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Advances In Car Wash Pay Station Technology

Every car wash operator should remember of the most important technological changes in the past decade as sophisticated technology has found it is way into the market place. The most noticeable leap in technology has been in pay stations, entry stations, automated attendants, automated tellers, auto sentries, and wizards of water. No matter the name you call it by nothing changes the fact that sitting in front of every automatic car wash is a classy piece of equipment that provides wash customers the power to pick out a wash package and make payment. Although, the level of interaction, customization, and functionality varies between make, model, and manufacturer of the equipment you will need to weigh your options wisely when making a purchasing decision.

A short History of Pay Station Technology
Early entry stations resembled self service meter boxes that offered a single flavor of car wash. It was not until later years that entry stations offered multiple tiered wash packages, bill acceptance, and promotional paper coupons read by a bill acceptor. Over the years manufacturers continued to benefit from available technology and build upon a growing demand for more advanced automated entry solutions. Pay on the pump was the first major victory for wash equipment manufacturers of entry stations. With both the interest and funding of the petroleum industry, hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into research and development. This surge is liable for the expansion of many major wash equipment manufacturers of today.

Advances in Pay Station Technology
It only takes a quick tour across the trade show floor put on by the car wash associations to see how much things have changed over the years. Entry stations now talk to customers, make recommendations of other services to buy, give a free car washes on a customers birthday, and speaks multiple languages. Pay stations tell you when they have run out of coins within the hopper, when to empty the bill validator, and if there’s a known malfunction you can get a text message in your cellphone with an alert code. These features are all available in the latest and greatest entry stations, but you need to pay extra for the bells and whistles. Below are a handful of the most influential applications of new technology in pay stations over the past few years.

Touch Screens:
Humans process information with all of their senses but, 80% of that information is processed visually. The optical nerve is physically connected to the brain and is 25 times faster than the auditory nerve. Since an image is worth a thousand words, it needs to be no surprise that animated touch screens allow for a faster and less confusing customer experience. The ATM industry has spent millions of dollars on user design interface and improving touch screen technology. Wash equipment manufacturers are reaping the advantages from those advances in technology. Entry units that reap the benefits of touch screens are able consolidate the interface and create a greater sense of simplicity. Since most entry stations are filled with LCD screens, buttons, coin and card slots, and decals stuffed with static instructions it is no wonder consumers are confused by older style entry units. The face of the entry unit now consists of a large color screen complete with graphics, instructions, pricing, and animated instructional graphics. In some instances wash customers get to interact with former beauty pageant queens as they choose their wash, upgrade their wash package, and pay for the wash. Touch screens won’t be for everyone due to the added cost to the entry system itself, but just like high definition televisions, the price will drop as technology improves and they’re going to soon become common place.

Looking Forward:
Touch screens shall be the primary method for all consumer interactions sooner or later due to the scalability and cost savings to develop on a virtual platform. Imagine how easy it is for a manufacturer to maneuver a button or add a button to a machine when it is not a physical component that requires machining and additional parts. Software programmers just make a change in the code and upload the changes to the entry station via a high-speed Internet connection. In a surprising move, this past year Innovative Control Systems developed the first touch screen based pay stations for self service bays. Personalization, promotional advertisements, and customised digital pricing menus will soon be common place because the technology continues to improve and become more affordable. Wash-wide use of this technology is just around the corner for those that can foot the bill.

Voice Prompting:
If humans process 80% of their information visually, that leaves the opposite 20% to what they hear. Studies on human behavior has concluded that humans are prone to confusion which results in inaction when given only written instruction. The addition of voice prompting makes a consumer five times more prone to follow instructions as they navigate an unfamiliar interface. Entry stations, gift card dispensing machines, and vending machines are adding voice-instruction to great effect as it reduces the number of confused customers. By providing multiple sensory inputs consumer confidence rises as they make decisions about their purchase. A customer with high confidence is a contented customer which in keeping with market research, happy customers spend more cash.

Entry Station Up-selling:
Whether by voice prompt, text prompt, or interactive video, the newest in entry stations will do lots more than provide wash packages for consumers to select from. Based on the selection made by the patron, pre-programmed add-on’s are presented to the shopper for effective up sales. Wash owners across North America have had lots of success with entry stations that up-sell their customers on additional services equivalent to RainX applications or hot tire scrubs. Up-selling has been made hugely successful with advanced entry stations that feature touch screens and voice prompting. These offerings are popular with express exterior washes and unattended in-bay automatics.

High Speed Internet Bank card Clearing:
In a service industry corresponding to car washing, time is money. A handful of the new entry stations are capable of process credit cards via a high speed Internet connection. By having the aptitude to process and clear bank card transactions in in three seconds or less has multiple benefits. Not only is throughput of the wash increased, but bank card fraud is decreased because your complete transaction is cleared before the service is provided. That is unlike existing dial-up bank card systems widely in-use that batch their transactions throughout the day. Thousands of car wash owners yearly must make a difficult decision of whether or not to buy a costly entry station replacement so as to make the most of high-speed bank card clearing. In truth, thousands of existing entry stations in use do not accept any credit cards as a valid type of payment. The exciting news is that even entry stations which might be decades old can benefit from high speed credit card clearing in addition to eliminate the extra cost of phone lines that run to each of their entry stations. There are companies within the car washing industry that give car wash operators the ability to retrofit their existing entry stations with high speed bank card acceptance. An added benefit is that the identical retrofit solution might be applied throughout all the wash. This way a single high-speed Internet connection can provide credit card clearing for every service on the wash. Imagine having the ability to accept credit cards with a single merchant account throughout your wash location. Many of those retrofit solutions offer promotional fleet cards and gift cards that make use of the same reader used to just accept credit cards within the entry stations.

Remote Access and Troubleshooting:
High-speed Internet capabilities and computer software usually are not just for clearing credit cards. Manufacturers and car wash service technicians now have the power to remotely access and diagnose issues with a few of the most recent entry stations. Imagine not having to anticipate a service technician to drive out to diagnose a problem! Like all technology, because it improves so does the speed during which problems can be diagnosed and addressed. For wash owners with older entry stations, retrofit solutions do exist for adding remote access functionality.

Remote Reporting and Administration:
Like most things, entry stations have gotten more reliant upon computer systems and software to operate. A primary advantage to the car wash owner is that the identical systems that power their touch screens and clear credit cards also gives wash owners and operators the ability to know at any given time how much business has gone through the wash. By giving owners and operators this level of accountability, it reduces the danger of employees getting away with theft. Because if you know the way much money should be in the deposit, if comes up short you already know you will have an employee problem, not a machine problem. Wash operators world wide at the moment are finding how much money and time they save by catching a problem before it becomes a serious problem. High-end entry stations now come equipped with remote reporting and paging as an ordinary feature. The excellent news for those wash operators which have older equipment is that there are also retrofit solutions that may give them remote reporting and accountability without having to lay down the massive bucks for a brand new entry station. For example, Imagine Innovations has a product line called Wash Remote that can tie into nearly any service on the wash and provide owners with remote reporting and alert wash owners when something goes wrong or even when chemical levels are low. Entry stations of every kind, vending machines, changers, self service meters and pumps, vacuums, and some other device that accepts payment can all be tied into one remote monitoring network. This will ensure things are running smoothly, money is making it into the bank, bill changers are full of coins, and soap and chemical doesn’t run out before a busy holiday weekend because somebody forgot to check the soap levels.

Proximity Tag Technology:
Proximity technology has been making a giant splash within the gated entry and express wash community. Entry stations are set as much as read a specialized proximity tag that’s adhered to the inside window of a vehicle. The entry station reports the wash selection, time and date stamp of the vehicle and software in the back room authorizes the transaction. The actual promotional value of the proximity technology varies depending on the software and the application. Most car washes offer a vast wash pass for a monthly subscription will use proximity tags to automatically bill a bank card on file. Other operators use the proximity tags or proximity keyfobs to trace commercial account usage and can send businesses an invoice for all wash activity from the previous month. Proximity technology is still very expensive all things considered. Since there are a variety applications for proximity technology at the car wash each business can have to find out how cost effective it will likely be for their operation. Proximity and RFID is a quick-growing industry that may qatar petroleum refinery contact address in time be a key contributor to streamlining car washes around the globe.

Making the correct Choice for Your business
Identical to personal computers, the moment you purchase a new entry station on your car wash operation it should now not be the most recent and greatest. Advancements in entry technology are evolving so quickly that to stay on top would cost a fortune. qatar petroleum refinery contact address Thankfully, as mentioned earlier many of the recent software-based entry stations can all be updated remotely to benefit from the newest programming and have sets. Many of the wash industry manufacturers make a point of offering existing customers upgrade options when new hardware or software is on the market. For existing businesses considering an entry system upgrade for their location consider what their goals are with the upgrade. Many retrofit solutions can be found on the market to assist customers defray the price of buying a wholly new entry systems. For patrons which can be building new washes it really is an exciting time to be making a purchasing decision with so many amazing entry stations available today. So consider your purchase wisely and remember that you just won’t ever regret buying a top quality product as long as you possibly can justify the return on investment.