ISTOBAL has analysed the behaviour of automatic carwash users in order to determine what motivates them and what their needs and concerns are. Several conclusions have been drawn from the study. The first one is that four factors can prompt users to wash their vehicles: image, enjoyment, need, and maintenance.
When users wash their vehicle, they wonder what the best places are based on five variables: how long it takes, quality or finish level, if the carwash is near home or the workplace, payment method, and price.
Through interviews and observation, and considering these five variables, carwash frequencies and eight user profiles were established. These cases seek to cover the most extreme behaviours, and to detect opportunities. As an exploratory tool, people allow us to build and compare scenarios and solutions based on « real users” rather than theoretical profiles.
In this way, eight user profiles have been shaped to help us improve service and further refine priorities. The professional, the careful user, and the executive are the three users that use the carwash to a great extent. For the three of them, their car is an important and active part in their routines, and taking care of it is a priority.
For the professional , a car is a tool. This means there are great advantages for carwash facilities but they need to know how to meet those needs: for instance, how to keep brushes clean or to ensure that air pressure systems work smoothly.
The careful user is key. He/she represents thousands of people in this country: a self-employed person aged 30 to 40, with a passion for vehicles, who takes pride of his/her car. They like a carwash with the latest technology and they have a tool kit in their vehicle.
The executive is someone who visits clients and needs to make an impression. Their car is part of their own identity. Image is very important. They like things fast, and they love effectiveness and efficiency. They do not care about price, the company pays.
The next three profiles should not be overlooked either, even though they do not use car washes so much: the green user, seniors, and young adults.
The ‘green’ user rides a bicycle whenever possible and takes his/her car to the carwash not too frequently, maybe after intensive use, for example when he/she is back from a holiday. A senior user is a retired businessman who enjoys travelling. His car is perfectly serviced but he is not particularly worried with the way it looks. He takes it to the carwash once a month, and he does not like waiting. Young adults do not mind dirt or stains on their cars because they tell a story. They are a typical example of people who do not go to the car wash all that frequently.
And in between these categories, there are two profiles with an average car wash frequency: The well-off user: not particularly interested in cars, they like a car well serviced; and the weekender, who takes his/her car to the car wash after the weekend, to remove the mud and the dirt.
In sum, to motivate users and intensify car wash use, it is essential to prioritise the highest-frequency profiles. A number of promotional avenues can be opened up in this regard, for example links with professional associations, taxi drivers, agreements with companies that have vehicle fleets, loyalty cards, and other marketing actions.