A careful and positive reception experience sets the expectations of the customer. If done correctly, it could greatly reduce claims and complaints. On the flip side, it can improve the customer experience and lead to repeat business, referrals and increased profits.
When a customer arrives, the counter area should be clean and free of clutter with space to lay out and properly inspect garments.
What should be checked and why?
The care label is the first point of reference to identify if the garment is suitable for processing and what the most appropriate method of cleaning is. Close attention should be given to any exceptions on the care label.
Trims, beads and embellishments may melt or become damaged in the dry cleaning process, so these may need to be removed and reattached after cleaning. This will probably make the job more time consuming and more specialised, therefore pricing should be adjusted accordingly to allow for the additional labour costs. Failure to inform the customer of this upfront could result in very little profit on the job or a disgruntled customer when the price is increased.
The age and condition of the garment should be checked and any weakness, damage, tears or snags highlighted. These must be noted and pointed out to the customer before accepting the garment.
Customers may not always notice damage – eg a back pocket with a small tear at the button hole – and could mistake this for damage caused during the cleaning process. This then becomes their word against yours if not checked before-hand and rarely ends in a positive experience for either party.
Antique garments may be frail and unsuitable for cleaning. After an honest assessment, the best decision may be to avoid certain items or making the risk involved clear to the owner.
Carefully check the garment for any foreign bodies such as pins or items left in pockets. Pens, cigarette lighters and other small objects can easily be overlooked. If left in pockets, these could not only damage the item, but potentially damage other textiles in the load - and even machinery. The garment should be patted from the outside first before putting hands into pockets. Care needs to be taken in the unlikely event of needles or other sharp objects which could cause injury or infection.
Any damage, particular stains or potential areas of risk should be tagged and highlighted before moving on to processing.
A thorough inspection at reception allows any damage, weakness or potential difficulties to be picked up and highlighted. Customer expectations can then be set and future complaints prevented.