We Dictate How To Clean And Press But The Customer Dictates How To Be Treated

Honestly, there have probably been more articles, seminars, books and classes on customer service in our world as long as I can remember. Same goes for drycleaning and laundry service business as well. So, look out, here comes another one. I can’t take full credit for all of these quotes listed here but I am sure that outside of the 80% I did write; the rest are even better said than mine. Naturally, having a group class at an plant as I used to do, becomes the most effective way to train since all CSR’s from all stores, will be talking and interacting with one another about their own customers problems and it makes for an exciting seminar. I used to do them for individual operators from California to Maine.

It’s Like McDonalds, You Can Only Wait On One Customer At A Time

Who likes working with a grouch? Your customers don’t like it either. Teach our frontline employees to smile and make eye contact. With every single customer that walks in, even if the store is busy and you are the only one there, we must treat them individually. As a dear friend who owned Dutch Girl Cleaners in Amarillo Texas (Joyce Shollenberger) once said to me, “It’s like McDonalds, you can only wait on one customer at a time.” So, there is no reason to get grouchy, lazy or nervous at the counter. Just take them one at a time but give them each all of your undivided attention as if they were the only customer you had. Lasting memories should not be of a customer leaving your store, not being treated with attention and courteously, as well as seeing everyone’s clothes being stuffed into a bag and tossed. Boy, is that so unnecessary! We can all tell tales of sloppy customer service in so many places we trade with. Yet it happens at our own stores too. I wonder why that is?

For one thing, most attention in the average cleaners is placed on getting the clothes in and out and in a hurry. Being in a hurry is another pet peeve of mine and I intend to write a scathing article just on that subject someday. I try and meld customer service into each and every article I write, no matter the subject. But there cannot be too much first class customer service. You see, once we have processed the clothes, everyone makes a mad dash for the door and the CSR is left unattended. Usually the boss has already split and who is watching the counter people? Who is there to back up the one counter person there? It should be someone in charge. As far as I am concerned this is where the customer is made or broken. Sometimes we only get one chance to make and hold on to a customer. Naturally, there are exceptions when you are small or working on a small budget. If that’s the case, the owner should be on the counter too. Don’t complain, no one from the Institute or private consultants ever told you it was an easy business to get into.

Below are some neat sayings as I call them as related top customers in any kind of business:

• Do you set a good example for a customer, or are you just a “grumble and go” kind of person? People who understand good customer service are also good customers.

• A great smile often says a lot more than words. Use your smile today!

• An informed employee is a better employee.

• As a customer, do you like feeling that you are just the next person in line? Probably not. Don’t treat people doing business with you like objects.

• Did I mention smile?

• As Bob Dylan said, “You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody.” Meet your customers needs and they will meet yours.

• Employers should seek employee buy-in to your businesses philosophy so they can be true ambassadors for the business with the public.

• Caring service is what separates businesses. Without it, you’re just another establishment.

• Bad customers are probably also bad customer services representatives. Doesn’t it just gall you when you leave your counter and on the way home stop at another customer service type business and get treated badly? It happens, or as the bumper sticker says, “shit happens!” 

• If at first you don’t succeed with a customer, you may not get a second chance. Make it count every time.

• If customers are treated like they are just the next person in line, they will end up lining up somewhere else that appreciates their business.

• I come into your business to fulfill some need. Make it a positive experience and I’ll come back.

• If you don’t reach out to your customers, they may walk out on you. 

• A great smile often says a lot more than words. Use your smile today!

• One definition of service is “to be of use.” Are you treating your customers simply functionally, or are you really being “of use?”

• One of the keys to providing great customer service is patience.

• Your frontline employees don’t get to make the rules; however, they often have to interpret them for your customers. Make sure they are properly informed

• When people come into your business, they are looking for service. It doesn’t cost any more to make that great service!

These are just a few jewels I have on counter etiquette. Follow each one and how can you not grow loyalty? New customers will come because your reputation is spreading. Do excellent work and pay attention to details as well and most importantly, take care of your customers. Bang and hang quickie cheap service is not how you win loyalty. Win them on the counter and then back it up with your quality work. 

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.