How excited were you to go to work today? Did you pop out of bed with a smile, knowing that your day was going to be full of good fun, camaraderie and fulfilling customer interactions or did you trudge to work wishing you could be anywhere else in the world?
While it might be a lot to ask that every employee face each day with a smile, it is certainly something to shoot for and something that has been proven to pay back with dividends. To prove this point, let’s analyze the case of Wild Blue Car Wash. In 2010, Colorado Springs car wash owner David Begin was at his wit’s end. His two-store automated car wash business had good volume and revenue, but day-to-day operations were a complete nightmare due to soaring turnover rates. He was so discouraged that he considered selling the business. Instead he invited a third party to interview his employees and assess the causes of turnover. Below summarizes his key findings:
- Pay levels below market
- Random, ineffective recruiting strategies
- Inadequate interviewing and selection process
- Insufficient training
- Absence of systems or processes
- Lack of management skills
- Poor corporate culture
With this information in hand, the business hired Webolutions, a leading Denver Marketing Agency, to help devise a strategy to create a brand and culture which would drive improved levels of employee satisfaction and retention. After a detailed analysis of current company strengths, competitive messaging, and typical visitor personas, the folks at Wild Blue determined that their mission was FUN. They set out to become the most unique car wash experience in Colorado. They implemented a number of internal and external changes to bring this mission to life:
- Changed the name from Take 5 Car Wash to Wild Blue Car Wash
- Defined the desired employee and customer experience with the focus on making life more enjoyable and enriching
- Revised hiring, training and customer handling standards with the goal of finding and developing people-oriented employees eager to make the car wash a fun experience. Employees are now called “guest enjoyment coordinators” to reflect their role in making Wild Blue the most unique car wash in Colorado
- Revised the product line to reflect the new company attitude with products like “Wheely, Wheely Clean” and a new mascot “Hank the Tank”
- Rethought the end-to-end customer experience adding fun signage, jokes and costumed employees to make it truly unique
- Redesigned the website and added customer engagement programs like the free birthday car wash and loyalty rewards programs
This focus on experiential marketing and redesigning both the employee and customer experiences has paid off in big ways for Wild Blue. The company had issued 1,300 W-2’s in the five years leading up to this change and experienced 217% turnover in 2010. By 2012, turnover was down to 24% and employees are clearly having fun on the job. Each Guest Enjoyment Coordinator is challenged to think of new ways to make the car wash a fun and unique experience for customers. One guy even dresses as Darth Vader and leads guests onto the conveyor with his “light sabers”.
Word has gotten out in Colorado Springs. In 2012, volume was up 18% and revenue rose by over 20% as guests switch to Wild Blue and increase the frequency of their car washes.
How to Use This Information
Think about the experience you provide your employees. Have you taken the time to define your corporate culture and implemented steps to make it unique and satisfying? It’s virtually impossible to deliver a great customer experience if you haven’t first addressed the employee experience. Each employee needs to understand where you are trying to go as a business and their role in helping you get there. While competitive pay is an important part of the employee retention equation, studies consistently show that employee motivation is derived more from a sense of contributing to something unique and worthwhile than from their paycheck.
Whatever you choose, make sure your customers can depend on it each and every time by training all your team on the customer experience you wish to create and helping them understand their role in making it happen.
If you are creating amazing experiences for your employees and your customers, please share how you are doing this in the comments area below. If you would like to learn more about how Webolutions can help you design an experience marketing program that will give you a competitive advantage, give us a call at 303-300-2640.