By now, many automatic carwash operators realize the importance of a remote management system to help them direct and improve operations when they cannot physically visit their carwash site. Indeed, remote management systems are being used at carwashes throughout the country every single day. But many carwash owners and managers are not using them to their full potential; they are convinced the programs are simply there to help monitor the business while they are away.
Yes, remote management systems are crucial for on-the-go and multi-site wash operators, but these programs can also help you meet the expectations of today’s demanding consumers. Consumers who expect you to anticipate their wants before they even have them ― who are desensitized by online advertisements tailored to their most recent buying habits and mobile phone messages sent when they pass a business thanks to GPS technology.
Past articles in Professional Carwashing & Detailing have explained how remote management systems work and what components to choose when installing your first program, but now we will focus on tapping into the unrealized potential of your remote management system. This article will explain how you can make more money, save time, and dramatically reduce downtime with a remote management system.
1. Predict customer trends with remote management
A teenager behind the wheel of a 1995 red Ford Escort heading to his first job interview. A salesman conducting business via Bluetooth while he waits in line in a 2012 black Cadillac Escalade. A 2004 blue Dodge Caravan pulling through the automatic wash before the busy soccer mom heads to a church potluck. The people in line at your carwash are just as diverse as the vehicles they drive.
Indeed, today's automatic carwash operators are seeing more customers than ever before thanks to technology which allows higher throughputs and marketing know-how which is converting driveway washers to automatic users .The question for today's operator: How can you better understand a customer as varied as the line of cars waiting to use your carwash? Why, through your remote management system, of course.
Your remote management system will tally all of the day’s transactions, and more sophisticated systems will offer details like when and where carwash codes were purchased, keep a log of unused (but purchased) wash codes, help operators track coupons and daily special purchases, and maintain a history on customers with monthly wash passes. This information is key to better understanding your customers.
By tracking these details, operators can begin to spot patterns in purchasing behavior, whether it is by the day of the week or by the weather system and menu selection. Carwash owners no longer have to depend on clichés or personal observations ― now you have hard data to inform your decisions and new marketing tactics. For instance, you might track the success of a coupon to boost sales on slow Tuesdays ― does it work better as a “buy one, get one free” wash code or a half-off sale for that day? Are customers more likely to purchase the top menu package on the weekends or during the week?
Operators can also track the success of wash code sales by cashier or a prompt at the gas station pump to better market their monthly wash club programs.
2. Increase uptime with remote management
In addition to better understanding your carwash customer, remote management offers the opportunity for the carwash operator to improve uptime through better monitoring of the carwash technology at work. Now, the wash operator can know within minutes if there is a potential problem or equipment failure, and precisely which failure has occurred. Many systems offer the capability to tailor your alert messages ― will you be notified when there is an equipment malfunction or only when the wash is down? Will your alert be sent to your e-mail or to your mobile phone number? Will you have a carwash technician notified instead or in addition to your own warning message?
A proper remote management system will be fully integrated with the carwash service provider. The technician or dispatcher should review the detailed system history to attempt a remote fix, and also prepare for a first-time fix by carrying the proper repair parts to the job site.
With this increased alertness, operators can ensure their washes are back up and running at the earliest opportunity and can also track recurring issues to spot larger problems before they threaten wash operations.
3. Maintain historical data on carwash operations
Having the carwash’s sale and uptime history at your fingertips will help you to plan and manage future growth. By comparing and contrasting year-over-year sales you can better predict when to make crucial equipment upgrades and how to manage your carwash staff and programs according to anticipated volume fluctuations. This data can also supplement accounting software programs to help you keep track of your return-on-investment and sales goals throughout the year.
Data from remote management programs can also help boost your presentation at the bank for future loans and better inform you when considering the purchase of a new location. Without the actual data, your decisions are simply guesses and hunches. Now you can improve your marketing program, your maintenance plan, and your future growth with data collected by your remote management system.
Dean Cheramie is the senior vice president for Ryko Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at [email protected]