RIPON, Wis. — Years ago, our business was different. Unattended stores were prevalent and owners may have focused more on emptying coin boxes and less on the customer. But that was a long time ago.
Stores today are quite different. They are aesthetically more pleasing — warm colors, bright lighting, innovative flooring solutions, better seating, and the list goes on. The vended laundry has gone from a utilitarian store to a full-on laundry experience. However, while floors and seating might contribute to an experience, they aren’t the hallmark of it. A good portion of that heavy lifting comes from staff and customer service. The “Starbucks experience” is framed by the service … that smiling, friendly face taking your order and the one calling your name at the end of the counter.
A good old-fashioned comment card box is a simple and easy way to gather feedback on employees when you can’t be on-site. But electronic communication has put comment card boxes at your fingertips.
Facebook page comments, Yelp, and Google reviews are also key spots to pull great employee stories and feedback to reward behaviors (or discover opportunities for additional training).
FOCUS ON REWARDS
While structured incentive programs with clear rewards (as described in Part 1) are no doubt effective, don’t underestimate the unexpected, on-the-spot rewards. Keep a stack of $10 gas, movie theater or other gift cards on hand to reward someone for going the extra mile. Something as simple as a staff pizza party or catered lunch is inexpensive, but sends a nice message about how you value their service. Did somebody come in early to take care of some necessary tasks? Perhaps you can stop in with a cup of coffee from their favorite shop.
Some owners allow staff to do personal laundry at the store once a week. If that isn’t already a staff perk, use it as a reward for providing excellent service. A shirt/sweatshirt with the laundry logo on it, or anything you think the employee would appreciate, can send a positive message to a valued employee.
Customers normally have several options of places they can take their laundry. The owners we are working with are committed to building Laundromats that are a step above those of competitors in their area. The days of needing to be the low-priced leader are gone. We have seen that a large percentage of customers are willing to pay a little bit extra for a better laundry experience.
Delivering that experience has to be an all-in venture and include the equipment functionality and wash options, store design and décor, amenities and staff that reinforces a true commitment to customer service. Quality customer service starts with good hiring practices and training, leading by example and rewards/incentives for delivering above and beyond.
Utilizing the functionality of some of today’s advanced laundry management systems can help streamline structured employee incentive programs with easy access to wash-dry-fold (WDF) numbers and loyalty program signups. However, don’t forget the impact of those simple on-the-spot rewards. They can go a long way in perpetuating one employee’s great service and sparking the same commitment in other staff members around them.
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.