ATLANTA — When it comes to bringing customers in the door, dry cleaners have two options: Find new customers and retain the existing customers. While a lot of attention goes to bringing in fresh faces across the front counter, keeping loyal customers is less expensive and can be more profitable.
During the 2022 Clean Show in Atlanta, Norman Way, vice president of Richmond, Virginia-based Puritan Cleaners, spoke on this topic during his session, “Marketing Out of Your POS.” In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the importance of using the information already in hand to communicate with clients, and today, we’ll examine ways to build that database to become more targeted and useful.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
“In his book, Business @ the Speed of Thought, Bill Gates writes, ‘How you manage information will determine whether you win or lose,’” Way says. “Can’t you Google anything in the world? Why aren’t we ruling the world? When it comes to information, having it is not the prize. It’s using it that gets you the prize.”
Way offers several steps that his team has found useful in getting actionable information:
Obtaining Client Data has to be the Norm — “I remember way back when we didn’t have anything but the first initial, last name and a phone number,” Way says. Knowing he needed better data, Way’s team had to increase its efforts. “We started doing contests, where you had to get their name and their email. And, in the two weeks we had that contest, we got thousands of them. So, let’s make sure that we’re pressing forward and that every person is trained on how to get an email address.”
Make It a Conversation Versus Questions — “I wouldn’t go over and say, ‘Hello, may I get your email? May I get your birthday?’” Way says. “Instead, I might ask for your birthday — ‘not the year, just the month and day — because we’d like to send you a little something on your birthday. What email could I send that to?’ Now I’ve given a reason for something, instead of just asking for the thing.”
Share the “Why” with Your Team — In order to get consistent results, a cleaner’s team needs to know whyit’s important. “They need to understand that what they are doing is helping to make their job easier with customers,” Way says.
Proper Capitalization Matters — Customers don’t enjoy feeling like they are being shouted at: “This one’s a little pet peeve of mine,” he says. “If the caps lock is stuck on and you send a greeting email, it’s going to come over, ‘Dear SALLY,’ with all caps. These are little details that you might consider.”
We Clean Garments; We Also Clean Our Data — As customers come and go, it’s important to weed out clients who are no longer active. “At some point,” Way says, “you’ve got to get rid of some of the trash that’s in your system so that you’re marketing to good people.”
Emails are Still No. 1 — While new technology and methods of communication are always advancing, email is still one of the most valuable pieces of customer data to collect. “These days, people tend to give their cell phone number, so you can send them a text,” Way says, “but make sure to ask for their email, as well.”
Verify Information — Occasionally, Way says, you need to make a pass to verify the information you have. While the customer might still be active, their data may be out of date. “Sally Smith gets married, and she’s now Sally Jones,” he says. “Sally Jones moves, and her address changes. So have a process in your system to occasionally verify the information.”
Come back Thursday for Part 3 of this series, where we’ll explore ways to put this information into action for your business. For Part 1 of this series, click HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].