If you want to gain more repeat customers and grow your business, it’s essential to make your clients happy. But, how do you know a customer is satisfied? Customer surveys are one of the easiest ways to measure customer satisfaction. Once you understand how your customers feel about your services, you can take steps to make them even better. Positive and negative comments help you tailor your customer service to offer the best experience possible.

Why Customer Satisfaction Matters in the Car Wash Industry

Across the board, it’s more expensive to find new business than retain current customers — and that fact is especially true in the car wash industry. According to the International Carwash Association (ICA), only 28% of car wash users are considered heavy uses. Those customers account for 66% of all washes. This data shows the value of customer loyalty for car wash owners. Losing these most loyal customers can have a considerable impact on your bottom line.

Customer satisfaction is also vital to your marketing strategy. When it comes to generating new business, your online reputation is critical. Many consumers will look at reviews before deciding to use your services. While three in four consumers say they avoid advertising, 91% of young consumers say they trust online reviews. When so much weight is being placed on your Google Business and Yelp reviews, it’s important to give potential reviewers an excellent experience to write about.

You should also consider how a customer issue can impact your business. If a customer is unhappy with the quality of a car wash, you may have to rewash the car to make it clean. Every time this happens, you lose time and money. You have to pay employee wages to rewash the vehicle and are unable to serve the next customer in the meantime. Even when you take the time to make an issue right, you might still sacrifice the customer’s repeat business.

Doing things right the first time is critical to success when running a car wash business. The good news is that 84% of companies report an increase in revenue associated with improving customer experience. Even better, 92% saw an increase in customer loyalty, and 79% found cost savings. Focusing on making customers happy with your services can give you the edge you need to stay on top.

6 Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction

The first step to improving customer satisfaction is getting to know your customers. The feedback you receive from both happy and unhappy clients gives you crucial feedback. Understanding what you’re doing well can help you hone your value proposition to customers. At the same time, knowing what you aren’t doing well lets you identify weaknesses, so you can improve. 

Here are six ways you can measure and improve customer satisfaction for your car wash:

1. Design the Right Survey Questions

Most businesses can use surveys to get a window into their customers’ experiences. It’s crucial to realize that how you frame the inquiries in your questionnaire can influence the data. Confusing or vague questions can lead to different interpretations among survey-takers. Not understanding the wording can lead some people to abandon the survey, and therefore, the data you get will be inaccurate. There are a few popular types of survey questions, and each one has benefits and drawbacks:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): The level of satisfaction is a standard metric for customer surveys. A CSAT question for a car wash might look like, “how would you rate your experience at our car wash facility today?” The survey-taker would pick from five responses, ranging from “very unsatisfactory” to “very satisfactory.” This type of survey is excellent for measuring any short-term efforts to improve a facility. You can distribute the questionnaire before and after you implement a change to see if it made a difference. You should note that these answers tend to be biased since mildly dissatisfied or satisfied customers are less likely to answer the question.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Understanding if a customer is likely to recommend your business can offer more predictive power. This type of question is asked on a scale from one to 10, with 10 being extremely likely to recommend your services. Ratings of nine and 10 are seen as positive, seven and eight are neutral, and one through six are negative. You calculate your NPS score by subtracting the percentage of positive responses from the portion of negative ratings. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to respond to these types of questions. Further, a positive reaction doesn’t necessarily mean a customer will recommend you to a friend.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): A CES question seeks to answer, “how hard did you have to work to get services rendered?” Responses are ranked on a scale of one to five, with one meaning it was effortless and five meaning it was quite challenging. These types of questions help you find ways to make your customer’s experiences simple and easy. Considering the percentage of consumers who wash their cars at home has steadily decreased since 1996, ease of use is a driving factor in using a car wash. The fewer efforts customers have to make to get their car washed, the more likely they’ll be to use your facility.
  • Open-ended: On their own, each of these survey questions is one-dimensional. Including an open-ended question gives customers a chance to vent and provide more helpful feedback. If you don’t know what part of the experience was negative, you cannot improve. For example, if the customer comments that there were no employees at the help desk, you can focus on this issue.

2. Use Post-Service Customer Surveys

A survey that goes out immediately after a customer receives service has a higher response rate. They are often used in customer service to measure how successful the service was. When the experience is fresh, the feedback can be particularly useful. You can also use these after the car wash itself. Provide a feedback card at the end of the wash and offer an incentive for customers who complete the survey. A chance to win a free wash or upgraded service can increase the likelihood that customers will complete the feedback card.

3. Distribute Customer Surveys via Email

If you want to get detailed feedback via open-ended questions, email is the best format. However, these types of surveys usually have a lower response rate. Email can be challenging for car washes since most customers don’t provide their emails when they get their cars washed. However, your most frequent customers might offer their emails to join a customer loyalty program. These customers may be the most appreciative of a customer satisfaction survey, and their feedback will have the most significant impact on your business. Email surveys are a great way to get segmented customer data, which can improve your marketing and service to many types of clientele. These detailed surveys are an excellent source of constructive feedback. So, while the data may be more limited, you can get the most helpful insights.

4. Collect Volunteered Feedback

Many customers look for a way to express a concern or make a suggestion when they experience an issue. However, a structured survey may not give them the avenue they need to provide detailed feedback. A comment box or a dedicated email address for customer satisfaction comments offers clients a chance to speak out on their own terms. Most won’t use these channels for positive feedback, so it is a fantastic strategy to get constructive criticism and feedback.

People are less likely to volunteer feedback if they believe the business will not listen to it. It’s vital to promise a prompt response to feedback and then deliver on it. Reply to negative feedback quickly with a personal message and a solution whenever possible. You’ll improve the individual customer’s satisfaction, and may learn new ways to help your business grow.

5. Read Your Online Reviews

Since it can be difficult to get responses via a survey, you can also use your online reviews as a source of feedback. Customers who have a positive or negative experience will often leave a review on your Google Business, social media or Yelp page without you even asking. For local services such as car washes, reviews are a popular way for customers to give feedback and help fellow consumers.

Reading reviews can help you get a sense of what you do well and reveal patterns in negative experiences. You might find more honesty in online ratings since people want to help other customers decide whether to use their services. Besides getting feedback, you can improve customer satisfaction by responding to negative comments. You can show customers that you care about their experiences, and you may be able to resolve the issue that prompted the review in the first place.

6. Understand What Your Market Is Looking For

Different customers frequent different kinds of car washes, and each demographic has its own priorities. Customers of a self-serve car wash may be interested in tools and equipment that make it easier for them to spray down and suds up their vehicles. Those who frequent conveyor belt car washes may look for more personal service or shorter wait times. No matter how you ask for feedback, it’s vital to find out which services your customers want to see. Analyze which of your treatments are most popular, or if specific packages on your service menu are going unused. Try offering more flexibility with customizable treatment packages to see what sticks out as your most popular options. Also, look at your popular wash times and days of the week. 

How to Create Happier Clients

Once you gather feedback, you’ll be able to better identify the areas you need to improve to create better customer satisfaction. Surveys can be quite useful for this, though they often exclude people who don’t have a strong opinion about your services. Customers who find your services merely decent might not fill out a survey. Still, there are plenty of ways to improve your services and earn higher satisfaction rates, such as:Hire the right staff: Your employees have direct contact with your customers every day. They’re the ambassadors for your brand. For many small and local services, the interactions with employees make up a large part of the customer experience. Customers expect polite, fast and helpful interactions from car wash staff. Hire friendly, courteous technicians and train them to provide superior service. Small actions, such as remembering the names of frequent customers, can go a long way.Improve your facility: Another aspect to look at is the condition of your facility. It might seem obvious that a clean place of business is particularly vital for a company that provides cleaning services. A facility that offers a wide range of services, uses modern equipment and reflects a positive image will make a customer happier while using your services.Use high-quality equipment and soap: Whether you offer self-service or full-service, good soap is essential. Customers washing their cars want to feel the cleaning chemicals in action. They want equipment that works as designed and allows them to wash their car quickly. If you operate a full-service car wash, highly-concentrated soap lets you move fast and ensures you’re getting rid of all the dirt and grime on the car’s exterior. No matter the type of car wash you run, high-quality soap leaves a vehicle sparkling. Create an experience: For many customers, the real value of using a conveyor belt system is the excitement. Your clients get to see the suds and the equipment in action from the comfort of their cars. Many conveyor belt car washes go one step further by creating a themed experience. Music, LED lights and colorful fluorescent foam chemicals make the car wash more memorable and fun. Even without using a theme, you can add to the experience with well-manicured landscaping surrounding the facility and colorful signage. No matter the kind of car wash you run, the most crucial part of the experience is offering fast service and smooth operation.Use a customer rewards program: There are many benefits to using a loyalty program — one of which is their positive psychological impact. People appreciate when a company values their loyalty, and a rewards program is an excellent way to show it. The prospect of getting free or discounted service is enticing and makes people feel as though they are getting better value for their money.

Improve Your Customer Experience With JBS Industries

Offer the highest quality customer service with top quality treatments. One of the best signs of good customer service for a car wash business is a clean, shiny vehicle. To help you meet this goal, we offer a range of ultra-concentrated foams, detergents, pre-soaks, wheel and tire treatments and protectants. Our products are developed with the direction of former car wash owners, and we have over 40 years of experience manufacturing the best soaps for your commercial car wash.

Browse our product lines or contact us to learn more about our products and place an order.

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