ATLANTA — Keeping customers loyal to your drycleaning business is just as important — if not more so — than bringing in new clients. The key to achieving long-term success is to build both of these bases without sacrificing the other.
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 in Part 2, we examined ways to build that database to become more targeted and useful. Today, we’ll focus on building a plan to put this valuable marketing data to use.
Putting Information into Play
Way illustrated several ways to put collected data into marketing efforts to keep customers once they’ve done business with your company. The first technique is to have a standardized method of welcoming new customers.
“Everyone wants to be welcomed,” he says, noting that this starts with the customer’s interaction with the counter staff. “Make sure that your personal experience is good, because that will trump anything that you promise in your email.”
A valuable reason to have a well-thought-out and standardized welcoming protocol is that your company speaks with one voice: “Repetition breeds familiarity. Whatever you’re saying at the counter should be the repetition that you’re putting in your emails and other marketing.”
That initial interaction also gets the marketing effort off on the right foot. “It’s a good time to list the information captured at signup,” Way says. “So, if you’re welcoming the customer, ask them about the information you got from them. That way, they can say, ‘Oh no, my name is spelled with two E’s, not one.’”
Once the new customer is in the system, it’s important to make sure the lines of communication are open by sending an email.
“Be welcoming, but don’t be pushy,” Way says. “The customer who comes in today gets an email back tomorrow that welcomes them and lets them know that they’re appreciated.”
Way’s company has a standard email for that first interaction that they’ve fine-tuned over the years.
“In the welcome email that comes from Puritan, it says it’s on behalf of our entire team — we’re not trying to make it specifically about an individual,” he says. “We talk about things that we do, and we’ve got a couple of links to go with that. We’ve embedded a welcome YouTube video to go with it, as well. We tell them, ‘We are here for you and welcome any questions — you can email us. And, by the way, here’s all the fields that we captured for you, and we want to make sure that those are all correct.’”
Also, Way warns about getting too verbose in email messages: “Be friendly, but get to the point. People have a ton of things to read.”
Later in the Game
As the relationship progresses, using your POS system to keep track of a customer’s activities can be key to keeping them engaged with your company. For instance, when a customer hasn’t been in for a certain period, or if their pattern changes, modern POS systems can flag that customer for special attention.
“You can offer a sale,” Way says. “You have those days when business is down, and you have the data of your customers. Why not send them and something that can direct them to your store? And most sales don’t have to be 50% off — just giving $3 off something gives them an opportunity to come in or a reason to be there on slower days.”
While some owners balk at offering sales because of profitability concerns, he believes it can be a win-win situation.
“If they’re not coming in, then you’re not losing anything,” Way says. “You didn’t send this to everybody, so you didn’t discount your cash flow. Because you have the data, you can say, ‘I only want to do this for people who haven’t been in during the past 30 days but have been in X number of times during the year.’ Once you do that, you’re getting the habit re-established with customers.”
Other reasons to email, Way says, include birthdays and anniversaries.
“Our subject line is, ‘Happy Wrinkle-Free Birthday,’ because everybody gets a little wrinkle when they get older,” he says. “We give a 21% discount. I love odd numbers, because even numbers just kind of blend in, and who in here wouldn’t like to be 21 again?”
Come back Tuesday for the conclusion of this series, where we’ll work on the fundamentals of building a winning marketing game. For Part 1 of this series, click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].