What customers want - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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Guest Post

What customers want

Your carwash customers have plenty of options when it comes to having their cars cleaned. Car owners can choose anything from fully automatic carwashes to attendant-operated carwashes and car detailing services. If you want people to choose your carwash and keep coming back for years to come, you have to understand exactly what they’re looking for and implement the most effective techniques to help them get what they want.

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There’s no doubt that customer service reigns supreme when it comes to providing the best carwash service and is often the difference between success and struggling to beat the competition. If you want to see higher levels of customer satisfaction and improved profit margins over time, you must understand what your customers really want from you. Implement these practical tips to serve your customers better.

Customers want more value

Many carwash services have attempted low pricing structures and even offered great deals frequently to attract and retain customers. But, such a strategy is not sustainable and won’t give your customers what they really want — and it devalues your services. What customers ultimately want is value for their money. Always compete on “value” above all other factors.

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While pricing matters, remember that when you offer great value, happy customers will be glad to pay more for your service for what it’s worth. But the question is: How do you increase value for your carwash and car detailing services? Here are techniques to increase value:

  • Offer discounts and special promotions. This is a great way to cultivate customer loyalty. You can provide loyalty cards that allow loyal customers to receive discounts. Make your offers for regulars as attractive as possible. Offer different seasonal promotions and volume discounts for companies with fleets, car dealers and car hire companies.
  • Offer a little bit of extra service and giveaways. Apart from just offering quality services, you should also extend your service by offering customers added value. For instance, you can give every premium carwash customer free goodies like microfiber towels or air fresheners. Offering extra options for a service is also an option. For instance, on top of car detailing services, you can sell some auto parts like replacement lift supports and offer installation service for various car models.
  • Implement a frequent buyer program. Your regular customers want you to reward them for your loyalty, and there’s no better way than offering a frequent buyer program or membership program. That makes them feel like a valued part of your brand.
  • Offer a referral program to your existing customers. Give customers rewards for referring others. That will increase traffic and loyalty as well as ensure repeat business from your regulars. A referral program is an excellent value-addition technique that keeps your customers happier.

Customers want a great carwash experience

If you ask any of your carwash customers what matters most to them and what they love about your business, they’ll likely mention something to do with your customer-focused carwash experience. That could be anything from staff interactions, perks, amenities, curb appeal, facility atmosphere, and the quality of your carwash and car detailing services. Customers are looking for a great, customer-focused experience.

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How can you improve this experience? Implement these practical techniques to help you provide more satisfactory services:

  • Increase your carwash processing speeds. How long are you taking to service an end-to-end car cleaning or detailing? On average, customers expect the whole process to take around 20 to 25 minutes for full-serve, thorough interior and exterior cleaning. For in-bay automatic and exterior conveyor carwashes, customers expect an average of five to seven minutes for washing and drying. Improve your speed but never sacrifice quality. Implement more efficient processes that minimize customer wait times, expedite payments and upgrade equipment.
  • Offer customers servicing options and customizations. Just like the best auto shops and other local businesses do in your area, your carwash customers also want you to offer tailored services that cater to their unique needs. For instance, you can allow customers to choose their own car treatments to make them feel valued. Improve your service offerings by offering various customer-focused options:
    • Undercarriage carwashes
    • Specialty carwash polishes and waxes
    • Paint restorations
    • De-salting treatments during winter
    • Leather seat protectants
    • “Ozone” treatment for odor control and removal
    • Headlight and rear light reconditioning.
  • Ask your customers what they want. Customer-focused service providers care about how their customers’ cars look and prioritize the treatments they need most. The best way to ensure you’re meeting your customers’ needs is to ask. First, let them know the options available through in-store signage, your online platforms and adverts. Then, get their feedback on what they want, and track and analyze which services and treatments they like most. Take note of these key elements to improve your services:
    • Do they opt for reclaimed or environmentally friendly carwash products?
    • What are the popular carwash times and days of the week?
    • Do customers prefer self service, conveyor belt or full service carwashes?
    • What are the most preferred carwash treatments?
  • Maximize your curb appeal. Are you proud of the appearance of your business? Do your customers mention how they love your carwash location or curb appeal? Ensure your business stands out both inside and outside. After all, your business is all about offering high-quality, polished and spotless carwashes for loyal and satisfied customers. Having a disorganized and dirty facility is not good for business and will only give the wrong impression of your carwash services’ quality. Give your business a fresh and appealing look. For instance, you can get a custom-branded cashier booth for your carwash that provides a functional and comfortable space for your cashiers to perform their duties while staying protected and secure.
  • Pay attention to the small details. It’s the smallest details that always have the most significant impact when offering excellent customer service. No detail is too insignificant. As a business owner, have a system to help you detail small things, such as how often customers stop in — even the hour — and train staff to remember faces, names and individual requests. Keep a record of everything, and evaluate updates daily, weekly or monthly.
  • Offer the best carwash service. This may seem obvious, but the most successful carwash businesses have mastered all aspects of their services. They use high-quality cleaning products and chemicals, and they offer top-of-the-line customer service. Customers have dozens of options but will only choose the best service. Improve your service delivery, embrace new carwash formulas to offer a cleaner wash that customers will love and boost your marketing efforts to attract more customers.

Customers want excellent customer service

Your staff is at the core of your carwash business. While your work is to clean cars, you’re first and foremost a business service, which means interactions between your staff and customers. These interactions are at the core of your customer service. Customers are looking for an excellent experience. Here, we look at the different techniques you can implement to build a positive customer experience culture:

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  • Employ positive and customer-centric staff. Your employees are the face of your carwash business. Apart from offering quality services, how they interact with customers is the most memorable aspect for any customer’s visit to your carwash. Customers may not even remember what car detailing service or treatment they chose, but they’ll remember how your employees treated them and made them feel. The best staff treat your customers with:
    • Politeness and warmth when engaging with each customer
    • Care and attentiveness when asking questions and receiving feedback
    • Friendly interactions that make customers feel appreciated.
  • Embrace a problem-solving approach. Customers stop at your carwash because they want a solution for a problem they have. Their vehicles are dirty and may even need car detailing services to make them look new. Maybe their cars have a funny smell due to pets or spilled fluids. The floor mats and seats could also be stained and the interiors worn. The problems may vary, but they all want an excellent cleaning solution.
    • Train your staff to consult with each customer on service specifications and details to ensure a tailored carwash service.
    • Give first-time customers a carwash and detailing form, which you can upload online; then, have it on-hand with your staff for their next service.
  • Offer patron amenities and perks. Consider offering carwash business perks and add-on services to keep your new customers happy and retain existing ones. Go above and beyond your professional carwash and car detailing services by offering:
    • Carwash loyalty services that customers sign up for, free of charge
    • Tiered carwash membership levels that offer perks and extra goodies for regulars
    • On-brand freebies like towels, air fresheners and more
    • Local business carwash discounts for local stores, restaurants and other businesses for additional savings
    • VIP lanes for loyalty card customers and club members.
  • Create a thoughtful carwash environment. Go the extra mile to create a thoughtful and positive carwash environment that puts customers first. Customers are always happy to return to carwash facilities that offer extra comfort and make their trips more enjoyable. Think of such additions as:
    • Toys for kids while they wait for parents during a full service carwash
    • Vending machines to provide snacks for hungry customers
    • A clean, bright and well-decorated facility, especially waiting rooms and washrooms
    • Free coffee and water for customers in the waiting area and at the register.

Customers appreciate having a sense of belonging

Your loyal customers want more than just the service they come looking for at your carwash. They want to have a sense of belonging — to be part of the brand and what you do beyond carwash services. You can build your relationship further by engaging in local community projects. It makes sense to be involved and engaged with local nonprofits, schools, organizations and other community events.

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Your customers will appreciate your community support efforts and be happy to support your business. That will spread your brand awareness. You can highlight your business in various ways:

  • Supporting local fundraisers to raise money for local charities and schools
  • Creating a community board advertisement for local events like concerts, sports matches and farmers markets at your carwash
  • Engaging in local sports and environmental focused activities.

Improve your bottom line with these effective techniques

By implementing these practical techniques, you can easily provide services that meet your customers’ needs, answer their questions and solve their problems. To ensure streamlined service delivery with top-level experience, consider improving your wash quality and consistency, offering more value, improving your customer service and embracing community involvement. These efforts go a long way to improving your bottom line.

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Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events. She works closely with the auto parts supplier, Lift Supports Depot, the online shop with the world’s largest selection of lift supports, lift struts, gas springs and gas struts for every application.

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