Monday, August 8, 2011

Teach Your Customers To Do Their Laundry - Create A Positive Store Personality

My friend Jena just turned twenty-three and I took her and another friend Emily to a restaurant to celebrate her birthday. The world considers Jena to be an adult, but in many ways she still has the mind of a teenager. I snapped this picture of her “taking a bite” out of a paper hamburger.

23 years old and all grown up - really? - she still has things to learn.

Although Jena is smart, talented, and even employed in the midst of this depression, I realize from my mature position as a true adult – since I am five years older – that Jena doesn’t know everything there is to know.

Our friend Emily was with us at the lunch with her beautiful baby Yvette.  Emily is twenty-four years old, and has the responsibility of raising a husband – opps, I mean – baby, and still is learning a lot of  “grown up” things, including doing your laundry properly.  The phrase "babies raising babies" jumps into my mind.
During our lunch discussion, Emily asked me a question about washing her new blue jeans.  She was worried they would bleed and ruin her other clothes.  Everyone thinks I know everything about laundry, because I work for a Laundromat distributor and am therefore "in the business."

Yvette may think mommy knows everything, but . . .    
After helping her with her question, I realized that many young women really don’t know very much about doing their laundry.  Laundry is something everyone has to do.  We may have paper hamburgers, but we live in a world that doesn't use throwaway paper clothing, so it’s a job every woman will have to learn to do well.
I also thought, I bet most Laundromat owners could benefit from knowing that all of their customers don't know as much about washing clothers as one might think.  Putting in place a program of teaching customers how to do laundry would be a great benefit.  Laundromat owners could use cute signs, a brochure, or use your attendants to share a little knowledge with your customers.
Here are the items I think you should concentrate on teaching customers about washing their clothes in your Laundromat:
1)  Teach customers that washing is a family affair.  Use your husband or boyfriend to pre-sort the clothes at home.  The children can also help and put the items into pillow cases or laundry bags.  No matter how young, the children of the family can help with the laundry and it can become a time to bond and share work together.
     My favorite
2)  Teach customer about the washing chemicals.  Every customer uses a variety of laundry aids to get their clothes clean.  Review and explain soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets – and especially bleaches, dry and liquid – so your customers know what the chemicals are supposed to do and how much should be used in each washer load.  Explain the newer lower suds soaps for use in front load washers.
3)  Teach customers to pre-treat their clothes.  Your customers will return more often if their clothes come out cleaner in your Laundromat.  Keep some pre-wash stain treatment in the backroom and offer it for use for free to your customers.  It comes in stick, spray, or liquid.  Your attendants should also have the treatment available, and the knowledge to be able to offer advice on how to use the product.  Tell your customers that pre-treatment works best if it is put on the clothes immediately after the clothes are taken off and the stain is discovered.   If you teach your customers to form this as a habit, you’ll have a bunch of customers with stain-free clothes and a great reputation in the neighborhood.  My favorite - and the one I use - is Soilove.  It's available at most 99 cent stores.  Inexpensive and it works great.
4)  Teach customers to separate their colors.  Sorting clothes is something a lot of young people don’t understand.  Whites should go into one pile that can be treated with liquid (chlorine) bleach and washed in hot water.  Colors into another pile and a washed with regular detergents and powdered bleaches (or color enhancers) and washed in warm water.  Reds should probably be washed in their own load in cold water to keep the colors bright and reduce the loss of dye.  Same thing with jeans, which can bleed the first few times they are washed, and will stain other clothing.  Treating the first time you wash with vinegar with se the dye into the fabric and it won’t bleed.
        I can see the wrinkles setting in
5)  Teach customer to fold their clothes correctly.  Sounds simple, but most people do not fold their clothes correctly.  It should be folded as soon as it comes out of the dryer.  Wrinkles can set in quickly – especially the permapress and synthetic fibers – so you need to fold them before they cool and set in the wrinkles.  Most people don’t have a routine for folding.  Certain items can be folded cold, such as towels, underwear, shirts, and socks.  Shirts and dresses should be put on hangers first.
These five tips should help your customers get a better experience in your Laundromat.  Some people will be offended is your suggest helping them – but that’s OK – others will be very grateful and appreciate the advice.  You are creating the personality of your Laundromat, and a good personality results in more and happier customers.
Going back to my birthday lunch meal with Jena, Emily and little Yvette, I just want you to see the shoes that Emily was wearing.  She may not know that much about doing her laundry, but she is an expert in picking out beautiful shoes.  :)
                                    -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

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