CHICAGO — Just over 90% of self-service laundry owners and operators believe their customers rate the overall quality of their store and services as “excellent” (32.3%) or “above average” (58.1%), according to results of this quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey.
Roughly 6.5% believe they would get an “average” rating, and the remaining 3.2% expect a “poor” assessment.
When asked to name the first thing about their store that customers compliment, 16.7% of respondents say it is the quality of their equipment, while 10% say it’s the number of machines. Equal shares of 3.3% say customers compliment them about the store’s size or its location/proximity to their home.
But two-thirds of respondents (66.7%) say customers compliment them first about “other” aspects of their laundry, with many saying customers enjoy their cleanliness.
Regarding attendants, 48.4% of respondents think customers would say they are extremely helpful (“They are at my service”) and another 19.4% would call them helpful (“They assist with the basics and when asked”). A small share, 3.2%, think their attendants would be deemed extremely unhelpful ("They’re disinterested and unattentive”) by customers.
Roughly 29% of respondents say their stores are unattended.
Collecting customer feedback is an important component for any business wishing to succeed. American Coin-Op asked how respondents get this feedback, offering several options from which they could choose any or all.
More than 90% of owners polled say they speak with their customers at the store. Checking the store’s social media accounts is something that 58.1% of respondents do. Roughly 45% post their phone number and invite calls and texts. A small share, 12.9%, have a suggestion box.
Nearly 10% say they use “other” methods to collect customer feedback.
Equally important as collecting the feedback is how store owners respond to and utilize it. Here is how some of the respondents take action:
- “Respond directly and do my best to incorporate suggestions where they provide guest benefit at a reasonable cost.”
- “Sometimes customers have the best ideas. So, we always listen. We don’t always incorporate the ideas but if it makes sense, we will. It enhances their experience and not only will they return, they will also tell their friends and family. Word-of-mouth is very powerful.”
- “Most customers want you to do more for them, don’t realize it’s a self-service business. (They) refuse to use trash cans for discarding clothing, dryer sheets, food and drink containers.”
- “Reply back to social media comments, good or bad, quickly. If it’s a phone message, I return the call within 24 hours. If I need to make a procedural change, I get back to the customer to tell them what I’ve done.”
Store owners who were polled differ in the weight they think customer feedback carries:
- “I’d rather have feedback good or bad from my customers than to rely on what I think about my laundry.”
- “Self-evaluation in regards to customer feedback is important. But, at the same time, you have to keep your business mind on at all times. Sometimes their idea is genius and other times not so much.”
- “It is very helpful, but while I keep an open mind, it is important to remember you can’t be all things to all people.”
American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.
Subscribers to American Coin-Op emails are invited to participate anonymously in the survey. The entire trade audience is encouraged to take part, as a greater number of responses helps to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.