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Employee motivation for car wash operators - How it's done

As a gas station operator, you already have potential car wash customers on your forecourt. This is something you should take advantage of! If you operate a car wash, you have to win over newly acquired customers and turn them into loyal regulars by providing a convincing service. In both cases, your employees are the key to success. It is therefore worth investing in the motivation and the professional appearance of your team. It will pay off for you. We present you with various options that you can take advantage of without much effort.

Five ideas for motivated employees

  1. Employee of the month - recognition as an incentive
    Start an Employee of the Month program: Reward the winners with a plaque or gift voucher from a local company to express your appreciation. Develop a system that highlights the employee of the month's performance in measurable terms for the rest of the staff to see.
  2. Commission - an additional payment for good work
    Pay commissions to employees who recruit the most members to your customer club or sell the most additional programs. The commission is percentage based on sales, giving your employees an incentive to actually promote the club and programs.
  3. Opinions and suggestions - let your employees participate
    As a supervisor, you should always encourage your employees to express opinions and make suggestions. You can only create a successful working atmosphere if your employees are just as satisfied as your customers. Whether you schedule regular meetings or provide a feedback box is your decision - the main thing is that employees have the opportunity to express praise, criticism and suggestions.
  4. Training courses and certificates - tangible proof of progress
    Offer training courses and issue certificates when an employee has successfully completed part of your training program. You then put the certificates on display in your station. This way, customers can see at first glance that your employees are trained to handle cars professionally. Garages often display certificates for the same reasons.
  5. Lockers for more security
    Providing lockers for your employees creates a safe place for employees to keep money and personal valuables. The lockers can also be used to distribute messages and pay slips.

With training and education to success

There are many things you can do to get your staff trained to have a great sense of accomplishment during the day. A pleasant side effect is that your customers are also happier. You can start in different areas. We have arranged our tips based on themes for you.

The right professional appearance

  • Always wear a smile and encourage your employees to do the same. This not only looks friendly, but actually lifts their mood. You can also tell your staff to draw "smilies" on the windscreens or side windows when they mark the car for the corresponding wash and there are children in the car.
  • Ask your staff not to wear sunglasses while working. Eye contact is a prerequisite for a friendly, trustworthy appearance and ensures that the customers feel comfortable.
  • Have a set of name badges made up for your employees to wear during their shifts. This helps you create a professional but friendly atmosphere and improve customer service.
  • Staff training should include certain friendly welcome and farewell phrases that will make a good first and last impression. Teach them to respond to each customer and their concerns. Change should be quickly counted out in front of the customer, so that no mistakes happen or complaints crop up later, when it is no longer possible to retrace the payment process.

Around the car wash

  • Make sure someone from the team is always visible and available to take care of your customers' concerns. If a customer has to look for someone to help them, they probably will not come back.
  • For each shift, designate an employee who is responsible for spotting sources of danger, such as tripping hazards. This employee should regularly inspect the wash cubicles and vacuum cleaners to eliminate safety issues.
  • The employees who assist customers in driving onto the conveyor belt should use their whole arms and clear gestures to signal. Customers can easily overlook or misunderstand hand signals.

Advice and service

  • Employees should be aware of the benefits of your wash programs and your car wash and be able to explain these to the customer in a simple and understandable way. Keep in mind that professional and trained employees are the key to your success and help increase your sales. Regular retraining and detailed information about new products make it easier for your employees to do their job well.
  • Your staff should always point out the additional benefits your car wash offers. However, asking customers once whether or not they would like to take advantage of additional services is sufficient. Customers who feel pestered by repeated inquiries will not come back.
  • Train your staff to engage with customers in a friendly and engaging manner. Instead of asking if they would like a wash, putting a direct question to them is better: "So which wash can I offer you?"
  • Select one employee per shift to perform a quality control on at least every twentieth car. Your employee should carefully examine the appearance of the car after the wash.

Tools and the assignment of responsibilities

  • Create an Employee Handbook where you record work instructions and codes of conduct. This handbook should always be kept up to date, and be updated at least once a year. This allows your employees to look things up at any time when they are unsure about what to do.
  • Record your own "training video" on a video camera. Do this by filming one of your employees showing how to do their job properly. You can use this recording to introduce new employees or to refresh long-standing employees from time to time. A self-recorded video such as this can be a good learning aid if all steps are clearly visible.
  • Teach your staff how to respond to customer complaints. Allow them the freedom of choice within a certain scope. This creates a sense of responsibility towards the company and strengthens employees' self-confidence. However, you should give clear instructions as to in which cases you would always like to be consulted.

Here are a few more helpful tips on how to keep your customers loyal to your car wash, apart from by providing great service!