Ways to retain laundry customers (Part 2)

CHICAGO — Attracting someone to try your self-service laundry business or wash and fold service for the first time is fine.

Convincing that unique customer to come back a second or third time is better.

Captivating this semi-regular customer so that he does not go anywhere else is better.

Improving customer retention is largely about building relationships, including your ability to understand your customer’s needs and create a consistently great experience every time they interact with you. Mutual esteem and understanding can lead to what every smart laundry owner is looking for: customer loyalty.

In pursuit of this goal, laundromat operators often use a variety of tools to build a repeat customer base. Part 1 looked at loyalty programs. We will continue:


Hank Nelken owns three Half price laundry locations in the San Fernando Valley of California. His stance on discounts is right there in the name of his laundry: “half price.”

“Thursday at half price is like our big one. All day, so it’s busy. Imagine, $9 for a machine is now $4.50, that’s a big difference.

“We also do free dry tuesday at both stores, but I just stopped it at the second store last week because the price of gas has gone up so much. It increased by 30%. I just felt like free dry at the time didn’t make sense. I still have it at the first store but I’ll probably get rid of it.

Nelken is also sending out direct mail to targeted neighborhoods offering $15 off a customer’s first wash and fold order, and it has tried circulating flyers with an offer of free soap and $5 preloaded on a card. of loyalty.

Todd Ofsink’s laundromat in Todd Layne Cleaners and Laundry in New York has also tried a variety of promotions over the years, but free soap – “We’ll give away a free soap pod on Fridays all day long,” he says – was the one that hung on. .

But it’s another freebie – the free wash – that’s meant to make sure customers are happy with their service. Whether it’s self-service or wash and fold, if you’re not happy with the way your Todd Layne-cleaned clothes look, Ofsink staff will wash them right away. new for free.

“It’s both for people who do their own laundry, they do it themselves and they say, ‘Hey, it hasn’t been that clean,’ whatever it is, who cares, you can wash it again for free.The same with most of our business which is to do laundry for customers.Any kind of problem,the supply [of rewash] is always extended, and my staff is trained, “Let us do it again for you for free”, right from the start.

The incremental cost is higher if his staff washes someone’s laundry a second time, but he is willing to accept it to satisfy his customers.

“It’s just a very easy policy to have, and everyone knows that,” Ofsink says. “If there’s a problem, even if it’s a few pieces in someone’s laundry that we did for someone…we don’t care. [what the cause is]we redo everything.

Customers enjoying the benefits of a gift or discount may not realize that some laundry owners are using them in an attempt to control the volume of business.

“We use them as a way to get people to stick with us but, I’ll be honest, it’s also a way for us to smooth out our production,” says Kristyn Van Ostern, co-owner of Manchester, New Hampshire. wash the street with Laura Simos. “We use our discount and loyalty programs to entice people to let us pick up their laundry or (for them) to come in, when times are slow. There are certain days of the week that are slower, they are different from a coin perspective and from a pickup and delivery perspective.

“We really use our loyalty and discount programs to try to get people to pick up, in the wash and fold checkout, on Sundays and Mondays, which happen to be slower days for us. On the coin side, these would not be the days we entice people to come, as Sunday is a busier day.

“I hope the idea of ​​finding ways to make it work for the business gets amplified,” says Simoes, “because it’s not just about getting more business, it’s it’s about getting more business at a time when you can manage at the level of excellence our customers expect and we want to deliver.

Come back on May 17 for Part 3!

Miss part 1? You can read it HERE.

Joseph P. Harris