Like most businesses that rely on recurring visits from their customers, savvy owners are always looking for ways to encourage customer loyalty to their laundromats . With rival businesses all vying for the same customers, distinguishing yourself from your competitors can be challenging.
The following five tips will not only help you keep customers coming back, but attract new customers as well.
Your customers can take their clothes to a number of laundromats where their clothes will get just as clean, so why should they come to yours? People’s moods and attitudes are heavily influenced by what they see and feel about their surroundings. If you look at some of the most successful retail businesses, such as Starbucks, you’ll notice how much attention goes into making the atmosphere of their stores as inviting and comfortable as possible. Starbucks’ patrons exhibit such a high degree of customer loyalty because of a certain expressive ambiance, reliable baristas, curated playlist, and the exact product they expect when they visit.
Laundromats are not typically known for being warm or inviting, but why shouldn’t they be?
A little paint and decor can go a long way with a minimal investment. If you really want to make an impression, seek out an interior designer. You may be surprised at the difference investing in professional advice will make in the end. Store owners often get complacent with their store’s appearance and overlook things that stand out to a new customer. Don’t wait until your store is run down to remodel, renovate, or even re-touch – keeping your equipment running and facility clean should be a given. Try to look at your store with fresh eyes and imagine how a new customer might view it. Making a routine visit to a laundromat a memorable experience is a great way to retain existing customers and encourage new ones to return.
If there is one thing that is indicative of any facility’s cleanliness, it is the restroom. If the restroom is not well kept, it puts the whole establishment in an unfavorable light. This is especially true in laundromats, where people come to perform cleaning chores. Everything about your store should express cleanliness. Considering that your average customer spends an hour or two at your establishment, it’s reasonable to assume that they will need to visit the restroom in that time. With the rise of lightning fast smartphone technology, review apps like Yelp and others are as easy to check as your email. And if your customers searching out laundromats on these review sites, you can bet that they will patronize laundromats that have reviews for the cleanest facilities and restrooms.
With all things being equal between two competing stores, it’s not hard to think that a customer would choose the store with the cleaner restroom.
A perfect example of a business that has learned how valuable a clean restroom can be is Buckys Truck Stops. Bucky’s has built an amazing following by offering the cleanest restrooms on the interstate. They use it as part of their marketing, and it works. Interstate drivers will “hold it” just to make it to a Bucky’s. There is a nice story about Bucky’s here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=5fmmFO3uf90. Similar to the laundry business, truck stops have to compete for travelers’ business. With all other things being equal they have proven that customers will drive by the competition just to experience a Bucky’s restroom. If the simple perk of a clean restroom keeps customers coming back to a truck stop, you can be sure it does a lot to encourage laundromat customer loyalty as well.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the many day-to-day obligations that entail running a small business. Many store owners don’t think about their customers until they walk in the front door. But you may be surprised at how a customer’s impression of your business can be improved if you look outside your windows.
Start with general cleanliness; if you don’t have someone regularly checking the parking lot to collect any trash then you should. What does it say about your establishment if your parking lot is littered with debris? The last thing someone wants to see is a filthy parking area when they are leaving with their freshly laundered clothes.
Some of the best laundromat customers are families, and a family can generate a lot of laundry. Hauling that laundry from the car to the store can be a daunting task. If you want to make an incredible first impression, have an attendant meet customers as their car with a laundry cart and offer to help them carry their laundry into the store. This alone is reason enough for a mother with a couple of kids in tow to drive past your competitors in favor of your store the next time she’s doing laundry. Also, don’t forget about the departure.
Helping customers back out to their cars is not only polite, but can make sure that your laundry carts end up back inside the store when the customers leave.
Don’t be shy, extend yourself and your staff to your customers, welcome them at the car and build long-lasting, loyal customers. You’ll not only retain existing customers, but make new ones in the process.
Kids’ love of fast food restaurants usually has little to do with the food. With the inception of the Happy Meal, McDonald’s put into practice a subtle but effective tactic for preventing a store filled with kids from turning into chaos. The toys from the Happy Meals keep the kids occupied while the parents and other guests enjoy their meals.
How impressive would it be if a parent walks into your establishment with their child, and they’re given an opportunity to pick out a prize from a treasure chest?
Keeping kids occupied with a simple and fun toy is probably the cheapest way of keeping the peace. Rather than scolding children who are playing with the laundry carts or equipment, try offering them a selection from the chest. These inexpensive prizes can be just enough of a distraction to keep them from potentially getting hurt or damaging something in the store.
And best of all, the children will start to lobby their parents to visit your store, which is some of the easiest and cheapest word of mouth advertising you can invest in! Win over the kids, and you’ve got a huge head start in maintaining customer loyalty from their parents.
Laundromat patrons generally live in the surrounding community, so being a part of what is important to that community can help you retain customers attract new business.
Taking part in a local fundraiser is a great way to boost your image in the community.
Many businesses have had great success holding fundraisers for an area school, where a portion of the proceeds over a set time period are donated. It’s a great way to get press from local news outlets, and after the promotion is complete be sure to advertise the donation itself. The positive press that will be generated will certainly get your name mentioned more often and probably attract new customers. There are even systems available that can help track sales from individuals or groups that can help you design custom versions of these programs.
You can also use social media like Facebook and Twitter to interact with your community. This kind of social networking can serve as an excellent platform for engaging with your community, and offer you a better understanding of who your customers are as well as what their concerns are. You’re much more likely to keep customers coming back when they feel that you belong to their community.
Implementing any or all of these simple tips will go a long way toward encouraging customer loyalty, and we think you’ll find that what makes customers keep coming back to your establishment are the same things that will help you win over new customers as well!
Having a loyalty card program could be just the differentiator you need to give your laundromat an extra boost in recurring sales and happy customers. What is a laundromat loyalty card program? It’s a card-based program, integrating seamlessly with your digital card-op payment system, which drives convenience for your clients and marketability for your store, and in turn, overall profit.
A loyalty card program allows your customers to add funds from a credit/debit card or cash onto a loyalty card from an add value kiosk, which can only be used for vends in your specific store. The secure, automated add value kiosk acts as an attendant-free transfer machine, freeing up your employees to focus on bigger tasks than exchanging bills or adding funds from cards manually.
What entices a customer to try a loyalty card instead of using their bank cards right at your machines? Laundromat loyalty cards have built-in marketing promotions, including group discounts, “big bill” bonuses (Add $20, get $22!), free wash days, birthday bonuses, and loyalty points. Creative storeowners can even configure loyalty cards to be accepted at vending machines and other types of in-store amenities as well. Once a customer tries the loyalty card program, it’s difficult to go back to the old way.
Want to learn more about the built-in loyalty incentives that we provide with our LaundryCard and FasCard solutions? Click on the “Learn How” button below to find out how you can build a loyal customer base with by implementing a CCI loyalty card program, which includes features like group and time-of-day discounts, free cycles, and big bill bonuses, and much more!
One of the most popular features of the FasCard system is its ability to issue your employees with dedicated ‘Employee Cards’. For stores that offer wash and fold services this is an invaluable feature and can really help manage and control employee usage of your machines, but even if you don’t offer wash and fold services issuing an employee card to your staff can still help you keep tabs on common issues, such as machine restarts and rewashes. So what is an employee card? Basically its a loyalty card that has been assigned to an employee by either the account administrator or a user manager, for the purpose of starting machines. This eliminates the need for the employee to have to have access to quarters and can minimize their exposure to cash which can not only improve safety for your employee but help you maintain tighter control over your business.
Creating employee cards is easy, once you have logged into your system click on the ‘Users’ tab, this screen displays all of the system users that have various levels of access to your system. Just below the list of user accounts there are two buttons, ‘Add New’ and ‘Add Card Only User’. If you want your employee to be able to access your FasCard system online you will use the ‘Add New’ option, there are many different privilege levels you can assign to your employee and are further described in users manual. For the purpose of this lesson we are going to use the ‘Add Card Only User’. This option will allow you to create an employee account, where the employee can not access the FasCard system online but can be assigned a card for use in the store. Once you have clicked the ‘Add Card Only User’ button you need to enter the employee’s name, optionally you may want to enter a title for the employee. You will also need to enter a card number for the employee, each new FasCard system is shipped with 3 pre-printed cards that say ‘Attendant Card’, take one of these cards and enter the account number printed on the back side of the card. If you need more Attendant cards you can order them from your local distributor or if you have other loyalty cards that you purchased with your system you can use one of those. Next you need to select a ‘Location Group’, if you have multiple locations separated by location groups you can use this option to control which locations the employee can use their employee card. Once this information is entered, click the ‘Save’ button. The last thing you need to do is assign a balance to the account, this is the amount of credit you want the employee to have access to, keep in mind that this balance will deplete as they start machines in the store. If you want your employee to use this card to process wash dry and fold orders make sure you give them enough credit to do so or they won’t be able to start the machines. Once you have entered a balance, click ‘Save’, you are now ready to give the card to your employee.
When the employee needs to start a machine all they have to do is swipe their card, the reader will display a menu screen with two options, ‘Start Machine’ and ‘exit’, this screen also displays the remaining balance on the card so your employee can let you know if their balance if getting low. If the employee presses the enter button the machine will be sent a start signal and the employee can start the machine, the machines vend amount will be deducted from the employees account. All employee machine starts are grouped and separated on the totals report, detailed employee usage can also be reviewed from the ‘Employee Activity’ report. When its time to add more value to an employees card, just search for the employee from the ‘Users’ screen enter the new balance and click ‘Save’
Employee cards are a great way for your staff to help customers in the store, rather than issue cash refunds for failed machine starts have them use their employee card to start a different machine.