How Customers Paying for Pileup Damage Costs Your Business

Customers usually end up paying for car wash pileup damage, but accidents are still expensive even if your business isn't liable.

Customer damage costs are only the tip of the collision cost iceberg

Driver error causes more pileups than anything else. Tapping the brake or shifting out of neutral knocks the car off the roller. Then the car sits there until the next vehicle piles into it. It's a traumatic experience for everyone involved, but the customer who caused the accident has it the worst. They're liable for something that doesn't feel like their fault. You can play them the tape that clearly shows them shifting during the wash, but it's generally unconvincing. That customer wasn't aware of car wash pileups until just a moment ago, and they think your operation should be doing more to prevent them.

Writing a scenario like this off as "not your problem" is easy. Your business isn't liable and deep down the customer understands. They'll come around for another wash after they blow off the steam, right? It's a nice story to tell yourself, but that's often not the case. The reality is blowback from the accident often costs around three times more than direct damage costs.

They'll Never Return

When it comes to washing cars, customers always have another option. Even if you're lucky enough to be the only operation in town, customers can wash their car on their own. Holding a grudge against your business is easy when the customer has an alternative. In fact, 91% of customers never return after a bad experience with a business. You might as well say goodbye forever if someone experiences an accident in your tunnel.

They'll Share The Story

Your business can probably handle the loss of future revenue from a single customer, but when that customer starts affecting revenue from other people, the impact on business increases significantly. Research from American Express shows Americans tell an average of 16 people about poor experiences with businesses. On top on that, We live in a social media infused world. It's never been easier for customers to share bad car wash experiences on sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter.

When people read about a customer's bad experience with a business, it's easy for them to take the victim's side, and that impacts your brand regardless of who is liable in the eyes of the law. Negative car wash stories rarely go viral, but when they do, it's detrimental to your operation. In one case, a story attracted so much attention and had such a negative impact, the car wash ended up paying for the customer's damage even though they weren't liable. After the story had already reached thousands, it was easier for the business to pay than suffer the agony of bad PR.

They'll Drive Employees Away

It's bad enough for a customer to experience a traumatic event in your tunnel, but when they hear they're responsible for damages, odds are they won't be happy. It's common for customers to say things they don't mean in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, one of your employees is the bearer of bad news in this situation. It's up to them to absorb the pain being unleashed by the customer and that takes its toll.

Nobody enjoys being threatened, called names, or yelled at, and when it happens at work, it makes looking for a new job all the more attractive. A high turnover rate is expensive because finding and training great people takes time and money. Finding ways to keep the people you have is the easiest way to avoid these costs.

Car wash pileups impact far more than direct damage costs. They drive away customers, impact your brand, and increase employee turnover. If one happens in your tunnel, you can probably mitigate the situation with excellent customer service, but the best solution is avoiding the pileup in the first place. NoPileups is the tool for the job when it comes to full-tunnel collision prevention. Please contact us to answer your questions or schedule a demo. It would be our pleasure to help you avoid hidden pileup costs.

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Car wash pileups impact more than direct collision costs. Try our collision cost calculator to learn more about the effects on your business.

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