November 16, 2018
Car wash merchants know more than anyone that competition for consumers’ attention is fierce. How do you stand out from the guy down the street and how do you keep your most loyal customers coming back again and again?
In this post, we’ll explore some actionable mobile marketing tips you can put to work for your car wash right now.
For any car wash business operator, one of the biggest frustrations is how building personal relationships with a handful of customers seem imminently possible, but building similar connections with all customers seems near impossible. The reality is that customer relationships are complicated. It’s not like the old days when heading to the car wash was somewhat of a fun outing with the kids or a laugh with friends. Nowadays, car wash owners are vying for the attention of their customers in a much different world — a mobile world. And though it might seem like an intimidating world of technology out there, with customers spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on their phones, a better strategy is to embrace new technology for the amazing opportunity it can be. Let’s look at how to make the car wash experience fun and engaging again, but through the medium that has everyone glued — mobile.
#1 Car wash tip: Personalize every visit
Custom visits were once something the car wash industry prized itself on. Then came automation and efficiency, and that one-on-one treatment was lost to high-pressure machines. Today, however, personalization is huge, as customers expect a unique experience with every purchase they make — thanks to those smartphones. And though personalizing all those customer experiences used to be an unfathomable task, those same smartphones make it doable – even easy!
“Eventually companies get too big for owners to manage the marketing themselves and sooner or later successful owners will need to delegate their marketing duties, so they can spend their energy more wisely” – Charity Burns, The Car Wash Magazine
Burns has hit the nail on the head here, and it’s mobile technology that will pick up the slack. When done right, mobile marketing works for you, and on your behalf — instantly engaging customers in a personalized fashion. Some examples:
- Send offers to customers who were once loyal but have not visited in a while.
- Extend special offers to your best customers to increase revenue and reward their loyalty.
- Drive customers to quieter times of the week with a simple offer sent straight to their phone.
Businesses that use mobile marketing see a huge increase in revenue, ranging from 30%-50%. Using mobile marketing and a data-based customer engagement platform can enhance your customer relationships and help cultivate new ones.
#2 Car wash tip: Real-time feedback is essential
How do you enable customers to leave feedback right now? A suggestion box on the front desk? A comment page through your website? Oops, too late, by the time you’ve opened up your suggestion box, read “Mary’s” bad experience, and picked up the phone to call — she’s already told all her friends and took to Yelp to write a bad review for the whole world to see. But wait? You never even had a chance to respond. This all too familiar scenario should be a thing of the past. Mobile devices enable consumers to provide instant feedback to merchants. And using a platform like Thanx, merchants can reply to feedback in a personal 1:1 way.
- Replying directly to customer feedback increases sales by 22%. Directly conversing with them can boost revenue dramatically with minimal effort.
- Using mobile increases customer engagement dramatically compared to traditional channels such as email or text — 47% of customers who see a push notification in-app completed a survey, versus a typical email survey response rate of 10-20%.
“With a mobile-based communication system, we can finally know who our most loyal customers are! More importantly, we now have tools to engage with them directly and make sure they are happy and keep coming back. The data we are beginning to collect is fantastic. Every time we learn something new, we just want more and more!” – Jimmy Starnes, Wash me Fast
#3 Car wash tip: Reward your loyal users
“Branch out into the digital realm. Coupon books and gift cards are your bread and butter (and probably will be for the next two to three years), but the future is in pixel form.” – Wolfestheone, The Car Wash Blog
Coupons and gift cards may still be relevant in some ways but keep in mind that they will attract a discount-driven customer and over time, will erode margins. When you send out a coupon campaign, it’s likely you will draw consumers who may already be your customers instead of acquiring new customers. Thus, the campaign is probably losing you money by giving existing customers a discount that was meant to acquire new ones. While acquiring new clients is important for any business, customer loyalty matters more, particularly for car washes when a few blocks can separate competitors.
True loyalty increases customer lifetime value and creates a brand around your company. And the best way to create loyal patrons? Reward them for their loyalty. Ensure your top customers are being treated as such. If Mary visits ten times more frequently than Amanda, then I think we’d agree Mary deserves some benefits? Well, we’d be right. Marketing to your VIP’s can increase sales by 40% because they already know and love your business, it’s way easier to get them to come in 1-2 more times and spend a bit more than it is to get someone who rarely visits to come back and buy from you.
Using mobile marketing and a data-based customer engagement platform to reward your best customers for their loyalty is smart business for any car wash looking to clean up when it comes to revenue and positive ROI.
To learn more, get our free guide, The Customer Engagement Playbook for Car Washes.