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How Do You Pleasantly Surprise Your Customers?

Survey finds a well-trained staff is a cleaner’s best asset

CHICAGO — The difference between a dry cleaner becoming a commodity and a trusted expert often falls to the customer’s experience at the store. By making a memorable impression (in a good way), clients will think of your store as their dry cleaner, rather than shopping for price or a bit more convenience. For this American Drycleaner Your Views survey, we’re asked our audience about their mindset and the steps they take to make sure they are the first — and only — dry cleaner their customers think about when they need their services.

When asked what facet they believe makes the most significant impact when it comes to customer service at their company, the front CSRs were the winners by far. Almost three-quarters (71.4%) of our respondents felt that a well-trained counter staff had the most effect on the experience. “Speed of service” and “convenience” tied with 10.7%, while “location” was selected by 7.1%.

While part of that service that great CSRs provide a cleaner’s customers with is the ability to deal with customer complaints quickly and clearly, our respondents reported giving their staff different levels of autonomy. The largest section (40.7%) reported that their staff needs “management/supervisor approval” when it comes to handling unhappy customer claims, while 29.6% said that their staff “can make it right up to a certain amount.” Our respondents tied at the far ends of the spectrum, with 14.8% saying that “they have full autonomy to make it right” and “ownership approves all claims.”

Not all efforts to provide the “wow” factor that goes into pleasantly surprising customers have to be expensive — or cost anything but time and consideration. When asked to provide some low-cost ways they discovered to show they value their customers’ business, our respondents offered some enlightening answers:

  • We smile and deliver on our promises.
  • Happy welcome and sincere thank you.
  • By reminding and celebrating them on their special dates like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and festive seasons through reminders, text messages or calls.
  • A % discount without a reason!

Finding a way to learn about the customers’ experiences is critical to figuring out what is working, what is broken and what can be improved at a drycleaning company. When asked how they went about gathering feedback from customers, two-thirds (66.7%) took the direct route of simply asking the customer. Social media came in second, with 11.1%, and survey/mailers and surveys built into their store’s point of sale system tied at 7.4%. Review sites and text/SMS systems tied at 3.7%.

We finished our survey by asking our respondents for any additional tips or findings they had when it came to providing their customers with great experiences. Responses included:

  • Good customer service is becoming more and more rare. We emphasize providing the customer with an exceptional customer experience.
  • Keep in touch with customers who have a bad experience
  • They want to know the owner is involved with their service
  • People these days are in awe when the clerk greets them by name.
  • Just educate and train staff as much as possible!

The “Your Views” survey offers a current snapshot of the trade audience’s views. The publication invites qualified subscribers to American Drycleaner emails to participate anonymously in the unscientific poll each quarter.

How Do You Pleasantly Surprise Your Customers
How Do You Pleasantly Surprise Your Customers

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].