This week, ABC News gave drycleaners a thoroughly sensationalistic trashing on Good Morning America, 20/20 and abcnews.com. In order to help members respond to questions from employees and customers, DLI prepared the following talking points. Foremost, don't panic. Sadly, this is business as usual in the media today. But happily, this item is already yesterday's news and another target will be along shortly.
Not All Drycleaners Are Created Equal
Reassure your customers (and remind your staff) that your investments in training and professional knowledge separate your business from those cleaners who give the industry a bad name. This is a great opportunity to point out that you are a member of the 107-year-old Drycleaning & Laundry Institute. As such you regularly receive the latest industry information and enjoy unlimited resources and educational opportunities. If you or anyone on staff hold any DLI certificates or diplomas these are additional aces you can play.
The 20/20 report misrepresented the cleaning process by suggesting that customers' clothes are actually cleaned in black, dirty still sludge. Reassure your customers that their clothes are not cleaned in black sludge as was portrayed on the 20/20 news report. If this were true then every piece of light-colored clothing would turn black after cleaning.
In fact, in the drycleaning process solvent is filtered and distilled so it remains clear and clean while the clothes are being washed. The black sludge shown on the 20/20 report actually proves that soils and impurities are removed from the solvent and not left on your customers’ garments.
Offer to give customers a tour of your facility so they can see the condition of your process for themselves.
This is new even to DLI. Reassure your customers that the care of their garments and their satisfaction is of utmost importance. DO NOT repeat Mr. Pozniack’s statement when explaining your case - this only gives credibility to his statement and makes you appear to be on the defensive. Instead accentuate the positive, such as: "Here at DLI Cleaners, our customers are the most important people in the world. We always greet you with a smile and are always glad to see you."
Removing Tough Stains
Tell your customer that some stains are very difficult to remove but identifying the stain is half the
battle. Have counter staff ask customers if they know of any stains on the garments. Let the customer know your team will do their best to remove any stains.
Again, highlighting professional affiliation and training can help you respond to any inquiries in a positive way. Try something like, "As members of the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, we receive training on the best stain removal methods. We get regular training updates on the best way to clean new and upcoming fashions. Cleaners like the ones talked about in the show are not members of a technical institute. Those cleaners are often not trained to remove difficult stains."
Know Who You Do Business With
One bit of advice from the 20/20 segment is actually not so bad. Customers should choose a drycleaner
they feel comfortable entrusting with their garments as well as any forgotten items, such as cash or bills.
Misleading Care Labels
Care labels recommend just one appropriate method of care, even when several methods of cleaning are acceptable. Customers may not know that care labels can sometimes be wrong and following them can lead to damage. Tell them, "When you see 'Dryclean Only' you may or may not be able to home wash the garment without shrinkage, color loss or distortion. Our years of experience and understanding of fibers, fabrics, and chemistry help us make a professional judgment on how to care for each garment. After testing, we may decide to wetclean, launder, or even hand wash a garment rather than dryclean it. We do this all day every day. That is why you bring your garments to us, we are The Professionals."
In Case You Missed It
ABC posts full episodes of 20/20 here: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/
As of early Saturday morning, the February 28 episode was still there. Friday's show with the segment on drycleaning should be posted soon.