Last fall I traveled to Israel for the wedding of a close friend. Going away for a week and leaving my business behind required a lot of preparation, and there just wasn’t enough time to do everything, like getting a haircut. As risky as it can be using a new hair stylist for the first time – especially a couple of days before a big event, and in another country – I figured the haircut could wait until I arrived in Israel.
As I landed in Ben Gurion airport, my natural instinct was to ask for recommendations from some of the people I knew in the area. The day before the wedding, I ended up going to a hair stylist 30 minutes away from my hotel. Why go so far when there were three salons within one block of the hotel? The answer is simple – WOM, or word of mouth.
When it comes to the service industry, nothing works as well as the power of WOM. It’s the best form of marketing because it’s free, it’s credible and it’s powerful. But beware, WOM is a double-edged sword: it can break a business as fast as it can make one. Think about it, how many friends do you tell when you’ve had a good experience at a restaurant? One or two, maybe? Now how many do you tell when you’ve had a terrible dining experience? Anyone you come across that week.
So how can you leverage the power of WOM? My experience tells me that the answer is as simple as providing outstanding customer service. That means going above and beyond what your customer expects. As owner of Dryeco Green Cleaners, I realize that being eco-friendly and providing free pick-up and delivery in the tri-county area are competitive advantages for us. But while this may get people in the door the first time, only excellent customer service will bring them back as loyal, repeat customers.
`Little things can make a big difference. For instance, new customers receive a personalized laundry bag with their name printed on it. After they sign up for a pick-up on our website (www.dryeco.com), a customer service representative calls them to confirm that their preferences are all set, and to ensure that all went well. If a garment comes in with any damage, we call the customer to find out if they’d like us to fix it or process it as is. And the list goes on. It’s the personal attention we give to each and every customer that keeps them coming back to Dryeco again and again.
Despite the recession and numerous local dry cleaners closing down, Dryeco Green Cleaners has experienced continued growth year after year. And an astonishing 90% of all our new customers have come to us through the power of WOM.
So remember: good customer service may help you keep your clients, but excellent customer service will convert them into eager WOM-bassadors for your business.
Dean David Neiger, Dryeco Green Cleaners, 18660 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida – 33160.
www.dryeco.com, (305) 933-2400, (877) 7.Dryeco