CHICAGO — American Drycleaner recently asked several industry leaders seven questions about the issues facing the industry today and where they see drycleaning headed in the future. Watch for additional updates and tell us what you think at AmericanDrycleaner.com, or read the full report in the October 2010 issue.
QUESTION 4: What do customers want most right now, and how can drycleaners deliver it?
DAVE SILLIMAN: More than ever, customers want value for their money; too often, the quality they receive does not match the cost. High-end, full-service operators usually meet expectations, and one-price discounters have modest, achievable goals. The large gray area of operators with varying quality levels and prices is [what frustrates] consumers.
JOHN TIPPS: Customers want a perfect product for a very small price; you can have one or the other, but normally not both. The important thing is [to provide] the service needed to keep the customers you have.
BARRY GERSHENSON: We are only in one business, and that’s the business of relationships. Given you produce an on-time product that you’re proud of, customers [want you to] know their names, stay in contact, thank them for their business, and get involved in their communities.
BILL FISHER: Service is what consumers want. Banks are open 24 hours; you can easily find a supermarket to shop in 24 hours. When Procter & Gamble introduced Dryel, was it coincidence that the ad they ran was of a women dodging traffic to get to the cleaners, only to find a “Closed” sign?
Next: Has the public's perception of drycleaning improved, and what role does "greenness" play in it?
The panelists: David Cotter, executive director of the Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA); Bill Fisher, CEO of the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI); Barry Gershenson, executive director of Leading Cleaners Internationale (LCI); “Dryclean” Dave Silliman, operator of Uptowne Cleaners in Phoenix, Ariz.; and John Tipps, independent consultant and former operator of Clean Concepts Inc.