Car cleanliness key factor in customer retentionDawn Pugh, from The Parts Alliance, said: ‘As the economy bites, consumers are continually wanting more for less. We are also seeing a greater number of motorists differentiate on values other than price.‘Car cleaning and valet services represent an excellent opportunity for independent garages to build customer loyalty.‘Independent garages need to continually evolve and look at ways in which they can deliver good customer service and build customer retention rates. Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of advertising, and ensures good quality of service amongst independent garages.‘Nearly half of the motorists questioned (46%) said they currently pay between £3.00 and £8.00 for a clean car. Although independent garages are recognised as offering cost effective and efficient service, they can learn from franchised dealers, and look to offer a car valet or clean. However, rather than bolt the cost onto the total bill, which is current practice for most franchised dealers, independent garages should look to be more transparent and offer customers options that include a cost effective clean or valet.’Most but not all main dealers offer a free service wash whenever a vehicle comes through the service department, but only a small percentage of smaller indipendent garages offer this service to their customers.