Chris Northey, Director of Marketing, Mister Car Wash is excited about the company’s Unlimited Wash Club (UWC) customer loyalty program that has built direct marketing momentum and brand loyalists.
Northey participated in a fascinating Q&A with Loyalty360 to talk about the status of the program and ongoing customer-centric efforts.
Can you give our audience an update on your loyalty program, how it’s going and any numbers you can provide?
The Unlimited Wash Club (UWC) continues to see encouraging momentum. This is a great value program which offers unlimited, worry-free car washing for one low monthly fee. We continue to see our landscape shift towards a more member-centric operating platform as our program growth is being driven by both new and existing markets. We currently operate 134 locations nationwide and in 2014 we will launch UWC to four new markets with our entire portfolio offering a UWC program by the end of the year. It’s exciting to think about what 2015 will bring for UWC.
Our current membership base is approximately 130K.
What specific customer insights have you been able to glean from the program that have positively impacted the customer experience moving forward?
A large benefit of having such a robust membership base is that we are constantly hearing from our customers and finding insights into how we can bring greater value to the program. As we see our membership counts continuing to increase, our customers are consistently sharing with us how much they love the convenience and speed of UWC. We are currently working on initiatives to improve the member experience including introducing UWC “Fast Pass” dedicated lanes which will provide members even greater value. Our initial testing has been encouraging as we have seen transaction process times reduced to less than two seconds. All of this is enabled by technology, which we will continue to integrate into elevating our members’ experiences.
What is your customer philosophy as it relates to achieving positive results?
It sounds cliché, but customers are always at the forefront of our strategy. We’re in the service industry and keeping the customer experience central to what we do is a must. We are keen to hear from our customers and provide timely feedback and follow up. We are fortunate to have a customer base that is engaged and willing to share their Mister Car Wash experience with us. By providing a great customer experience, whether through site level operational excellence, an online engagement, or a marketing communication, both Mister Car Wash and the customer benefits.
With so much talk about data-centricity and customer-centricity, what is your take on obtaining, analyzing, and leveraging customer data to strengthen those pivotal relationships?
We believe in analytics and the power of using data to better understand our customers. For us, it’s about building long lasting customer relationships and using data to continuously add value to those relationships. Data analytics are the new normal in retail marketing and we are ramping up or efforts to bring attractive and relevant offers to all Mister Car Wash customers. We have recently introduced a marketing automation program, which is both data- and customer-centric. From a marketing standpoint, we are focusing our outbound efforts on both customer- and member-centric programs. Data plays a large part in how we develop and deliver those messages. Ultimately, it’s about elevating the customer experience and providing them with offers and communications that speak to their tastes and preferences.
Is customer loyalty changing from your viewpoint and, if so, in what ways?
I think customer loyalty is constantly evolving. What drives loyalty today may not have the same effect tomorrow. Our task is to find ways to continue to add value to the customer as their wants and needs change over time. We are constantly looking at our loyalty programs and asking ourselves, “How can we get better, how can we elevate the experience?”