communicators, and strong communicators are molded with constant practice. Improving communication at your carwash is a necessity, so here are a few tips to mold stronger communication. These tips will make the entire team better at running a profitable carwash.

Find the right technology

Before we get to strategy, it is important that you supply yourself with the right tools for improving communication. An efficient carwash is able to relay messages from one person to another as quickly and clearly as possible. Two-way radios are the perfect tool to streamline communication at your carwash.

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Related: 3 communication basics that build confidence

Two-way radios create instant communication with the push of a button. For instance, the tunnel crew can talk to the team in the front without having to go to each other multiple times a day. 

Two-way radios are a reliable tool for communication, according to Stewart McClintic, corporate account manager at HQ98, a two-way radio dealer in Arizona.

“Carwashes often use radios because of their straightforward setup and use,” McClintic says. “Push the button, and get a message out to your team. You don’t have to do a phone number or leave your station to communicate with your team.”

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Implementing the use of two-way radios is a great first step to improving your team’s communication.

Take an active interest in your employees’ growth

Check in on employees often to see how they are doing in their jobs and lives. How often you do check-ins depends on how big your carwash is, but every owner should take an active interest in the growth of his or her employees. Small carwashes should meet individually with every employee weekly. Large carwashes should hold individual meetings once per month.

Meetings are an excellent way to personally get to know your employees. They can help you learn about their strengths and weaknesses as well as discuss how both the employee and you — the owner — can build a strong working relationship.

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No one is more valuable to your carwash than your team, so take some time to talk with your team members. It is a tiny amount of time that leads to gigantic gains in the future.

Meetings should establish clear expectations on improvement for the carwash and how well everyone met the expectations set during the previous meeting.

Your meetings are also about establishing a more personal connection with your team members. Remembering a birthday or another big event in an employee’s life can go a long way in creating a strong relationship.

Conducting productive and individual meetings with your employees will help them improve as people and employees.

Group meetings with the entire team are also a necessity for carwash owners. Group meetings should be conducted once a week if your carwash is small and once a month if you own a large carwash.

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Peer accountability is the most important value you should take away from this meeting. You and your employees have goals, and you must hold each other accountable to them. It is important for you and your team to know how everyone is performing.

Peer accountability means that successes are more likely to be recorded and failures are more likely to be noted if everyone is in the same room and talking to each other.

Everyone must be involved and engaged during group meetings. Incentivize asking questions, and politely pose a question to any employees who have not verbally engaged during the meeting. Meetings should be safe and intellectual environments. No one should be afraid to speak, and no one should be ridiculed for saying something incorrect.

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You want to improve communication in your carwash, and that requires an environment where people feel comfortable speaking.

Do more than just verbal communication

Verbal communication is one of the least-used forms of communication. The 7% rule founded by Dr. Albert Mehrabian in 1971 shows that communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. Effective communication is more than words. Active body language is an essential component of communication.

Employees interacting with customers should make direct eye contact, stand up straight and communicate with customers using a genuinely upbeat and professional demeanor. Customers will patronize your carwash if your employees want to help them and answer their questions.

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Related: Wash Talk Ep. 39: Hiring and Employee Retention Practices

Owners should also take this advice to heart when communicating with their employees. Employers keep good people if those people feel like they are being heard. Take the time to talk to your employees and listen to their suggestions and concerns. Listening will improve your carwash. Good carwash owners understand that strong professional relationships create strong businesses. Strong relationships require trust, and you establish trust by listening to your employees. You can only grow your business if you hire and keep the right people, so listen to them and watch your carwash grow.

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Good communication can create a successful carwash. Find ways your team can work to communicate more efficiently in ways that benefit your employees and your carwash. Finding the right methods and techniques to improve your team’s communication will lead to a happier workplace and a more profitable carwash.  


John Waters is the principal of Waters Business Consulting in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is an expert in helping small businesses grow their businesses.

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