Every counter and route customer represents hundreds if not thousands of dollars in potential revenue, referrals and lifetime value, so that ONE lost customer starts to look pretty darn important.
It’s five times as hard to get a new customer as it is keeping one. So what can you do to keep your valuable customers from jumping ship and joining your competition?
#1: Communicate With Them On A Regular Basis – most dry cleaners NEVER e-mail, telephone or send a letter to their customers EVER! Is that you? I hope not.
The FIRST STEP is to send them a “Handwritten Thank You Letter.” When they first come into your store or join your route, they get a hand written note from you, your CSR’s or your route manager.
What do you say? You say, “thank you for coming in and please call me at 555-1234 if you have any questions” and then offer them 10% to come in again. Tell them just to bring the thank you note for the discount.
The SECOND STEP is to send out a formal “Welcome Letter.” In this letter you tell them your story, about your business beliefs, how the route or counter works for them and how you welcome complaints. Yes…complaints. The only way you’ll find out if you’re doing something wrong. Our Welcome Letter is 4 pages long.
The THIRD STEP is to send them an e-mail. Take your Welcome Letter and e-mail it to them. Why both? Some people like snail-mail, some like e-mail.
The FOURTH STEP is to send out a “Welcome Package.” Include one of your newsletters (if you have one) and a free gift. We give them a micro fiber cloth and instruct them how to use it to keep their shower clean.
The FIFTH STEP is get them set up on an e-mail autoresponder. You can use MailChimp, Constant Contact or Aweber, to name a few. Create fifty e-mails and send out one a month. Our members use a cleaning tip, household tip, or other, every week with either the special of the month or an offer to refer their neighbor. If your customer does not like getting e-mails, they can opt out. 90% will continue getting your e-mails.
And the SIXTH STEP is for route customers only. You must remind them the night before their pick-up with an automated phone call. This is especially critical for new customers to get them in the habit of putting out their dry cleaning on their pick-up day.
It is important to continue these calls because your customers sometimes forget. And when they forget, they don’t want to call you and bother you for a pick-up. So they run to the closest dry cleaner. And if that’s not you, you’re starting to lose them. If this happens 3 or 4 times, they’re gone! You’ve lost a customer. If they are reminded every week with a call, they most likely won’t forget to put out their dirty dry cleaning.
Best to call 7 p.m. the night before. Your customers always have the option to opt out. 10% will. 90% will continue to get your calls. We start out the call with the “quote of the week” and remind them to leave out their dry cleaning the following morning. You can use VoiceBlaze.com or CallFire.com to handle your calls for you.
You can also start to control the volume of dry cleaning to shift from early in the week to later in the week by reminding them Wednesday and Thursday night for Thursday and Friday pick-ups. This will level our your van and allow you to handle more volume per van.
#2: Create A Category Of “ONE” In Your Market – Grant Carson in sunny California has created a “Category of One” in his market for his delivery business. How does he do it? Whenever he gets a call for a pick-up (and it could be Sunday afternoon), he goes and gets it. If someone calls early and they need it back the same day, one of Grant’s people take care of it.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “This guy is losing money hand over fist by having his employees go out on these missions.”
Or you can look at it like Grant does. Each time his dry cleaning delivery company does something like this, he creates a “WOW” experience. His customers know that if they’re in a pinch, “Super Grant” will come to the rescue.
Guess what happens when one of these “Super Grant” recipients gets asked about what dry cleaners they use? That’s right. They go on and on about Grant’s dry cleaning pick-up and delivery service. Grant gets tons of referrals and very rarely loses customers.
He looks at these out-of-the-ordinary pick-ups as opportunities to create a SUPER CUSTOMER. That super-customer will recommend his delivery service until the cows come home. Wouldn’t you? I would. I’m getting excited just writing about this and I wanna use his service.
David Whitehurst in Birmingham, Alabama has a popcorn machine in the lobby of his three stores. He’s created a fun atmosphere in each of his stores. He sends out the “hand-written” thank you notes I told you about – and he also has a monthly newsletter. In his newsletter, his dog Champ gives out positive and inspirational advice. People come in all the time asking about Champ.
David and Grant have created a “Category of One” in their markets. No one else can compete with them at their level; therefore they get all the customers.
What can you do to create a “Category of One?”
#3: Respond To All Customer Inquiries With SPEED – you cannot underestimate the power of “Speed.” Amazon has taken over the world with their 2-day free shipping and in some markets, same day shipping. Nothing like ordering something online and getting it the same or next day. Sometimes it’s faster than if you were to go to the store yourself or it seems like it.
Member Stephen Moore is a “Speed Freak.” When a new customer signs up on his website for his delivery service (and lots do), he gets a text. What does he do? He calls them immediately and arranges for a pick-up within the hour. His new customers are amazed at how fast his delivery company handles this. Stephen handles all new customers. This way it gives him a chance to give them the right impression right off the bat.
And along with that first pick-up, Stephen leaves his Welcome Kit, which includes lots of goodies along with his newsletter.
And when his dry cleaner gets calls, they handle all inquiries with speed being paramount.
You don’t want your customers going anywhere else. I hope you take some of these ideas and put them to work in your dry cleaning business.
Go to it!