Unlocking Customer Attention

Linley McConnell

If you told me five years ago today, I would be interested in steam tunnels and Sankosha pressing units, I’d say you were crazy. Yet, since joining Gibson’s I now understand how state of the art equipment can enhance an entire business’s operations. When you’re on a DLI peer-to-peer call, the same is said for most participants. Fabricare professionals really like equipment.

But when it comes to your customers, I have news for you: they don’t really care. They want their dry cleaning to be sustainable, safe, and for their items to come back looking better than they did before (and not necessarily in that order.) Let’s explore three tactics to effectively promote your plant’s equipment, so your customers understand the valuable impact it has on their fabricare experience.

Identify Your Key Messages

Having the latest and greatest equipment is of no interest to your customers unless you know how to communicate ‘what’s in it for them.’ Public relations agencies are paid to create ‘key messages’ or strategic communications for their customers. These are a strategic set of messages intended to create focus and control the narrative about your business. While you can create different key messages for all parts of your business, let’s focus on how to create one that succinctly explains how equipment benefits a customer.

First, identify one to two pieces of equipment in your plant that you feel have changed the way you operate for the better. Next, work your way through the chart below to create your own message.

EquipmentFutura BaggerKEY MESSAGE
List features about it (see sales materials to help you come up with a list)A compact dry cleaning auto bagging machine designed to make order assembly more dynamic after the washing, ironing, and sorting processes. Bags garments measuring up to 1.5 m in length at a speed of 6 seconds per batch. Accommodates spools of variable widths (up to a maximum of 70 cm) and films with different thicknesses (from 19 to 25 microns), including eco-friendly film.What can you combine from the points that are important to customers to make a key message? EXAMPLE: “At Gibson’s, we know you invest in your garments, and that’s why we invest in new technology.
Our automated packaging machine brings added efficiency to dry cleaning so your order is complete, ready on time and pristine, all while reducing packaging so you can feel good about your dry cleaning experience.”
How do those features help YOU and your staff in terms of quality, morale, efficiency, etc.?Reduces supply costs through elimination of paper capes Increases packaging productivity by 300% Improved quality assurance; less missing items Garments are touched less and less wrinkled
How do the features benefit your CUSTOMERS?Reduced stress: garments do not get lost, and come back looking pristine Garments are returned in an organized way that makes a mundane chore easier. Customers feel better about the reduction of waste.

You can incorporate elements of your key messages on your website, in a social media post, or in-person face to face. Familiarize yourself with these messages and review them with your team. Remember, a ‘less is more’ approach is always a good idea when it comes to explaining equipment.

High Quality Imagery

We invest in the latest and greatest technology, and then never share it with our customers! I encourage you to build a small library of high-quality candid photos of the inner workings of your cleaning facility. Take time to clean up your plant and plan a photo-shoot day with your team. When doing this, make sure to have an employee (preferably in a uniform with your logo) working or standing near the piece of equipment. You want photos to tell a story and engage the viewer.

Video is another medium to show your customers the value of your plant’s equipment. I am a huge fan of this company video by Oceanside Cleaners in Florida. It intertwines their story while highlighting their incredible plant and equipment. Your customers are much more interested in a holistic view of your business that incorporates a narrative! Keep in mind that your video doesn’t need to be perfect. We often stress about production quality and slick editing; you can create short and simple videos on your phone in a matter of minutes.

Tour! Tour! Tour!

When was the last time your toured someone through your plant? Scheduling tours is a great way to hold yourself accountable to clean up your plant and get your team into gear. It’s a rare way to showcase your plant’s operations and equipment to potential customers. At Gibson’s we regularly tour prospective B2B customers and local business owners through our plant. Our guests are always excited and interested to learn about our equipment and technology.

Our tour structure usually follows a garment’s ‘journey’ from beginning (drop-off) to end (distribution), but you can design a tour that flows best for your organization. If you feel that your plant is too small for a tour, focus on one or two pieces of equipment. Show the guest how it works. If demonstrating a dry cleaning machine, tell a story. “Have you ever wondered how we clean silk? Let me show you our dry cleaning machine.” Rely on your key messages to showcase the end-user benefits of a piece of equipment.

Looks like Rocket Science to them

You take your equipment for granted because you use it every day (except when it breaks down, and that’s a completely different focus.) But to your customers, it’s new, intriguing and sometimes amazing. Don’t overlook the opportunity to wow them with your expertise and technology when the situation presents itself!

Have you held tours or done other types of customer education? Share your story in the comments below.

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