Originally posted – Jun 03, 2014
Last time, I discussed some of the questions you should ask your wash-dry-fold customers in order to best process their laundry. In this article, I’d like to take that customer service topic a bit further and talk about training your employees to properly address and interact with your customers.
First of all, we train all of our attendants to learn the names of our regular customers – both wash-dry-fold and self-service. As a result, we try to always have the same attendants work the same shifts.
When a customer comes in, that person should be greeted; and, for some regular wash-dry-fold clients, their order information should be pulled up on the computer as you see them walking in. For example, we have some drop-off customers whose patterns we know so well that we’ve got the order slip written out before they come to the counter. If you know someone always brings in a large load of wash-dry-fold, have the scale on and ready for them.
It’s important to create an inviting atmosphere, and nothing is more refreshing to customers than to be greeted and know that they are known. This also gives them confidence that you’re going to take good care of their garments.
We train our employees to try to communicate with customers on a personal level – using their names, and learning their laundering and processing preferences. For instance, some of our wash-dry-fold customers love plastic wrap and others don’t.
That information should be on your computer, but it’s best if the attendants know those customer preferences, using the computer only as a backup tool to remind them.
Of course, the same goes for when customers pick up their finished laundry. When your attendants see a customer coming in, they should have those particular garments ready for them – don’t make them wait needlessly. And always offer to carry it out to their vehicle.
When your store is busy, if there is more than one customer who needs attention, train your employees to always acknowledge the customers who are waiting to speak with them. Although attendants should give their complete, undivided attention to the customer being helped, it’s critical to at least make eye contact with the others to let them know that they aren’t being ignored.
At my store, with regard to wash-dry-fold orders, we try to get customers to pre-pay for their laundry. After all, we don’t want to be sitting on completed, 100-pound orders of wash-dry-fold.
There are some clients who will just flat out forget they even dropped off their laundry, especially in northern markets where there are seasonal changes. Someone may bring in heavier winter garments in May and then not even think about them again until October.
However, if that laundry is already paid for in advance, the customer is more likely to pick up those clothes in a timely fashion. But the words used to approach them are critical to making them feel comfortable with pre-paying. So, at my store, we always say, “It will be [X number of dollars], if you’d like to pay in advance.”
The key is to give customers a sense of urgency that you really would prefer if they pre-pay, without actually saying they have to pre-pay.
Communicating with customers over the phone is another issue you should discuss with your employees. It’s crucial that your business phone is always answered professionally and with the same phrase every time – and that phrase should include your brand and a specific greeting.
It’s also critical that, when potential customers call in, they don’t get someone who can’t answer their questions. To that end, only certain employees who have been with us for a designated period of time are allowed to answer the phones at my store.
All in all, investing the time to properly train your staff members to handle themselves professionally and courteously with your customers will make a huge difference in your laundry business… and your bottom line.