By Jay McDonald | Jul 17, 2009
Think back to all of the times when you had to wait for someone or something to happen. Perhaps you were sitting in a doctor’s office or standing in the checkout line at the supermarket, or maybe you were getting the oil changed in your car.
How did you feel and what did you do?
For me, I look at the magazines. Unfortunately, they are not always current (or even recent) ones to browse through.
So, often, I’ll then get up to stretch my legs, walk around whatever customer waiting area is provided and read all of the bulletins posted on the wall. However, much like with the magazines, in some cases many of those bulletins are older than me.
Now, I’m left to stare at the walls, ceiling and floor – noticing any imperfections while simultaneously making mental notes as to whether or not I will ever return to this place of business the next time I require a similar service.
In your self-service laundry, your customers do a lot of waiting. Put yourself in their shoes. Perhaps spend an hour doing a load of clothes at your store. Your laundry operation is under a constant microscope, and even the most seemingly insignificant changes will get noticed.
Here are a few low-cost ways to demonstrate that your coin laundry is always “new and changing”:
Bulletin boards can be a good way for customers to while away some time as they wait for their clothes to wash and dry, not to mention the information up there can provide a great service to your community – but only if the boards are dynamic and the information is up to date. Be sure to rearrange the items once in a while. If you get a glowing customer letter, post it; your customers will read it. Some restaurants post the front page of the news and sports sections of the local newspaper every day. That’s an awesome idea and one that might work for your laundry.
Also, consider painting one wall of your store, or perhaps just add a pinstripe along the wall. To really get your clientele involved, narrow down the color choices to three and then let your customers vote on their favorites. This will build customer loyalty and make them feel like they have a say into what happens at “their store.”
May put up a few new posters, or move around the old ones – anything to add some visual interest to what your customers see week in and week out.
Many companies offer monthly newsletters featuring fun facts and tips that are somehow related to the business in question. This could be a possibility for your store – include laundry tips, as well as any news about your store, your attendants or your community that customers would find interesting. And don’t forget to tout any new equipment, services or promotions you may be running.
What about choosing and profiling a Customer of the Month? The winner could receive a free day of washing and drying – and you end up with a built-in promotion. Be sure to put up a photo and some information about the winner in your laundry. This is another easy, effective way to build loyalty within your “customer family.”
Several studies have shown that, when a new self-service laundry is built, laundry customers in that marketplace will go there to check it out just because it is new. I think this happens even more often if the existing laundries these customers currently use seem worn out or “tired.”
Keeping your self-service laundry fresh will minimize your customers’ desire to see if the grass is greener on the other side. Remember, customers notice the little things, especially during “the waiting game.” Take advantage of that time to build your customer retention – and to make more money.