The laundry sector, just like other sectors, is going through market changes due to the evolution of clients’ needs and requests. What we are looking for are, for example, more sustainable and efficient solutions.
The new approach when offering a service needs to be lean, smart and fast, and the resources need to be optimized.
In the meantime, the conditions of supply, sale and payment changed as well.
Never before have laundry businesses needed to listen to the clients’ voice more than today, when it has become necessary to adapt business models to the new necessities.

What are the easiest and fastest ways to listen to clients’ needs?
We are going to present 5 rules that should be followed in order to obtain key information from your clients by adopting lean marketing strategy in the customer satisfaction field.

Consolidate the turnover and build client loyalty 
What interests businesses the most today is either to consolidate or to recuperate the turnover. It is possible as long as we know about the following:

1. clients’ purchase habits
2. methods we can use to build client loyalty
3. how satisfied clients are, what products and services they are satisfied with
4. what aspect of the company is appreciated the most
5. what aspect, product or service is appreciated the least.

Discovering clients’ hidden treasure: information
If we do not have any information on the above points, we need to act immediately by creating a client satisfaction survey in order to find out about the aspects we know nothing about. We are interested in both potential and active clients. It necessary to find out about their purchase habits which might generate numerous opportunities as we will receive information in regard to:
• unpoken or unknown company problems
• generating new contacts with potential clients
• testing ideas in relation to new products and services
• reinforcing the company’s reputation as a leading business through shared innovation
• knowing people’s opinions on products and services
• measuring employees’ satisfaction and efforts
• employees work performance assessment.

Therefore, the analysis of customer satisfaction is strategic because, thanks to a few simple questions we ask clients, we can obtain very important feedback which will help us understand and discover what our competitive advantage really is, and what our strong and weak points are.

Reducing the costs of a customer satisfaction survey through the lean approach
Many small and medium businesses believe that it is very expensive and challenging to listen to the “voice of customer”. However, it could be much more simple than what we might have imagined.
Today, there are tools helping us to carry out any online survey. They are often quite cheap or even free of charge which makes it possible for any company to carry out a survey  by presenting models, examples, questions, etc. Before starting it all, it is necessary to follow a few rules in order to obtain a maximum efficiency level of the customer satisfaction survey, and get a lot of information through listening to the customers’ voice.

5 GOLDEN RULES OF LEAN MARKETING REGARDING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

1. Establish goals S.M.A.R.T.
Define and establish a clear goal of the survey. The acronym SMART says it all: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, TIME-BASED. We need to know what kind of information we want to collect already in the preparation stage. In the initial phase, we need to inform the figures that are in direct con tact with customers: sales people, promoters, sales managers, employees or collaborators. They need to learn how to listen and understand the new necessities expressed by customers, or what the latter expect, and above all, whether anybody has noticed any “first premonitory signs” of expressed unsatisfaction that the company might be aware of. In other words, we need to turn into
a “Sherlock Holmes” of the company.

Example: a drop in sales and in the turnover within a precise area
If sales are dropping within one particular sector or a business area, the survey will be useful in discovering the reason for it. It is possible to create a survey to check whether something has changed clients-wise or perhaps some aspects have made a product or a service less attractive, or perhaps some unperceived characteristics have mattered, e.g. sanitizing, delivery time, payment terms or maybe simply a new competitor has got a better offer.

2. Ask about general satisfaction, then go into detail
The majority of client surveys start by a general satisfaction enquiry. Then, they focus on more detailed information. The initial questions need to be extremely general in order to understand the global level of customer satisfaction. If we start by being very specific, customers won’t answer or they won’t be spontaneous while responding. Whereas if we leave the general questions as the last ones, people won’t respond truly but only generally and fast in order to finish the survey as quickly as possible.

3. Customer satisfaction analysis should be short and simple
The survey needs to be simple, actually almost at an elementary level. The idea is to include very clear words and simple questions so that everyone can understand. If a question is too complicated or difficult, the users will answer in a wrong or superficial way. It is crucial for the survey to be short, too: it should not take more than 5 minutes to complete it. Any survey longer than 5 minutes is going to be left unfinished by many.

4. “Less is more”, reduce the number of questions to the minimum
The fewer questions we ask, the more probable that customers will complete the questionnaire. What is more, we need to limit the number of questions with an open answer. An open answer question requires a greater effort because those who answer will need to focus and think the answer over before giving it. Many times, customers do not know what to write or how to answer, so, the result of an open answer question survey might include many unanswered questions or numerous repetitive answers. We need to make an effort to make the life of those who complete the survey easier by providing a set of ready answers to choose from.
It is enough to include one or two open answer questions in order to obtain clear indications and be able to react immediately.

5. Contact different customers each time
Surveys can be carried out regularly but it is important to focus on the identification of the right customers and ask them to participate in the survey once or twice a year, not more, offering a small reward for taking their time, e.g. a discount or a small gift. Intensifying the number of times when customers are subjected to participating in a survey can make people tired and annoyed. When we receive many phone calls or text messages with requests to participate in a survey, we often do not respond or we even block the number that is calling us, which means that the company has forever lost the opportunity to interview us.

Considering all the above, here are some useful tools allowing to measure customer satisfaction in a simple and fast way:
Google Forms: easy and free of charge, they allow to create customized forms and receive answers in a handy calculation sheet.
It is possible to assign points to each answer and create quizzes and tests with a final evaluation. Also, the forms can be integrated into a website or sent by a text message simply and quickly.
Survey Monkey: this website allows to make an online survey. It is free of charge up to 10 questions.
Surveys on social networks: facebook and instagram allow to receive answers from customers to simple, multiple choice questions.
Doodle: a free online meeting scheduling tool, it allows to quickly create an online survey, schedule ideal timetable for meetings or events.

How can we carry out a customer survey quickly and easily?
When a customer concludes a purchase, we can hand them a QR Code or send them a text message or an e-mail, or insert a banner on our website.
So, what are you waiting for? Listen to the customers more and do the lean survey! •

by Alessandro Martemucci,
Marketing Consultant Officinae Marketing Management

Detergo Magazine March 2021