Report: Christ GENIUS Vitesse installed at Shell petrol station
We sell washes actively

On-site appointment: at the Shell station in Erkheim, there is a new
Christ GENIUS Vitesse roll over wash unit with drive-in, successfully in operation.


André Pilz is satisfied with his new roll over wash unit. The operator of four Shell petrol stations in the Allgäu region has a lot of experience in the petrol station business. Since 2004 the fully-qualified mechanic has been operating petrol stations. At the beginning it was only one station in Munich. But in 2008 he took over a Shell petrol station in the Allgäu area and now he is in charge of four stations. Manufacturer and supplier Christ started installing the new GENIUS Vitesse roll over wash unit at the Shell petrol station in Erkheim on 1 April 2019. The old unit had to go after six years. After five days of installing, the first wash was done on 5 April.

"Together with the old system, the water preparation unit was also renewed, and now Christ's FONTIS-S ensures that the precious water is used sparingly," explains Paolo Micciche, consultant and salesman. At the Memmingen-based company, he is a specialist for roll over wash units, wash tunnels and self-service wash systems and also supplies the details for the system. The "New" one works with oscillating lateral high-pressure as well as 85 bar high-pressure in the pre-wash, moving programme display and it has foam, wax and special waxes. Washes are done with chemistry from Christ. Operator Pilz and his station manager Julia Ganser have already gained experience with the drive-in function offered by the GENIUS Vitesse. Even with the previous system, it was possible for customers to select this function and remain seated in the vehicle during the wash. The station employees observed that time limited customers appreciate this advantage which are about 75 percent of the customers. And it's not just regular customers who are already using the drive-in. A lot of customers like to remain seated in their vehicles instead of standing in the rain or cold while washing their car. Of course, this is much more convenient.

The petrol station in Erkheim has a large amount of regular customers, but there is also a lot of transit traffic, says Pilz. A special advertising concept for drive-in does not exist, but on the display of the terminal at the entrance to the wash system, after entering a ticket, the customer is asked directly whether he wants to remain seated. In addition, when selling a wash, the employees at the cash desk point out that the customer can also remain seated in the vehicle if desired.

Pilz explains: "We sell the washes actively, our employees are trained accordingly. Advertising is good, but the flood of advertising to which customers are exposed every day in many areas means that they often no longer react to it, which is why we rely on direct customer contact." In Shell's training programmes, Berit Köbe, Category Manager for Car Wash, also says that active selling is an ongoing topic. In addition, team meetings are held at one station once a month to discuss the topic, reports operator Pilz. The station manager also closely monitors whether the eleven employees - four permanent employees, three part-time employees and four temporary workers - actively sell car washes.


In addition, according to Ganser, the four wash programmes can be viewed next to the pay tray and also on a screen at the cash desk. The monitor alternately displays the wash programme of the month and the regular programmes. Furthermore the wash programmes can also be seen outside on the wash system. "Our own wash campaigns change every month and there are also Shell wash campaigns that change every two months," explains Pilz. Of course, more programmes would be possible but Shell and the operator don't want that.

Berit Köbe explains why: "At Shell we want to have a consistent wash offer which may differ in nuances but the recognition of the Shell brand and the programme is important." With four programmes, the customer can choose the quality of his wash step by step." These programmes have been configured together with Christ.

"We have found a very good optimization of the programmes together with Shelll", Micciche says, "and they are very popular because they are very clear and the differences are very well recognizable". The customers expect a comparable offer from Shell which should be guaranteed everywhere in Germany," knows Shell district manager Florian Hassenpflug and Berit Köbe adds: "Our wash customers appreciate it. They understand the programmes and the can handle the unit without problems. "There's a large number of regular customers who rely on high recognition." And for operator Pilz it is ultimately like a menu - the more choice you have, the more difficult it is to decide.

The maintenance of the unit is done by the company Christ. Pilz regards the cleaning of the system as a very sensitive issue. "It makes little sense to sell washes in a dirty facility. What customer associates a dirty unit with a clean wash? We clean the wash system regularly." A spare filling station attendant takes care of the cleanliness of the system, whereby the basic cleaning is carried out by Christ.

"We sell 9,000 washes a year at an average price of 8.89 Euro," Pilz reveals. At my unit in Kaufering which has a comparable amount of washes, the average wash price is well over ten Euro. The wash price here is lowered by the basic care because we have the problem that sales representatives do not have the budget for a wash that they would like to have. Most of the times they are only allowed to spend eight to nine Euro for a wash. Private people usually treat their cars with a better wash. The most expensive wash at Pilz costs 15.99 Euro. "Due to the extremely rural location, the willingness to spend more on a wash is rather low compared to urban catchment areas," says Christ consultant Micciche.

The competition is relatively clear for Pilz. He doesn't see the self-service wash as competition. Anyone who washes at a self-service wash system does not want to spend 8.99 Euro on a basic wash. Many young people wash at self-service wash systems out of fear that something will be damaged in the car wash," adds Julia Ganser. Pilz can only agree with that: "Many customers also associate the drive through a car wash with scratches, broken mirrors or defective windscreen wipers." There's a clear division between the wash units and self-service wash systems," says expert Micciche, "I always use a roll over wash unit due to time constraints." According to Berit Köbe, we know from customer surveys that the customer very carefully evaluates which type of wash is suitable for his vehicle. Customers ask themselves: Do I have confidence in the wash tunnel, do I want to remain seated in the vehicle or do I choose the roll over wash system at the petrol station around the corner, where I can do several things?

"Drive-in is important for customers in a hurry," explains Category Manager Köbe. Shell relies heavily on drive-in to provide customers with the greatest comfort.

Köbe: customer requirements are completely individual, depending on the situation of their car, they decide which car wash they want to visit". For all customers, however, the cleanliness of the wash unit and the car is top priority.

Many customers buy a value card to load," reports Pilz, "then the next time they don't have to come to the shop when they require a wash.

In addition they can save ten percent when buying the value card." With the "Ten plus one" offer, the customer buys ten washes and gets one for free. In the current wash campaign, the customer buys two washes and gets the third one for free. "The offer is used very often," reveals station manager Ganser.

Long waiting times are no problem in Erkheim. "The wash system is fast, well equipped and offers many options, so we can fulfil what is required very well," says Christ's Key Account Manager Christopher Wittmann.

And even manual pre-wash is not necessary with the high-pressure with which the mechanical pre-wash works," says Shell manager Köbe. "The system has a unique selling point with its performance in the surrounding area," explains consultant Paolo Micciche.

It is almost possible to wash around the clock. The Shell petrol station is open 24 hours a day. The night desk is only in operation from zero to four o'clock. It is not possible to wash during this time. On Sundays and public holidays, however, washing is possible.

Hans Rongisch, TankstellenWelt (7-8-2019)

Otto Christ AG - The Real Car Wash Factory


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