Even a car wash has a loyalty program. You should too.

Cincinnati-based Proctor and Gamble owns Mr. Clean car washes, an extension of their Mr Clean brand that expanded into the profitable car wash supply market a few years ago – and tripled the revenue from their oldest brand. Wouldn’t you like to triple the revenue from your oldest brand after 50 years? Count me in:)

Like any smart business, they have instituted a car wash loyalty program, which is briefly mentioned in a Cincinnati Enquirer story about the new car wash: http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070720/BIZ01/307200033 ( archived at http://www.rescuemarketing.com/MrCleanWashingCars.pdf, just in case they delete the article )

Even though the Mr Clean car wash concept is new and only at one location so far, they’ve already signed up 400 loyalty program members.

I wonder if they are missing THE key element that is critical to their success in generating profits from a loyalty program…

The key element? Motivation. Getting the loyal customer who has already “raised their hand” to come back again and again – when motivated, rather than when they randomly remember to return.

A loyalty program that doesn’t have a built-in marketing program is a really wasteful move that leaves money on the table. It’s certainly better than no program at all, but not nearly as profitable and habit-forming to the client as it could be.

My advice: Don’t expect the client to remember ANYTHING, nor depend on their random behavior.

That’s why I suggest taking a look at the Royalty Rewards program – which is almost completely hands-off, works with any point of sale setup, and takes regular steps to motivate your clients to return again and again. It’s the only program I’ve seen that is designed to market your business to your best customers – and reward them for taking action. The program is discussed briefly at RescueMarketing.com, and I’ve recorded a video about it at http://www.rescuemarketing.com/royalty

The nice thing about it is that just about any business can use a program like this to encourage repeat business, rather than depending on random customer behavior to bring your customers back.

Going back to my story about the smartest barber on the planet – note this quote from the car wash story…

“We had one gentleman ask if he could schedule a regular weekly appointment,â??â?? said Grady McCarthy, site manager for the car wash

Of course, scheduling car washes wouldn’t work any better than scheduling haircuts, would it?

Loyalty programs aren’t just for retailers. Almost every business can use them. Research has repeatedly shown that customers in loyalty programs buy more often, spend more and “stick” (stay with you) better. They tell you who your best customers are, and what they buy. They tell you when a customer hasn’t been in within the expected/typical amount of time – and possibly catch them before you lose them as a customer.

Quite frankly, you’re nuts if you don’t have one. They’re a hugely powerful marketing tool.