The two basic styles of Moo Moo Express’ “Farm Houses.”
Every wash aims to be known for something: speed, convenience, value, experience, etc. Regardless of their choice, successful owners set a goal and work tirelessly to ensure their wash develops and maintains a reputation of excellence.
For John Roush, founder and managing partner, Moo Moo Express Car Wash, the objective of his washes is simple: operational perfection.
“One thing that I am a huge stickler on is Disney perfect sites,” says Roush. “All of our sites are perfectly landscaped and immaculately maintained. I never want to see a cigarette butt or a piece of trash blowing across one of our locations.”
Guiding a customer onto the conveyor.
When Roush and his partners founded Moo Moo back in 2008 they set out to provide a superior customer experience with clean, well-run sites as its backbone. Nearly a decade later it is safe to say they succeeded. The 13-site chain, centered in Columbus, OH, is a leader in the market and continues to expand to bring its unique concept and operational excellence to as many Central Ohioans as possible.
In July, Roush cut the ribbon on the 13th Moo Moo Express location in the city’s Polaris suburb. The latest site, like all Moo Moo locations, features a three-minute express tunnel adorned with MacNeil equipment, free vacuums, and a farm-based theme.
Moo Moo customers have three wash packages to choose from: the $5 Fat Free, $10 Whole, and the recently added $15 Crème de la Crème. Last year Roush invested in hot wax and a lava foam type entrance at all of his locations when the $15 top wash was introduced.
“It has been really great for us and we saw a buck a car increase instantly,” Roush says. “We give our customers a really awesome high-end product and a cool show. We are putting ounces of wax on every car and it shows. Cars come out gleaming perfect with the wax treatment.
The express tunnel entrance.
Unlike some expresses that rely on labor in the wash process, Moo Moo depends on its equipment to get the job done. No pre-treatment is offered by the staff even during the winter months and challenging spring and summer bug season.
“Bugs are the hardest,” says Roush. “If a customer came back from Florida and hit every bug for two thousand miles we would let them know even before entering the tunnel we might have to run them through a couple of times to get the bugs off. As long as we educate the customer a little bit we really don’t have issues with quality.”
To ensure that each and every customer drives off the lot with a perfectly clean car and a smile on their face, Moo Moo has a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee. Employees will never question or argue with a customer. If a customer is not pleased with the quality of the wash they receive a complimentary rewash or their money back, no questions asked.
Roush and his team are obsessed with customer service and crave feedback on their performance — both positive and negative — to further refine the experience and keep customers coming back for more. Each customer is handed a card by a staff member encouraging them to visit the company website and to fill out a customer survey.
The customer survey is displayed prominently on MooMooCarWash.com and is a vital tool for Roush and his leadership team to evaluate individual site performance as well as consumer trends across the chain. The chance to win a $100 gift card entices customers to fill out the survey, and a different winner is selected each mon
Customer service is job one.
“We encourage our customers to tell us how we are doing on a regular basis,” Roush says. “When we do a good job we want to know about it and share it with our staff. Managers and owners are often not the best at telling people they did a good job. We want our staff to have some positive feedback in their lives.”
While positive feedback is great and helps Roush and his team distribute some well-deserved praise, it is the negative comments that are ultimately the most beneficial. “I tell our staff a negative review is a godsend for us,” Roush says. “The customer made a choice to tell us we underperformed and gave us a chance to be better. We shower those customers with kindness and let them know we are going to fix the problem.”
Moo Moo Express customer surveys operate on a scale of one to five, with five being superior and one terrible. Every customer that rates their experience as a three or lower gets contacted immediately via phone and/or e-mail inviting them back in to rectify the situation. In fact, every one of the approximately 200 customers that takes the time to fill out a survey every month is contacted by Moo Moo staff to either collect more information or just thank them for providing their invaluable feedback.
Every wash comes with a free vacuum.
The Moo Moo mascot advertising the Early Curd Special.
As a true express exterior, staffing is kept to a minimum at Moo Moo, but there are always two to four staff members on site to ensure things are running smoothly. Each site has a general manager, assistant managers, and hourly staff whose job it is to keep the site immaculately maintained and customers satisfied. There is always a staff member positioned at the tunnel entrance to help load vehicles and to do a pre-wash scan of the vehicle and point out any pre-existing damage to both the customer and the surveillance cameras. The rest of the onsite staff is on hand to provide a superior customer experience.
“I like to think about it like when you go to a fancy restaurant or you go anywhere where you are buying something,” Roush says. “Obviously the product is important, but the experience is almost as important as the product itself. I have been to places where the food isn’t that great but the experience is great because of the ambiance and stuff going around there and I want to go back. That is what we want. We want a clean, fresh, nice place, with good-looking staff, and a little music playing in the background. We are always working to enhance that customer experience.”
Moo Moo’s commitment to the customer experience continues to pay dividends. In a little under a decade the mid-size chain has taken over the Columbus market. Moo Moo locations are around a 10 to 15 minute car ride from each other and you can drive from one end of the chain to the other in around 40 minutes. Although it shares the trade area with another multi-unit wash, Roush says the two competitors basically stay out of each others way, with Moo Moo taking the lion’s share of the business. The Columbus market is starting to fill up and it is becoming more and more difficult to locate and secure ideal locations, but Roush and his team expect to open another six or so locations in the next few years.
If Roush and his team continue to put the wants and needs of their customers first as they expand there is little doubt that the Moo Moo name will continue to be known for operational perfection in Columbus and beyond.