CHICAGO — Laundry and linen services operate on a business-to-business (B2B) level.
That means that unlike consumer-based businesses, their client base is smaller. They need to work hard to hold onto each and every customer they have.
To do this, laundries need to provide excellent customer service, and respondents to the most recent American Laundry News Your Views survey indicate they are serving their customers well.
When asked, “How would you rank your operation’s level of customer service,” almost 60% of operators indicate it is “above average.” One-quarter of respondents rate their customer service as “excellent,” and almost 17% say it’s “average.”
“Customers are generally happy with the clean state of my business, they find the services rendered impressive,” one respondent writes. “Only a few customers have had issues with the level of our customer relations.”
Another writes that customer service is “most important, it’s what we deliver as an essential service.”
The majority of laundry managers (75%) who took the survey say their operation has a system in place to measure customer/end-user satisfaction in its service. The remaining respondents don’t have a system in place.
A third of those who took the survey use an informal inquiry to measure customer satisfaction, while almost 21% use a written survey. Nearly half (45.8%) use a combination of both methods.
A key part of measuring customer service satisfaction is keeping track of complaints. More than 80% of laundry managers who took the survey say their operations records and tracks service complaints. More than 12% say their laundry doesn’t, and more than 4% don’t know if their company does or not.
Overall, laundry managers indicate the pandemic improved their customers’ responses to service. Almost 70% indicate their customers are more understanding, and almost 17% say they are more positive. Almost 13% indicate their customers are less positive, and one survey taker says their customers’ attitudes are the same.
When asked, “When you receive a complaint, what is most often the cause,” respondents indicate:
- Missed or late delivery, 39.1%.
- Condition of goods, 17.4%.
- Contents of order incorrect, 17.4%.
- Reaction to increased costs, 13.0%.
- Incorrect charges or billing, 4.4%.
- Other (please specify), 8.7%
Survey takers who chose “Other” say the complaint has been “late delivery and not enough” and “combination of the above.”
“Being short-staffed makes it harder to respond and make special deliveries,” shares a respondent.
Another writes, “Supply chain is a big issue for product.”
Almost 87% of respondents say they follow up immediately after a complaint is received; the remainder say they follow up within 24 hours.
When asked, “How often do you receive compliments for your customer service,” almost 21% of respondents indicate they “always” do. More than 40% “sometimes” receive compliments, while 33% “rarely” do and 4% “never” receive a compliment.
Some of the compliments survey takers have received include:
- Good turnaround time.
- Driver compliments. Professionalism, etc.
- Fast service and great results.
- Driver went above his normal job.
- Continued quality improvement.
- Fast response to meet their needs.
- Biggest compliment: Very responsive, friendly.
“We are working on our customer service right now,” a survey taker writes. “Being federal government may mean they have to use our laundry, but their satisfaction is important to me and I’m the GM, so it has to be important to my employees, too!”
While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.
Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each quarter. 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 identify industry trends.