CHICAGO — Matt Andrade has a pretty busy schedule as owner and operator of three (soon to be four) locations of E-Z Clean Laundry Centers in Taunton, Mass.
“I work from 6 a.m. until 4 or 5 o’clock at night, basically, Monday through Friday,” says Andrade. “And then, [on] Saturdays and Sundays, I’ll make visits to the attended stores, maybe once a day, just to make sure that everything is going accordingly.”
Managing his businesses and team of 11 attendants takes a lot of commitment.
“This is my full-time job. I’m in and out of all of the stores, maybe two to three times per day,” says Andrade.
Constantly having your finger on the pulse of your laundry business can be a huge undertaking, with many responsibilities to attend to.
American Coin-Op reached out to a handful of store owner experts, like Andrade, to share their insight on systems they’ve established in running their operations, and how to ensure a coin laundry business is running smoothly and efficiently, regardless of the time or day.
DAILY TO-DO LIST
While organizing employee schedules presents a few managerial challenges, managing and training employees themselves can present even more obstacles.
To ensure that an employee is fully trained on their responsibilities, Tom Benson, owner of World’s Largest Laundromat, Berwyn, Ill., takes a hands-on approach.
“Role playing and stressing our customer-first policy is our way we build our culture,” says Benson, who also utilizes a handbook for employees.
Brian Henderson, operations manager, Liberty Laundry, Tulsa, Okla., uses this tool, as well, in ensuring his employees are fully acclimated to their role.
“We provide an employee handbook during orientation, which lists in fine detail the laundry attendant job description, responsibilities, company policies, and a great deal of discussion about how we at Liberty Laundry go about delivering excellent customer service and offer effective problem resolution,” says Henderson.
He also utilizes a training manual, which he places in a folder under the counter at his stores, as a reference for employees. It details the various processes at his laundry, including wash-dry-fold.
Andrade employs a similar tactic at his stores, printing the basic processes and tasks he wants his attendants to perform on a daily basis, and placing laminated copies at attendant workstations.
He also establishes a buddy system when training new employees.
“I usually have a veteran employee that I really trust [that] I know does an exceptional job. I’ll put them on the training so that I know that when this [new hire] is ready, then they definitely are ready,” he says.
And to avoid scheduling conflicts, Andrade cross-trains his employees.
“All three of our stores are in Taunton, so I’ve trained a few of them at multiple locations, so that if worse comes to worse, I can call one from a different store [to ask if] they can come in and work [at another location],” he says.
Many issues can arise when an operator is away from his business, among them managing customer complaints.
“Our company code of conduct states that when resolving customer conflicts or issues, team members are to extend the benefit of the doubt to the customer, and to be generous and kind,” says Henderson. “‘I refuse to lose a customer over a quarter’ is how I usually describe our stance to new hires.”
Andrade takes a more direct approach when handling customer complaints.
“My cell phone number is in each store on a piece of paper on the wall, basically explaining that if there’s any serious equipment problems, feel free to call this cell phone number and we’ll try and resolve it,” he says.
He also instructs his operators to encourage customers to call him with any issues when handling complaints.
“If it’s something that the attendant is handling, or it’s the weekend and I’m not really there, I’ll talk to [the customer] on the phone and [assure them] that we are going to handle it.”
Check back Monday for the conclusion!
Missed Part 1 of this story? You can read it now HERE.