We all know that the shift from quarters to credit card and bill acceptors quietly revolutionized the self serve business. Instead of making your customer feed in 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8 or more quarters just to start their wash, now they can get under way with one swipe of a card. It is the psychological equivalent of giving them a price cut. What I mean by that is when a customer enjoys an easy buying process, they feel like they are paying less so they actually spend more. An easy transaction is very rewarding. And when a customer feels rewarded, they reward you right back!
Bringing “Easy” to the Tunnel Market
Credit card acceptance at tunnel washes has become standard, so the time may be right to turn to the next big thing: automatic monthly billing and proximity recognition systems to make your customer’s buying experience easier than ever. Over half of the households in the US use some form of automatic billing, so your customers are already familiar and comfortable with the concept.
Here are a few of the advantages for your business:
Build Core Revenues — By offering an automatic monthly billing option you build a foundation of steady, repeatable monthly revenue that helps to even out the ups and downs of normal seasonality and the vagaries of day-to-day weather patterns. Rain or shine, you make money, and that core revenue can make a real difference for any business.
Pamper Your Best Customers — Using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, your customer’s pre-selected wash package is recognized and the paystation gate lifts up for them automatically. You provide a VIP experience, and your customers will breeze through without even rolling down the window. Did you ever see that TV commercial, where a lucky driver named “Bill” finds that every lane he chooses to drive in is open for him, and even the toll plaza has a booth designated for “Bill Only”? Well, creating that feeling of special treatment will pay dividends for your business.
Create a “Pied Piper” Effect — Have you ever noticed how customers seem to attract… more customers? Activity at your site signals that you are open for business and that you have many happy customers. Monthly pass customers may decide to get a wash even when the weather conditions are not perfect, and they are likely to attract more customers. We know of a very successful operator in the Northeast who has built on this phenomenon by staying open even when it rains, and his monthly customers continue to wash, attracting a nice number of additional customers in their wake.
Laurie Sherman is Co-owner of Blendco Systems, LLC. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.