The story of Ignite Wash

The story of Ignite Wash

Providing the spark to increase membership revenue.

Sponsored by Rinsed.
rinsed logo

In the dynamic professional carwashing industry, success is measured not only by the gleam of a freshly cleaned vehicle, but also by the efficacy of sales strategies and the integration of cutting-edge technologies. While many operators are currently bearing the fruit of automation and leading tech, the human element remains as an integral component to converting pay-per-visit customers into members. As many operators started to realize the importance of having a customer service attendant at the point-of-sale (POS), one long-time industry innovator noticed a gap and is deciding to fill it.

“Most of the industry was moving away from unattended pay stations as they realized how much higher the conversion rate is when you have salespeople present,” recounts Kyle Doyle, founder of Ignite Wash. “More and more operators were realizing that the sales team was a vital component of growing the member count and increasing sales, but the playbook on how to manage that sales team was not yet written.”

Until now.

Writing the playbook

Carwashing is in Doyle’s blood. He started in the industry amidst the hustle and bustle of his family’s full-serve carwash on Long Island, New York. During this time, he also worked with his father, Alan, at Compuwash, one of the earliest tunnel control companies in the market. By 2004, Doyle rose to the rank of Compuwash’s CEO and, under his leadership, the company pioneered the development of the industry’s first cloud-based point-of-sale software — a groundbreaking advancement that revolutionized carwash operations and set a new standard for efficiency and performance.

And, Compuwash’s customers weren’t the only ones taking notice of the game-changing solutions emanating from the company. In 2010, Doyle was presented with an offer from Sonny’s The CarWash Factory that he couldn’t refuse. He sold Compuwash to Sonny’s, which later became Sonny’s Controls, and eventually joined Summit Wash Holdings as its vice president of marketing and customer experience.

In the following years, after leaving Summit Wash Holdings, Doyle noticed a need in the market and, in true entrepreneurial spirit, he yearned to offer a solution.

“When I left Summit Wash Holdings, I began looking at carwashes on Long Island to purchase and operate. As I was searching, I began reconnecting with other operators I knew, including those at multi-unit groups,” says Doyle. “I realized there was a common pain point of how to hire, train and track salespeople.”

According to Doyle, there was a lack of visibility into whether a salesperson was staying out at the pay stations or “floating away” and missing cars. In addition to tracking this accountability, Doyle wondered if these employees were being properly trained and provided with critical elements to close sales.

“Were they provided with the presentation as designed when you’re not standing nearby? It was a challenge to track live salesperson stats, a challenge to keep salespeople motivated and focused, and it was cumbersome to track and calculate commissions,” recalls Doyle.

At the time, many operators implemented rudimentary, burdensome strategies to solve these pain points that included Excel spreadsheets, physical paperwork, text and WhatsApp threads, etc.

“As a former software guy, I knew there had to be a better way,” he asserts.

Lighting the way

While driving and daydreaming about this critical industry issue, Doyle had an aha moment. His problem-solving mind started to ignite visions of replacing the standard laminated menu card, which many operators use as a visual for salespeople, with tablets.

“That type of menu card could be much more dynamic, incorporating seasonal and campaign themes. We would also be able to automatically push out price and promo updates. The moment I thought about that tablet I also realized that if we recorded every presentation given, we would be able to see how many presentations were given compared to how many retail cars we have seen,” explains Doyle.

According to Doyle, this shift alone would be an important key performance indicator since the industry has known for years that the secret to growing member count and sales is simply presenting to every single customer. As the solution was forming in his head, he also realized that operators could leverage the tablet’s microphone to record the salesperson and, using that information, craft custom coaching strategies based on the salesperson’s performance.

“Then, with POS interfaces, we could look at transaction data to know what happened after each presentation,” continues Doyle.

Therefore, once the presentation becomes the key unit of measure and performance, it unlocks a whole new set of statistics that create instant visibility and transparency into sales operations.

“The whole idea hit me like a lightning bolt,” he enlightens.

Fanning the flames

While flushing out the concept, Doyle reached out to Craig Vella, a friend and highly talented software developer, who eventually joined as Ignite Wash’s co-founder and partner. The pair’s next aha moment occurred when they realized that once operators had this new set of data, they would be able to show the salesperson his or her stats in real-time on the tablet throughout the day.

“This reinforced the spirit of accountability and transparency, and salespeople actually loved it. It turned out that salespeople were starving for data and loved being able to see their numbers in real-time. We began displaying live leaderboards for all salespeople at the company and they also loved knowing where they stood and understanding where the bar was,” explains Doyle.

The duo also uncovered the path to enforcing employee buy-in: gamification. They researched the psychological impact of feedback loops, which are the basis for all gamification. This led to devising a point system where salespeople would acquire points for every membership sold.

“We made this configurable so that management could choose how many points to award for each item sold, including top retail packages, if they wanted. Once we had points, we started giving salespeople badges based on the number of points they had accumulated,” says Doyle.

This information was made available to the entire team, evoking competition among the salesforce. Achieving points wasn’t just about bragging rights. Team members could use their points to purchase rewards, such as a $10 Amazon gift card, movie tickets, video game consoles and more.

“By allowing the salesperson to choose which reward they wanted to work towards … it created a goal that they were setting for themselves, which is a great driver of intrinsic motivation,” educates Doyle.

The tablet also allowed for pivotal communication channels. A message center on the tablet was created where operators can connect directly to the frontlines with coaching, training materials and announcements. Salespeople were also able to reach out with questions all via the tablet.

“We added CoachBot, an AI coach that looks at the data to automatically generate messages to the individual salesperson. This includes positive reinforcing messaging about reaching new ranks, getting rewards and hitting new personal bests. It also included redirection messages when conversion rate is very low or if they are not using the tablet presentations,” continues Doyle.

In addition, the platform allows for human coaches, who are monitoring messages, to follow up as needed. Managers and sales coaches within the organization can also be included in any of those message groups.

Committed to conversion

You can’t manage what you can’t measure and all operators who are serious about increasing membership sales must track their conversion rate. But, what drives conversion rate? As an analytical-driven company, Ignite Wash focuses on the five major drivers of sales performance. The company calls this offering the Salespath Performance Funnel.

“The largest driver is coverage,” notes Doyle.

Simply put, do you have a salesperson at the pay stations? After studying the data, the company realized that when a salesperson is present for every car, sales increase. “We measure this in real-time and call it Coverage Rate,” continues Doyle.

The next variable to address is whether or not the salesperson is actually engaged and not just going through the motions. Identified as Engagement Rate, Ignite Wash’s platform measures every presentation and quantifiably measures if salespeople are presenting to customers or only taking orders.

The next factor to securing conversion is the incentive structure, which is often overlooked and misunderstood as a major driver of sales, adds Doyle.

“We see commission structures of all types, but we see major movement when those numbers are in the $4 to $6 range,” illuminates Doyle. “Our software automatically calculates this and messages salespeople about the money they are making. We also can do what we call graduating commissions where there are tiers of commission based on how many memberships they sell each month.”

The system also analyzes pricing and the effectiveness of special offers. It tracks recurring revenue and churn by offer. This enables the technology to generate insights as time passes to promote the offers that generated the most net revenue.

“Finally, we get to individual sales skills. Often this is where many operators focus. They see the all-star salesperson with lots of charisma and natural communication skills and think this is the key to sales success. While this certainly helps, we see all kinds of personalities do well, including those you would not think are great salespeople,” says Doyle.

Studying the data from a wide range of salespeople’s performance, Ignite Wash has noticed an interesting differentiator and it’s not charisma, but rather the ability to shake off rejection. According to Doyle’s findings, great salespeople do not let rejection affect them. They continue to perform at a high level, regardless of being rejected throughout the day.

Fired up

Leveraging vital insights, Ignite Wash’s customers are reaching new heights in membership sales and revenue. The company is offering an innovative solution that goes beyond the surface of answering the question, “How many members did we sign up today?”

Ignite Wash allows operators to go deep into understanding churn per salesperson, active recurring revenue per salesperson and gross recurring revenue generated per car.

“It gives operators a better picture of performance,” explains Doyle, adding that the platform also shows operators how many opportunities are being missed.

Operators who are interested in joining Ignite Wash are provided with a branded visual presentation and an offer. The company will set up the carwash’s branded training site and record several custom videos, including one on exactly how to give the presentation.

“We then ship each location two tablets and roll out is very simple. Salespeople begin using the tablet and we begin coaching. Data is immediately flowing into our management dashboard and management as well as our coaches can begin to identify where the opportunities are for improvement. Our service is a monthly subscription and there are no contracts, cancel anytime,” concludes Doyle.

Operators also receive ongoing support through a dedicated human coach, who listens every day to random audio samples of every salesperson and generates scorecards. Ignite Wash also offers an online training course with about 12 videos for all salespeople and references clips from these videos as needed.

Leading companies in the carwash industry are taking notice of Ignite Wash’s potential as well. Ignite Wash was recently acquired by Rinsed and will now be able to bring the solutions outlined in this article to even more operators.

With this innovative offering, Ignite Wash is helping operators skyrocket membership revenue and spark accountability and higher performance among sales teams across the industry. 

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