I am definitely not an expert on the dry cleaning business. What I do know is that there is a dry cleaner on just about every corner. Lately I’ve been shopping around trying to find a new cleaner to use. Our old dry cleaner was the cheapest (by far) but our clothes just weren’t coming back the way we expected. I’ve tried several; some due to location, others because of word of mouth and another because they were a featured offer on Groupon. One of those has stood out above the rest, not because of cost or quality, because they sent a thank you for my business with a discount for when I return.
My last blog post talked about the importance of thanking volunteers to make them feel valued and to keep them coming back. The same is true with businesses. I’ll never forget one of the first thank you cards my family received from a business. It was a hand-written thank you card from Land’s End (long before they were purchased by Sears). We were already impressed with the quality of their products, but to receive a thank you card put them over the top. Plus, how can you discount that I still remember it 20-some years later? That is how you build brand loyalty.
Color me surprised when I opened my mail and received a thank you card from Hangers Cleaners. I’m not exactly sure what the average return rate is for customers but there’s a safe bet we’ll be using them again. There are several things they did right with their thank you card. First, although the card isn’t hand-written, it is signed by a real person. They also provided the email, phone number and mailing address of that person so I can contact her if I have any issues or comments. I like that I can choose what contact method I prefer, not which method they prefer. Second, they gave me an option to provide my email address to receive coupons. They also mention how frequently I can expect communication from them (semimonthly) so I know how often my email box will get filled. Very nice.
There are a couple of issues that could have made the experience better for both me and them. First, there is a typo in the thank you message. This was originally designed to be an email thank you but since they don’t have my email address on file, it was printed onto a card. As you can see, it says bring this email in to redeem the offer of $5 off your next dry cleaning order. I like the sense of humor where they say “oops” but if you know there is a mistake, please take the time to correct it. If you notice a mistake with my clothes, are you going to say “oops” or are you going to fix the problem? Second, wait a couple of minutes for the ink to dry before you close the card. As you can see in the photo the ink wasn’t dry and makes the card look sloppy. Again, what message are you sending the customer? Finally, I’d like to see this campaign changed slightly. Train the staff to collect/confirm my email address at the time of drop-off. Use the printed thank you card for all new customers in your database, providing them with the contact information but don’t include a discount. Don’t get me wrong, I like discounts and will use this one with no sense of guilt. From a campaign perspective, I would like to see the discount offered in a follow-up email if I haven’t returned within the next 3-4 weeks to draw me back into the store. If you constantly discount your services, you’re telling your customers that they are overpaying. Be confident that you are providing good value and thank them for their patronage.
Overall, I do like what Hangers Cleaners is doing. They are the only cleaners I’ve been to that have taken the time to thank their customers which makes them stand out in a crowd.