CHICAGO — Laundry managers and textile rental operators continue to hone in on customer service, as many believe that “[providing] good customer service” is the most effective way they can best improve the industry (41.2%), according to results from this month’s American Laundry News Your Views survey.
Roughly two out of five respondents (41.2%) see customer service as being key to industry improvement. Other respondents focused more on operational improvements, such as providing “a comfortable, safe working environment” (21.6%), ensuring that “all equipment is functioning properly” (19.6%), using “environmentally friendly chemicals” (8.2%) and providing “timely pickups and deliveries” (2.1%).
The remaining 7.2% of respondents believe that a combination of tactics can be used to best improve the industry.
“Stop the ridiculous price tactics to take business; instead sell value and service,” offers one respondent.
The majority of managers and operators (30.1%) say that high service cost is the most common complaint they get from “average” customers. Other common gripes include not filling orders correctly, or running short on items (20.4%), losing too many items (15.1%), not cleaning goods well enough (10.8%), not delivering on time (7.5%) and not ironing/pressing goods well enough (6.5%).
Among the remaining 10% of respondents, some say their customers have no complaints about their service, while others say that their customers “don’t like [their] invoicing method,” or that there are “too many choices in linen.”
In terms of ways distributors can best improve the industry, equal shares of 26.8% of respondents point to offering “more opportunities for service training” or visiting “my facility more often, and offer advice.”
Other respondents believe that distributors should “provide faster parts/supplies delivery” (19.6%), “alert [them] when new or improved technology is nearing release” (12.4%), “provide better equipment service” (11.3%), or other solutions (3.1%).
“Provide qualitative advice when recommending … products,” suggests one respondent.
Many managers and operators value their distributor relationships, with equal shares of 46.9% saying their distributor(s) either plays a “major role” or a “minor role” in the operation’s success. The remaining 6.3% of respondents say that distributors play “no role” in their success.
This month’s survey also asked managers and operators about ways in which manufacturers could best improve the industry.
Exactly half of respondents believe that manufacturers should focus more on equipment “energy efficiency and conservation,” while 21.9% would like them to “offer more comprehensive warranties.” Other choices were offering more financing assistance (9.4%), offering a larger variety of equipment (8.3%), or “other” solutions (10.4%).
“Make sure their salespeople understand their equipment,” says one respondent.
“Provide better support documentation,” adds another.
In terms of handling technical issues, a resounding 87.5% of respondents say that they have “dealt directly with an equipment manufacturer to solve a problem.”
While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All managers and administrators of institutional/OPL, cooperative, commercial and industrial laundries are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.