Carwash Vacuums – Revenue Source, Loyalty Builder (and Potential Silent Killer)

Vacuum systems are playing an increasingly important role for many car washes these days. Just like the exterior of their cars, customers place high value on getting the inside clean too, and rightly so. Many customers consider their experience with vacuums to be a key factor in the overall wash and service quality at your business. A good vacuum experience can indeed draw new customers in, and help retain existing customers. The emerging importance of vacuums is reflected in the increased investment, functionality, and prominent placement afforded vacuum systems at most modern washes. With arches and canopies, enhanced signage and lighting, a well-designed and placed vacuum installation can be an attractive draw that drives incremental traffic to your wash.

Pricing for vacuums is viewed strategically by savvy car wash owners, in the context of both their business objectives and the competitive dynamics in their particular market. Vacuums can be free to all customers, integrated as part of loyalty programs, or strictly fee-based. The benefits of driving direct revenue with fee-based vacuums, vs. increasing overall traffic with a free or bundled service, that really depends on the unique aspects of your operation and local
market. The pros and cons of each approach have been debated for a few years now (see this article from Tommy Car Wash Systems for a great summary on the topic:

One thing that is not debatable is how quickly customer goodwill evaporates when things like malfunctioning equipment and long lines are encountered at a vacuum station. This is something that we at Equilibrium Point IoT refer to as a “silent killer” – an outage, malfunction, quality issue, or other poor customer experience that impacts your revenue and reputation – but is hard to detect in a timely manner. Customers often don’t take the time to let you or your employees that there is a problem. They just drive off, decide not to visit your wash again, and probably tell several friends about the negative experience.

Indeed, it’s what you don’t know that hurts you. According to sources provided by Inc. magazine:

        1. When customers are unhappy, there’s a 91 percent chance they won’t do business with a company again (Lee Resources).

        2. Dissatisfied customers typically tell nine to 15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more (White House Office of Consumer Affairs).

        3. A negative customer experience is the reason 86 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company (Customer Experience Impact Report).

        4. Good customer experiences lead 42 percent of consumers to purchase again (Zendesk Customer Service Study).

See the full article here:

Monitoring operating status and usage of individual vacuums has historically been a challenge. Fortunately, modern internet of things (“IoT”) sensors and software now exist to do just this, in a reliable, cost-effective, and non-intrusive manner. Using IoT sensors and a mobile app, vacuum status can be available to you and your employees in real time, 24/7, from wherever you happen to be. With IoT, you’ll know right when your customers do!