I just gave a seminar for the National Cleaners Association, in Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Though the weather was not kind to us, each dry cleaner that attended was focused on learning as much as possible during the conference.
My topic for my three hour seminar: How to Build Relationships With Your Customer Using Your Brand …Virtually! While I was preparing my session, I was wondering: why would a customer want a relationship with their dry cleaner? It is about trust, and delivering great service, and caring.
But, then the night before I was flying out, I tried on my own suit. I couldn’t even squeeze into it. My dry cleaner had somehow shrunk it and I had just worn it to Toronto only two weeks ago. So, I either bulked up two sizes or it was ruined.
I mentioned this to Nora Nealis, the President of the NCA, and Ann Hargrove, who works with her (pictured above), They said it was probably “wet cleaned”, and had shrunk (thank heavens it wasn’t that I’d bulked up 15 pounds), and she said to mail her the suit when I came back to Florida. I sent it out to her today.
They have a lab on West 29th Street, and they analyze these things, so they can send out information and help dry cleaners not to do this to their customers. I’m one of those people who just silently defects. So, I’m searching for a new cleaner.
The dry cleaners that attended this brainstorming event are always the best and the brightest. I told them how to give their websites and their businesses a “brand personality”, and invite people to interact with them online. They can build loyalty, by having some fun with their customers, and starting contests, selling ancillary products. Some had never discovered the magic of search engines, or even tried offering Pick Up and Delivery as an online option.
One website we created at Lois Geller Marketing Group is Apthorp Cleaners (http://www.apthorpcleaners.com), and the owner, Debra Kravet was there. The website features a lady in red walking her dog, and Debra Kravet has expanded that brand to appear as posters on her windows, and in direct mail invitations, and a host of other programs she’s working on now. Soon her New York City trucks will have her “lady in red” doing many pickups and deliveries… which is really a moving billboard for her business.
Please visit her website: www.apthorpcleaners.com
One gentleman there has a dry cleaners in Belize. It is the only one in that country, and he built it from scratch… never having been in the business. He showed us his commercials, and we were all impressed. Here’s someone who has used his great ingenuity to build something wonderful and employ many people. He does quality work too.
So, all in all…it is a joy to teach dry cleaners how websites, and blogs and social media can all help them build their community outreach, and relationships with their customers and prospects.