Success in the Workplace Leads to Success in the Marketplace

Did you know that the strategies you use as a laundry owner in your workplace dictate employee performance and their specific behaviors toward your customers?

This article is about you, the laundry owner, getting rave reviews and standing ovations by becoming a great mentor, role model, guide and (yes) colleague to your employees.

For example, if a laundry owner is loud or perhaps somewhat abrasive, this behavior often will result in subordinates who tend to become loud and abrasive with customers and coworkers. Employees who grow and succeed, as well as those who fizzle out, often do so because of how the business owner guides the day-to-day operation.

Owners and managers can easily cause employee morale either to deteriorate or rise to unprecedented heights. Morale is governed by the way attendants are motivated and the goals owners ask them to accomplish.

Laundry operators who converse with employees in a civil and friendly manner, encourage them toward reachable goals and motivate them with rewards create employees who are motivated and look forward to showing up for work every day. By contrast, owners who have little regard for employees and shrug them off as “subordinates” are developing a sense of helplessness within those who work for them.

The fact is that employees often mimic the behaviors owners and managers exhibit. If you make it a priority to perform at a high level daily, typically that will infuse the workplace with an identical mindset.

Psychologically, people learn from an early age to pay close attention to the way their parents (our first role models) behave, and subsequently this is how they behave. It works the same way at your laundromat – your work ethic becomes your staff’s work ethic.

When you demonstrate that each task you complete – from opening in the morning to repairing your machines to dealing with customers – is done to the best of your ability, your employees can’t help but notice the effort you put into everything you do.

Vended laundries consist of employees with a bent toward primarily positive or negative attitudes, which often reflect the attitudes of their superiors. If an owner has a negative outlook on everything, most of his or her employees will adopt that same attitude. Negative owner attitudes cause employees to become cynical, which leads to poor attendance and negative customer interactions.

For example, if you’re treated rudely by the server in a restaurant, it’s usually because the owner or manager condones it in some fashion. The same applies to how you’re treated in a doctor’s waiting room by the receptionist, or in a grocery store at the checkout line.

Employees at self-service laundries or any other business, for that matter, should hold the title, “Director of First Impressions” – because that is, in fact, what they really are. In the business world (as in life), there is only one opportunity to make that crucial first impression. In fact, I suggest you have your attendants wear buttons that include the employee’s first name and that exact title.

Your customers will love it, and it’s likely that your staff members will, too. I’ve seen a number of retail and non-retail establishments use this technique quite successfully.

As a consumer, I’ve experienced my share of employee behaviors in the variety of businesses that I patronize. Of course, being interested in the psychology of marketing, I always notice how I’m greeted, waited upon or assisted whenever I shop, no matter what the product or service I’m looking for.

For example, if I visit a “big box” store, I often find it challenging just to find an employee with whom I can even make eye contact. As I’ve already noted, I believe the negative behavior toward me, the customer, emanates from upper management, which the employees mimic. So, I tend to frequent smaller establishments.

One of the absolute best retail establishments I’ve ever experienced is a local jeweler called Miner’s Den. And, if you mimic this store’s style and relate properly to your employees, you will elevate your laundry operation’s image into the stratosphere, which is where this jewelry business resides.

Let’s start with this main premise: most retail businesses are average; some are inferior, and some are superior. This is the normal statistical breakdown for most things that humans do. However, Minor’s Den has been delivering amazing, unparalleled service continuously since 1971.

First of all, the company’s website is awesome. See for yourself at www.minersden.com. Make it a point to view the site on a desktop computer, a good-sized laptop or an iPad (not your cell phone), to get the full impact of all of the site’s pages. As you examine the site, you’ll see how it reaches out and persuades you to visit the store. Each section of the site is compelling. It explains in detail that this business has been family-owned since its inception, along with exactly how well you will be treated when you walk through the door.

What’s interesting to me is that I have visited the store only about five times, never spending more than $30 – and that was for a leather watch band. I’ve also purchased watch batteries there for $5 or $10, the revenue for which the store’s owners graciously donate to charity.

Yet, I have never had an occasion when I’ve had to wait for service, as there are numerous salespeople on the floor at all times. Eye contact is a given, along with a genuine desire to assist the customer – regardless of the size of the purchase.

My personal information and purchasing history are in their computer system, so they are well aware that I’m not much of a customer in terms of dollars spent. However, I always get treated as though I’m spending thousands of dollars in their store.

The takeaway lesson is that their exemplary service and outstanding customer interaction have produced an extremely loyal customer base. The aura of the store – including family-member owners, of course – hits the customer on an emotionally satisfying level, the likes of which I have rarely (if ever) seen before. And that’s why this business enjoys the reputation it does.

This same approach can be applied to your vended laundry, because it works. And it all starts at the top, with the owner establishing a high-performance culture within the laundromat itself, as well as in your advertising, including your website. Successful laundries have high-performance employee cultures, due to superior engagement between top management and employees.

Psychologically, the default setting in our brains is positive, which results from feeling safe and secure. If your interactions with employees are not positive, they will feel a sense of isolation and simply cannot work properly under those conditions. And their work performance (such as dealing with customers) no doubt will suffer from this isolated feeling.

Once an employee is isolated, it will require a large number of positive experiences and time to neutralize this feeling, during which you can easily lose customers.

So, don’t rush to the conclusion that your employees should be blamed for their disengagement behaviors. Perhaps you are the cause, without realizing it.

Now is the ideal time to accept the fact that creating great employees takes more than simply handing out some job description booklet to your new attendants on their first day on the job.

If you want to learn more about specific methodologies to utilize, go online and research “employee engagement techniques.” You will be amazed at what you learn. You’ll run across such topics as:

  • Aligning your company with a purpose
  • Giving your employees “insider” information”
  • Celebrating personal wins with employees
  • Having more fun at work
  • Finding out what your team members are passionate about
  • How to provide personal coaching and training
  • How to promote mental health and physical well-being
  • Starting a learning club

And these are but a few.

Never forget that the way your attendants feel about their work is contagious – like a virus – and it’s most likely the way your customers will feel when they visit your laundry business.

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