The Convenience Factor

We live in a world that pampers us and we go to businesses hoping for pampering. Some provide it and some don’t. Some businesses look straight through the customer and that is if they are even trying to make eye contact. Those same people, amazingly enough, expect the pampering from who they trade with. It seems we all are just playing some big game of confusion. The only thing that matters in this puzzle is that you treat your customers with respect and lots of attention. And then there is the convenience factor. It is said that a CSR only gets one chance to make a real impression on a customer. I’d hate to think – that opportunity got lost in the gruel of your morning that was spoiled by something that aggravated you. On the other hand, most people seem to understand that everyone has a bad day and maybe you just walked in at that inopportune time. Second time around may prove better. We’re only human.

Set aside for a moment about being a cheerful customer service person or owner. Most of us still want to be pampered, therefore, as business owners we need to remember to sell convenience. If you were only driving one direction, let’s say to work, every day and the cleaners you want to trade with is on the other side of the road, is that convenient? Oh, but the customer might possibly be traveling the same direction going home and could stop conveniently at that cleaners on the right side of the road this afternoon. Or maybe not. I once had a customer that told me he only drove by my plant in the evenings and the sign always said “CLOSED.” Well, yes of course we do close at the end of a day. But to him it meant you were never open, though he knew better. I was moved enough by his statement that I quit putting up a CLOSED sign and only put up an OPEN sign when we were there. A small thing you should not have to do, but I did. The customer is ALWAYS right, that is if you care to succeed.

Always Remember This Is a Luxury Sale and They Might Leave Us at Any Time

The best convenience that I know of is making the experience as easy for the customer as possible. That is why we have drive-thru’s. If the sale really begins with convenience, be prepared to do whatever necessary to please them. I have been known to put a new “sorry but” tag on a garment as much as three times as soon as the customer drove away. I know I cannot safely remove that stain but I do not wish to argue with my customer. Make it convenient. Always remember this is a luxury sale and they might leave us at any time. Putting aside the quality of your work for a moment, focus on how an inconvenient experience can be the loss of loyalty as a customer. Not everyone is understanding and so easy to please. I remember these Emmy Award winners too. The kind of customer you end up calling the police to get out of your store. But that’s a whole other story.

I would want my customer pampered on every level. They’re in a hurry to get the garment done? They want special attention to your garment? We can do it! Writing down these notes of attention from the customer is sheer delight to them. They want to be certain you are really going to do what they asked. In this world of computers, that is a challenge. Have a note pad handy and put it with their clothes. Remember – they cannot see what you are doing on that computer! Convenience means making sure that customer is happy. Put the mundane ho hum “going through the motions” attitude aside and really focus on making this a convenient and serious undertaking. We all know how fussy folks can be about their garments. Accommodate them.

I always felt that asking the customer what they wanted was important, instead of going through the motions and using industry jargon that makes no sense to the customer. Getting back to the drive-thru. I know how it shatters our world to see a customer toss their garments in the back seat when going thru the drive-thru. That’s their prerogative. They choose the drive-thru for its convenience. Convenience breeds habit. Habit is how we want to make a solid customer out of these folks. Personally I hate drive-thru’s of any kind. But again, it’s not about what I want, it’s what the customer wants. We can actually be more accommodating if the customer comes in the door, but the choice is theirs.

I believe the entire world wants convenience. It is one of the reasons drycleaning has suffered due to wearing convenient/sloppy clothes that don’t need drycleaning. Casual Fridays have become casual weeks. I don’t know the answer but we make the best of what we have. I hope you share my views here or challenge them by contacting me. Either way, let’s make it convenient for our customers so the sale is guaranteed. Please note that this only covers taking in garments and pleasing customers for convenience. The quality of your work is a whole other most important issue.

I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these boots are killin’ me!

About Kenney Slatten

Kenney Slatten Training Company is a Dry Cleaning and Laundry Consulting Firm Specializing in Environmental Training and Certification. Kenney Slatten Training Company, or KSTC, is based in Texas with offices in Arizona and California. Kenney Slatten is a certified instructor/trainer for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), is actively involved in the San Diego Drycleaners Association, the California Cleaners Association, is an Allied Trade board member of DLI, the Executive Director of Western States Drycleaners & Launderers Association, a member of the International Drycleaners Congress, and a columnist for American Drycleaner and Western Cleaner and Launderer magazines. The Kenney Slatten Training Company provides the only complete environmental training and inspection process. Started in 1987, Kenny became the first instructor for California E.P.A, OSHA, and state regulations. Kenney publishes a 36 point plant requirement every year in trade publications which is his guide for plant training and certification. We are the only company that provides dry cleaning and laundry specific environmental training. Kenney Slatten is a third generation drycleaner/laundryman from Houston, Texas. His company, KSTC, can teach you the skills you need to have a successful plant. His wagon is found all over the country parked under a tree just waiting for the next call to come to your plant. He can be reached at (800) 429-3990; e-mail: kslatten@aol.com or go to: www. kstraining.com.