Since I began working at a gas station when I was 18 years old, washing cars has always been part of my job.
Back in the old days, if you went to a gas station and asked for a full tank of gas, it was commonplace to receive a free car wash.
For this reason, the day after it rained, we would always get a lot of customers who asked for full tanks so they could get their cars washed.
Even though you received the same amount of pay on rainy days, when there were no customers, as on sunny days when a deluge of customers were filling their tanks and getting their cars washed, the difference was like heaven and hell. For this reason, when I was young, I hated sunny days.
On the other hand, when I woke up in the morning and heard the sound of falling rain outside, I remember feeling relieved and very happy.
Having gotten used to this repetition, even though I am in the car wash industry, for which rainy days are problematic, I still feel a sense of relief when I hear the sound of rain, which is one of the sounds I love.
When I was younger, washing cars was simply hard work. It was not very rewarding, and I tried to make it as easy on myself as possible.
I wonder when my thinking changed. Even I cannot determine when the change occurred, but I came to realize there is a relationship of squares between making cars beautiful and customer happiness. To put it another way.
If a car is cleaned to level one, the customer’s level of happiness is one (12).
If a car is cleaned to level two, the customer’s level of happiness is four (22).
If a car is cleaned to level four, the customer’s level of happiness is 16 (42).
A clean car = A happy customer.
Making a car even cleaner = Making the customer even happier.
Making the car cleaner than expected = Making the customer surprisingly happy.
Providing the customer with significant happiness, or more specifically satisfaction, is also known as added value in the service industry. Customer satisfaction is often returned to us in the form of appreciation, which makes us feel the job was worth doing.
My thinking began to evolve: there is nothing more interesting and fun than to make cars even more beautiful and go the extra mile to make sure customers take home happiness equal to the square of the efforts we put in.
If “car washing”— meaning washing, polishing and protecting, cleaning and all other aspects of making a car beautiful—is provided in such a way that a customer’s expectations are exceeded, then it is not “hard work.” Rather, it is “happiness” that takes business to an even higher level. I became convinced that the results in customer satisfaction through the squaring of our efforts would enable the business to spread on a broader scale.
One step towards realizing this goal is KeePer and KeePer LABO, and more recently, Crystal KeePer and Express Wash Wing. To ensure all this is communicated properly, we have training centers across Japan.
Rather than hard work, washing cars should be transformed into customer happiness. We are creating “Making a new car-wash culture in Japan” to enhance business is meaningful for everyone at KeePer.