For many sports teams this year, pre-season training has been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet no player or team — from junior leagues to the pros — improves without continual training. The same goes for your car wash team.
Just as athletes repeat the same drills, over and over, so your team players need to be reminded, and sometimes retrained, on essential processes. As the manager, YOU are the coach!
People need continual feedback to stay sharp. And in the car wash industry, constant change in car wash equipment means there is always more to learn. Successful organizations know they must create a culture of continuous improvement.
While we often focus on staying ahead of the competition, we also need to stay on top of rising customer expectations. In our sports analogy, the competition is the opposing team, but the fans are the ones the team is really playing for!
Fans come expecting a win. Your customers come with expectations of quality, value, and speed of service. Let’s take a closer look at this last item: speed. A “win” means exceeding the customer’s expectations — and data show those expectations are rising.
Ten years ago, it was common for retail transactions to take an average of 30 seconds to process. Today, it’s three seconds. If you had to wait 30 seconds for your credit card to clear, you would be highly disgruntled.
Many car wash businesses have successfully improved speed of transactions by implementing automatic pay terminals. But they also need to address total speed of service. Getting a full-service wash done in 10 minutes rather than 20 minutes would not only increase volume today but also would impact long-term survival.
One way to continually improve the car wash process is to invest in better equipment. But, there is another way to speed things up without any capital expenditures whatsoever: continuous coaching of your team.
An exceptional manager is a coach. And a good coach knows how to approach each player to motivate them to the next level of performance.
Observe — Don’t speak until you’ve taken time to observe patterns of performance and behavior. Take notes so you can refer to specific incidents and missteps. Remember to also capture some things that were performed well.
Assess — Don’t rush to speak! After observation, step back to evaluate what you have observed. Was there a reason the employee might have been cutting corners? For instance, maybe the car wash was very busy and understaffed. You might decide to wait to talk to the employee until things calm down, or you might turn your attention to the bigger problem, which is understaffing. Most of the time, however, you will want to address the issues you observed right away.
Feedback — The essence of coaching is feedback! First, set the tone by letting the employee know they are doing well overall. Then point out what you observed. Give positive feedback along with the corrective feedback. This should not be a lecture, but rather a dialogue. The question for someone who knows exactly what to do and has done it consistently well in the past, but didn’t do it for some reason in this particular situation, is, “Why?” Listen to the employee to uncover the root of the situation.
Change — After giving feedback and reaffirming expectations (retraining on the process if necessary), observe the employee again to see if the desired change has been implemented. Coaching on the particular issue is not over until you see the actual change in performance!
Reinforce (or Repeat) — If you see the desired change, make sure to reinforce it with praise and positive feedback. If you don’t see the desired change, go back to step two (assess) and begin the coaching process again. Follow up continuously until expectations are met.
Coaches need development, too! If you’d like to learn more about continuous improvement for your team, contact Brink Results today for a free consultation by calling (239) 334-1050, or email: [email protected].