Let’s face it, in the linen and uniform rental industry the large companies keep getting larger. They either buy out the family owned business, or try to crowd them out of the market by offering rock bottom pricing to new accounts – forcing the local shop to close their doors. In the textile industry there are a few steps that family owned businesses can implement to not only survive, but thrive!
The first and most powerful tool at your disposal are your current satisfied customers. It may seem obvious, but requesting happy customers leave you positive online reviews, mining them for referrals (without being too pushy), and generating affirmative testimonials can be a great boost to your business and the best part, it’s free. Use these satisfied customers to build your reputation in the community as the family owned business that does the job right every time. By getting this message across online and in the community you will create a reputation that large companies cannot compete with. Requesting referrals from existing accounts will allow you to continuously grow your customer base. People trust their friends more than a salesman so a positive review or testimonial is as good as gold. Your smallest account can be the loudest promotor of your service in the community. They can be a gold mine of referrals and positive reviews so do not neglect them.
A second strategy to keep in mind is to find the Achilles heel of the national chains and use that to your advantage. Once you find out how you can differentiate yourself from them make it known. Build it into the core of your business and make sure your potential customers as well as existing ones know the difference between you and “XYZ National Laundry”. If you are known for being on time or providing higher quality customer service than the national brands make sure you uphold that image. Promote it on your website, social media pages, and present in your everyday activities. It may surprise you how your community will respond to a local company providing services that the national chains just can’t. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of social media. Social media is your direct line of communication with customers, employees and potential leads. Make sure your posts reflect your brands image and declare why you stand out above the rest.
The third way to establish a foothold that the national companies can’t take away is simply keeping your current customer base satisfied. Many companies decide to spend the vast majority of their time and resources trying to gain new customers, neglecting their current accounts. Make sure your customers are always happy so it never even crosses their mind to search for another linen service. You can’t lose a customer if they never look at alternative services.
In the end the industry is going to continue to consolidate, but don’t let your business become another statistic. Keep in mind these tips:
- Utilize your happy customers to build your brand and client base.
- Find the national brands weakness and take advantage of it.
- Don’t sacrifice current customer’s service for potential future customers.
By remembering these tips and doing what you do best, you will be able to generate a strong brand that the national companies will not be able to touch.
Get your commercial laundry business found online – advertise with us! Learn more by visiting www.linenservices.com or call 888-557-0262!
March 31, 2015