published on August 2, 2016 - 8:13 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Today, social media makes a huge impact on getting a message out. I have seen many businesses utilize various forms of social media and be widely successful. But, this story isn’t about how to use Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat to make money. This story is about how social media, more specifically Facebook, helped me, as a small business owner, to ensure that every service is paid in full.

Recently, a customer brought his car in for a carwash at my business, Great American Car Wash in Fresno. My staff gave the customer a sales ticket and advised him to pay the cashier inside. When the customer came into the lounge area to supposedly pay, he walked past the cashier to the waiting area. After the car had been washed and cleaned, the attendant asked for the paid receipt. When the customer couldn’t provide proof of payment, the attendant told the customer to go inside to pay for the wash.

So the customer went back inside the lobby, walked toward the cashier as if he were going to pay, and instead walked back out and drove away. This non-payment is considered theft. We provided a service, and they did not pay. Would you eat at a restaurant and not pay for your food? Would you try on clothes and walk out wearing them? No, you would not, because that would be considered stealing. In the past, when an incident like this happened, we kept a record of the car in our database. If the customer returns, the computer flags the car and then we have the customer pay for the previous unpaid service. But this time, I decided to take a more aggressive action.

As a small business owner, every transaction is important. I cannot afford to be dealing with selfish people who decide, “I’m not going to pay for my carwash today.” They are stealing and think they can get away with it. So right away I downloaded some images from our security cameras and decided to take action. I compiled a most-wanted picture and posted it on Facebook at 5 p.m. The next morning around 5 a.m. when I opened my computer to check on the post, to my surprise, I saw an overwhelming response. Within 12 hours, there were more than 1,000 likes and six shares. I also had a private message from the customer. Within a matter of hours, he came forward, paid for the wash and the issue was resolved.

This type of incident occurred a couple of more times since then and each time we took the same course of action. We made a most-wanted post and shared it on our wall with an immediate response in shares.

Small business owners have a tremendous amount of responsibility to ensure they are bringing in enough revenue to stay in business. With so many changes such as wage increases, laws and insurance compliances, it is important more than ever that we take action to ensure thefts do not occur.

Social media has played an integral part in family members locating each other, friends staying in touch, sharing messages and now helping to reduce thefts for small business owners. I would recommend to all my fellow business owners to implement a similar system to help prevent theft.

AJ Rassamni is the owner of Great American Car Wash in Fresno, 3854 N. Blackstone Ave. He is the author of “Gain the Unfair Advantage, Ingenious Strategies for Exponential Business Success.” Contact Rassamni at aj@carwashfresno.com or Info@GainTheUnfairAdvantage.com.

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