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Convenience Converts Customers (Part 1)

Diana Vollmer |

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumers, especially drycleaning consumers, are busy people. They are pulled in a thousand directions and have little discretionary time. That’s why they outsource the maintenance of their wardrobes to us.

They also are bombarded with marketing messages every second of the day so it’s a challenge to grab their attention, even for information that’s important to them.

Concrete and convenient alternatives that make their lives easier will win their business and their loyalty.

One of the most inconvenient personal services has long been professional dry cleaning and laundry. Like buying gasoline for a car, it is a classic “nuisance” errand. Few, if any, other consumer services have such limited hours of access, such a delay in delivery of the final product, and, to make matters worse, such a long time to complete a transaction that traditionally takes at least two visits. Whatever can be done to overcome these hurdles can be a competitive advantage.

COMMUNICATION

Each new entrant into the cleaning and laundry market has touted its “new” and convenient approach to the business. The competitive advantage they claim is real, but the conveniences they offer are hardly new. Their real competitive advantage is letting consumers know of all the customer-friendly alternatives a business has to offer.

Have you let your customers and prospects know about all the convenient options you offer, or do you think they know about them already?

Behavioral studies indicate that it takes at least six exposures to a message for it to register with the average consumer. How many times have you “told” them about your route service? How prominent is your drive-through signage? Is your 24-hour drop box boldly signed and lit at night? Does your counter staff promote the convenient options? Do staff members rush to take clothes to a car before the customer can open the car door? It is likely that the customer is not being automatically served in the most convenient way and may not be aware of the many available options.

A profitable use of management time is to create a plan to take the convenience message to existing customers and to prospects.

For example: Kudos for creativity go to the Philadelphia cleaner that “delivers” clothing via drone. The business has enjoyed more free national media coverage for that not-yet-ready-for-primetime idea in the last three months than most companies receive in a decade. A little creative thinking, and you could enjoy that kind of exposure as well.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion!

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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