There’s a built-in down side to posting your hours of operation on the door: your hours may not coincide with your customers’ convenience or needs. Several companies have stepped into this gap with automated kiosks that enable customers to pick up cleaned garments any time of the day or night. Lisa Loscerbo and business partner Kevin Hiebert at Best Care Drycleaners in Winnipeg, MB have embraced the concept, but put their own spin on it.
“We didn’t buy a brand-name kiosk,” Lisa said. “My business partner, Kevin, coordinated the building of a vestibule within our location. This made it possible to have a small area that could be accessed 24 hours a day, while keeping our location locked, alarmed and secure.”
The lockers he built are similar to those in spas. Each is individually locked and only the customer can get into it.
“We worked with Creative Display on vinyl wraps to provide artwork, locker numbers and access instructions for customers,” Lisa said. “We set up locker logic within SPOT [POS system], so customers get an auto-notification once we place their items in the locker. The text message/email contains the locker number and secure pin number to open the locker.”
Because the needs of a customer change, the locker pick-up can be set up as a regular service for customers who are always passing the location before or after hours, or as a one-time service. “For example, a customer realizes they can’t make it before closing time to pick up, so they give us a quick call and we transfer their order from the conveyor into a locker. If the order has been prepaid or we have a credit card on file, the process is quite simple,” she said.
The lockers joined forces with the already active 24-hour drop door for customer convenience. Until now, though they could drop off garments for servicing, they had no way to pick them up outside of regular business hours.
“Many customers do shift work. This gives them the opportunity to quickly visit any time and have access to pick up their garments. After the first few months of implementation with the original 6 lockers, we had to expand and add 3 more. We commonly use all 9 of them each day,” Lisa said.
It took several months from initial idea to completed installation, but it’s been worth it. Now counter personnel have another option for meeting the customers’ needs.
“Our CSRs are the best!” Lisa said. “When they serve a customer or someone drops off a bag, they ask when the customer needs the items back. Now they use that opportunity to mention the locker pick-up option. We also share about it on all our social media, our website, and have a slide on the TV in our front lobby.”
Best Care staff could not be happier with the response to the new service, considering they had to add more lockers. “Customers like the convenience and we like offering additional services that give us an advantage over our competitors. Technology is amazing; there is so much available to us. Twenty years ago, my parents were writing paper invoices, stapling on paper tags, and working very long hours. We’ve made so much progress since then, and much of it is because of our willingness to utilize technology and try new things,” Lisa concluded.