Word of mouth is one of the most potent forms of advertising a dry cleaner has. Great experiences make people want to share the story with their friends and family — but so do awful experiences. Social media and review sites have magnified this publicity to the point where a bad review can directly impact future business. For this Your Views survey, we asked owners and operators of drycleaning businesses about their views on maintaining their reputation — both online and at their front counter.
Most respondents believe that online customer reviews are important to their operation’s continuing success, with 37.5% responding that such reviews “are our lifeblood for attracting new customers,” and 34.4% saying “they’re good for attracting younger customers.” Others taking our survey have mixed opinions — 15.6% believe “they don’t have much of an impact,” 9.4% say “it’s a waste of time and energy to chase them — just do the work,” and 3.1% report that they believe “online sites are ‘pay for play,’” which they refuse to support.
Our survey asked, “What steps do you regularly take to bolster your online reputation?” The answers included:
- “We ask for reviews, particularly for high-profit items like wedding gowns.”
- “Do good work, keep promises and don’t try to do difficult garments in a rush.”
- “Train CSRs to ask customers for reviews. Monitor online forums and reach out to any customer who posts a less-than-stellar review.”
- “A third party manages all my reviews and updates me daily. I respond to negative issues personally.”
When describing how they guard their online reputation, most replied that they take an active role, with 25% saying they protect it “like a junkyard dog — nothing gets past me,” and 62.5% stating they “keep tabs on it and work to keep it positive.” Of the remaining respondents, 3.1% reported they “check it when I remember it,” and 9.4% saying they don’t keep track of it.
When there is a problem, customer satisfaction often hinges on how the cleaner’s counter staff deals with the situation. Our survey revealed that 37.5% of our respondents fully empower their employees to make a problem right, “whatever it takes,” and 43.8% say that their employees are their front line, but they know they can come to the owner if necessary. Only 3.1% of owners report that they alone take care of all customer complaints, with 15.6% saying such situations are handled on a case-by-case basis. “Consistency in our brand promise is one of the most important assets of the company,” one respondent says. “Everyone’s job is to protect that asset in all that they do.”
“It’s very important to protect your online reputation,” another respondent says. “Most, if not all, new customers check that before they trust their garment to any cleaner. There is a reason why a customer is looking for a new cleaner!”
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 this unscientific poll.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].