CHICAGO — Once a simple tool used to keep track of customer pieces and help in the payment process, the modern point of sale (POS) system has become an integral piece of equipment for today’s dry cleaners. As with any complex system, however, some of the most powerful tools can go untapped because the user simply isn’t aware of how powerful the system really is.
In Part 1 of this series, we examined how modern POS systems have evolved and some of the tools they provide. Today, we’ll go deeper into how this technology allows dry cleaners to learn more about their customers — and how to serve them better.
Getting to Know Your Customers
With the days of simply waiting for customers to come through the front door long gone, dry cleaners who know the most about their clients will have the best chance of getting and keeping their business. Many find that their POS system is one of their strongest tools in this effort.
“The right POS system will help you build trust, foster an easy exchange of information and seamlessly connect you to your customers' lives,” says Bill Alber, inventor and the CEO at SMRT Systems.
“A system that is smart enough to help predict the outcome of any customer interaction — whether it’s a basic transaction like creating an order or scheduling a delivery or a more complex issue like addressing a damaged item – will speed up that exchange and allow your employees to focus on expanding that specific relationship rather than just pushing buttons on a screen,” he says.
Data is the lifeblood of any POS system. Developers say that the more data collected, the more intelligently — and more individually — the cleaner can connect with the customer.
“Any interaction that a customer has with your company can be tracked and reported,” says Nick Chapleau, CEO and founder of Starchup. “How many times have they gone to your website? How many orders have they placed on your website? How many times have they walked in your store? How many shirts versus how many pairs of pants versus how many pounds of wash and fold have they brought in? What’s their favorite color clothing? You can track any of that.”
Chapleau believes that having this type of information about individual clients is key to reaching out with attractive offers.
“You can market based on that data,” he says. “If a customer comes in twice a month and hasn’t come in for two months, we know something’s up. Let’s reach out to them. Or maybe they usually bring in dry cleaning, and now we want to give them promotions for rugs or household items that maybe they didn’t know we offer. You can really customize the customer’s experience based on their behavior.”
This personal touch is one of the best ways cleaners can forge a relationship with their clients, turning what could be an impersonal exchange into something closer to a friendship.
“POS provides a highly diverse and manageable customer database that allows for customization for each customer,” says Cleaner Business Systems Sales Executive Jared Epstein. “You can track their cleaning preferences, discount information, offer VIP services, promotions, and coupons and easy to deploy loyalty programs. You can also communicate through direct messaging for easy one-on-one exchanges.”
Rohan Bedi, head of sales and business development at CleanCloud, believes being able to track the natural ebb and flow of your business is also a strong asset.
“A POS system can push you to make good decisions in your marketing,” he says. “If you know that Monday mornings are a very lax time with your business, modern systems give you the ability to put specific discounts in automatically on Mondays, for example. You can market to your customers and make more revenue out of that.”
One of the strengths of a modern system, Alber says, is that it can take care of some functions of the business on its own, freeing up owners to take on higher-level issues in their company.
“Beyond recording and displaying relevant data, the right POS system will automatically act on the data it’s collecting,” he says, “from applying an additional fee for a special fabric or an upcharge for a particular brand, to notifying a customer that their order is ready to be picked up or automatically scheduling a delivery. In addition to eliminating hours of labor and inefficient communication, your system’s intelligent use of the data makes each transaction feel personalized and your client feel like they are being cared for.”
Come back Tuesday for Part 3 of this series, where we’ll examine both the short-term and the long-term advantages a properly utilized POS system can deliver to owners and their companies. For Part 1, click HERE.