WOPCOM Blog: Quality and Service. Are You A Quality Cleaner? By Ken Cupitt

Put this question to the vast majority of cleaners and very few would not make a positive response. However, after a period of many years, and following well over a thousand in depth quality audits in unit shops and factory operations, many cleaners would be horrified to see the blatantly obvious nature of some faults on garments awaiting collection that have been observed. This is not to say that cleaners do not make a real effort to establish good quality standards, most do, but do not have the essential systematic inspection procedures in place at all the critical stages in the process, to ensure the highest quality standards are achieved.

It is worth considering the impact that serious faults can have on your business revenue. Taking the case of a regular customer who has had their garment returned with an obvious stain that had been pointed out at reception on depositing the item; no explanation has been given for the unsatisfactory result on collection. The customer may be so disappointed that they then take the garment to a competitor who removes the stain making sure to inform the customer how easy it was! The original cleaner is unlikely to know why the regular customer was lost. Most cleaners will be familiar with this kind of scenario many having had garments returned to them from a competitor. Being realistic we need to ask ourselves how many of my complaints are my competitors receiving?

Making A Start
So how do we go about raising standards?
The first step is to establish what we mean by “Quality” There are many definitions such as “a degree or level of excellence” and there are of course the ISO quality management systems. From the point of view quality this represents not just our standards of cleanliness and cleaning, spotting and finishing but the overall level of service we deliver to our customers as high standards of cleaning. Stain removal and finish are unlikely on their own to promote ongoing improvements in turnover.

Untidy, poorly trained counter staff can, on their own, can lead to a serious loss of business and for some cleaners there is also a need to take a long hard look at their shop front. A drycleaners/wet cleaners shop must look like a place where clothes are cleaned!
Unfortunately some do not meet this simple criteria and many potential customers may be discouraged from entering by the outward appearance of their premises. It comes down to this if our shop is not clean and bright how can our customers be confident that we are competent to clean their clothes?
We are in the appearance business and if you really want to know how to sell cleaning services go and take a look at the cosmetics counter in almost any major high street store. The staff are all selling their products in terms of their personal appearance – we need to take a leaf out of their book.

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