Buzz Wax Malibu, a hand car wash based in Malibu, California, opened its doors in 2010. Over a decade later the self-dubbed “auto concierge” offers services ranging from a car wax to DMV visits. The business sits nestled inside the gates of several country clubs, a built-in customer base that often has their cars serviced while they play a round of golf or a game of tennis. “I don’t have a CRM system, I don’t have to have a marketing system, I don’t have to have a POS system, I can have it all in one spot,” said owner and president Buzz Cadenhead. When Buzz Wax Malibu first opened they were taking written notes and accepting cash payments in exchange for services. Customer requests quickly prompted the business to start accepting credit cards, invoices, and much more.
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Building customer loyalty in-person and online
Cadenhead makes customers the top priority. He uses a mix of technology and human touch to reach customers. Once a customer’s car is in their hands, they create a custom profile and note anything else they could service. In addition to this, the team tracks anything that could crop up in the future so they can anticipate and meet those needs.
Using Square Customer Directory, Buzz Wax Malibu sets custom fields for notes on length of car leases, needs for detail work or new tires, and checking engine lights, oil, and washer flows. From there the team can offer an upsell option on the spot or set a reminder email for a more timely follow up.
“From the initial car wash of $35 or $40, we become the car’s assistant, and in doing so we grow that $35 to a $70-a-month customer,” said Cadenhead, adding that over the course of the year this amounts to around $1,000 a customer. A number that the business can grow by three or four times if they’re able to find the right mix of relevant services for their customers, coupled with the time and convenience of having their cars serviced while they engage in activities at the country club.
The business, being a hand car wash, is very hands-on by nature. That’s why he uses Square marketing email campaigns to reconnect with customers. Adding a human touch to these emails, he follows them with a text from his phone, a biweekly touchpoint he has dubbed the service after sales campaign.
Scaling the business and hiring new employees
Data is the lifeblood of the business, not only for informing the best way to serve customers but also his staff. Cadenhead determines when to hire new staff to grow a segment by looking at financials. He considers these new segments in relation to what he calls “The Car Called Sierra” business, which includes tires, window tinting, and car sales, a bundle of services he manages. Once he feels there is enough business to keep someone fully engaged and that their addition would drive more business, he makes the hire.
“One of the biggest things I think people forget in business is that an employee is more valuable if you pay him more money and you respect what he needs out of his life, his job, and his concerns for his future versus an extra couple percentage points on the revenue,” he said, focusing on giving his staff time off and a manageable workload. “I want my employees to be happy at work and that reflects [back] to the customer. The customer sees happy guys, and everyone’s working hard and everyone gets it, and they get good tips.”