As a carwash or detail facility, you are always looking for ways to provide value for your customers by creating a more meaningful experience. You want to bolster their confidence to help ensure they get their money’s worth while allowing them to walk away from your facility feeling pleased with the result.

If I get my car washed and waxed — and then it rains two days later — am I really happy with my carwash experience? If my everyday odors, like kids, pets and food, are not fully removed from the car during my detail, am I really satisfied with my detailing experience?

Some of these factors may be out of your control, but one thing you can ensure is the quality of products you are using to wash and detail your customers’ vehicles.

Increasingly savvy consumers are more vigilant than ever when it comes to product safety, which is why they are seeking eco-friendly products — that actually work. Soccer moms scoff at harsh chemicals. Busy dads can detect inferior products, despite slick marketing campaigns.

You have to be able to gain the trust of your customers by providing outstanding products. This unparalleled quality is what will lead to positive experiences and, in turn, repeat business.

So, turn your attention to interior cleanliness products and processes that actually solve the problems of everyday lifestyle odors.

This article explains three ways to offer cleaner, fresher interiors to customers.

Remove the issue

For vehicles, odor removal and interior cleanliness has been a decades-long challenge for operators of carwashes, detail shops and auto dealerships. That is because so many products on the market are only meant to cover up the cause of odors rather than truly eliminate them.

As a carwash or detail-shop owner, you spend big bucks on things like landscaping, signage, equipment and employees. These line items all contribute to the overall customer experience, but nothing outweighs the importance of product quality. If customers are not happy with the look, smell and cleanliness of their vehicles’ interiors once your team
finishes the job, then you have wasted the fleeting opportunity to make a lasting impression where it matters: using high-quality products.

So, stop masking the issue and give your customers something that gets the job done. Infuse your customers’ cabin spaces with clean, healthy air. Find a reliable product line that actually cleans the air within the HVAC system as well as throughout the interior. That way, the insides of their vehicles are as clean as the outsides.

Related: How to treat auto malodors

Hooked on a feeling

Your customers are longing for a tangible experience in an otherwise intangible industry. You cannot feel an exterior carwash or wax job. You can, however, immediately feel the effects of a cleaning treatment that actually removes resins, allergens and other issues filling the vehicle.

And, your customers are willing to pay for this feeling. According to a Customer Experience and Impact survey from Synchrony Financial, 53% of consumers would pay a higher price for the experience they value most. 

Are you delivering premium products that actually clean the interiors of your customers’ cars, or are you just masking the issue with cheap cover-up products that offer little value to your customers? If it is the latter, then it is time to reinvest in a product line that elevates the customer experience.

Doing so will help you differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace of consumers who are insatiable for the next big thing. Why is this important? Because 35% of conveyor carwash operators note that the nearest competition is “under one mile away,” according to the 2019 Professional Carwashing Industry Report by Professional Carwashing & Detailing.

If someone down the street is offering a cleaner, fresher interior-cabin-space treatment, it is easy for consumers to find out about it. Beat your competition to the punch and reinvent your product line.

Bring them back

As a carwash owner or operator, you know that customer retention is your lifeblood. To keep recurring revenue pumping, find genuine, gimmick-free ways to generate return customers and, in turn, create brand ambassadors. 

According to the International Carwash Association, more than 2 billion cars are washed each year in North America, generating $15 billion in retail sales. To retain your piece of that pie, you must get creative.

Partner with vendors who will collaborate on a Saturday product-demo event to draw attention to your facility. Products with unique branding and strong local leadership teams are ideal because they can attract bigger crowds. Create a loyalty program featuring your new product partner and offer discounted services to keep customers coming back for more.

Ask vendors if your company can plug into their social media. Never underestimate the power of a strategic co-branded campaign that not only strengthens your corporate relationship with them but also breeds trust in the eyes of your consumers.

Ultimately, customers are more educated and selective than ever before. If your carwash or detail-shop drops the ball on delivering anything short of outstanding service, the customer will turn to your competitors. As an owner or operator, you can put your best foot forward with a quality interior cleaning product line that delivers a memorable customer experience — from the inside out.


Alan Brown is a former partner in multiple Volkswagen dealership locations and served as its National Dealer Advisory Council during Dieselgate. He is now the executive vice president of NuVinAir® Global, a Dallas-based company offering a patented cleaning process and proprietary product line to automotive businesses and service centers across the U.S. To find out how your carwash or detail center can offer the future of clean driving to your customers, contact [email protected].