Put yourself in the shoes of a customer: When you go to the laundromat to wash your clothes, what do you want to see? How do you want to be treated? What do you want your experience to be like?
While laundromats can vary across the country, there will always be a few elements that every customer wants to see. Here are six of the biggest:
1. A streamlined experience
This is perhaps the most important item on a customer’s check list: the streamlined experience. What this means is that customers can walk into your laundromat – with the goal of doing laundry – and see a clean operation, available (and functional) machines, and a viable waiting area, perhaps even with some form of entertainment, like magazines or a television. Missing one of these elements can create problems because it means that their goal of doing laundry is on hold.
2. Efficient customer service
A laundromat may be a business with few employees, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have efficient customer service, especially since it is something that most customers expect. Quality customer service can span a few areas, including:
- Personalized relationships – If you can, learn your customers’ names.
- Speedy service – The faster, the better, at least when it comes to customer service. Reply to requests promptly.
- Multiple channels – You should also be able to be reached via a variety of channels, like phone, email, social media and in person.
3. A competent business
Part of operating a business is managing risk. In the laundry industry, you have to figure out what could go wrong in your store – and how you can prevent that from happening. From a consumer perspective, this means a competent business. Your customers will want to walk into your store and see no problems, from run-down machines and storefronts to empty vending machines or dirty floors. These are all signs that you are behind on your risk management, and that leads to questions about other areas of your business.
4. A competitive price
Laundry is not cheap, and it is a task that few people actually enjoy doing. While customers know what they are getting into when they head to a laundromat, this doesn’t mean you can’t set their experience apart. This is especially true from a price perspective. Research other laundromats nearby and make sure your price is competitive. You can also add in an extra feature to simplify the process. For example, you could let customers pay by card instead of coin or offer a unique feature that offsets a slightly higher price-per-load.
5. Entertainment value
Doing loads of laundry can be a bit of a bore for customers, and most expect their laundromat of choice to offer something in the way of entertainment. In fact, many laundromats are getting creative with their choices. For instance, you could have:
- Reading materials
- Vending machines
- Arcade games
While the fancier options – like hybrid laundromats that are linked to another business – are not expected, customers do want something to pass the time.
6. A welcomed entrance
Above all else, customers want to feel like they are wanted. This can be tricky at a laundromat that doesn’t have full-time staff. If you do have employees in-store, make sure they greet people when they walk in the door (or even learn repeat customers’ names). If you don’t have employees there, create a welcoming business. Your furniture, signs, lighting and similar factors can all make your store feel a bit warmer to arriving customers.