Customer Service Case Study – MiLT and EDiE’S

After my last dry cleaning, and specifically customer service experience I decided it was time for a new Dry Cleaner. When I first moved to Burbank I thought MiLT & EDiE’s was some kind of 50’s style diner. That’s what it looked like from the outside. Eventually I realized it was not. It was a Dry Cleaner.

Make sure you get all the way to the bottom for “The REAL question” about customer service and what YOU can do. I would love to see your answers.

My wife suggested I try them. I was afraid to. I thought for sure they would be expensive. They seem practically famous, around for 60 years, and I was sure they would cost more than I was willing to pay. Often times when you pay more, it’s because there is something that adds value. Customer Service is usually the difference. I took my chances and walked in the door. So far so good. No one accosted me and asked me for all of my money. In fact as I walked in and looked to my right to see who might be able to help me, the young lady sitting at a cash register leaned into a mic and called out #3. She said someone’s name but I wasn’t paying attention as I was scanning the place and looking for details (I do that). I had my wife on the phone with me (blue tooth) as I approached the young lady who came to post #3 to help me. Already I am feeling a difference in customer service. I was greeted and being helped immediately upon walking in. 

I began to unload my shirts, the first of which had a big oil stain from what I had eaten for lunch the day before. She told me it was going to be $5.75 to dry clean. My wife heard and told me forget it, I should go. The woman explained that it was just because of the oil stain. Otherwise it’s normally $2.75 per shirt (the last place had gone up to over $3.00). She was clear with me about what I was being charged and why. Customer service bonus points right there. Such an easy thing to do, but so few get it. 

The woman who helped me took her time with me. This is practically the definition of customer service. It was clear they were the experts. I didn’t have to decide what was to be dry cleaned vs laundered – they knew. At this point even if it did cost a little more, I was ok with it because as I mentioned, better customer service is worth it. In fact I am willing to pay a lot more for great customer service. The woman who helped me was patient with me, and made sure I understood everything. Their whole setup is clearly designed for the customer. There are 9 numbered posts that light up as customers walk in and the person at the door calls someone to that post. You don’t wait to be helped when you walk into MiLT & EDiE’S.

My dry cleaning would be ready for pick up in 24 hours, and get this. They’re open 24 hours, 7 days/week EVERY single day of the year. Do you have any idea how convenient that is? Offering conveniences like this makes you stand out for.. well.. outstanding customer service! Too often my dry cleaning has piled up on me (to the point where the bill is $95) because I am unable to get there while they’re open. I no longer have to worry about that. I am busy. They get that. MiLT & EDiE’s has a solution. 24/7/365.

I was asked to leave a credit card on file. My wife (remember she was on the phone) adamantly insisted that I don’t. With all kinds of recent security breaches like SONY and such, we’re a little more weary now about having our credit or debit card information on file. I asked if I could just pre-pay in cash. The woman who was helping me said of course but that she would need a few minutes to process everything so she could ring me up. Meanwhile she offered me a seat and a cup of coffee as she pointed to the coffee / espresso machine they had in the corner. It was one of those machines where you just press on what you want and it makes it. I had a Vanilla cappuccino thingy (I think that is the official name). There were also cookies right there. In the afternoon they have popcorn. It’s these little details that go such a long way to creating an outstanding customer service experience.

The staff there asked me if I was a first timer and I shamefully admitted that I was. Here comes another customer service tip. I was handed a welcome bag with dog hair rollers and all kinds of other things. Included was a bag that we can fill with as much as we can fit and we get 20% on our next visit. What do you offer your first time customers to make sure they remember the experience?

Then we got all kinds of brochures, promos and info as well as this cool little dry cleaning truck which now sits on my desk:

My bill on this visit, funny enough was about $95 (See previous post). Actually the total was over $100, but she discounted it for me.

By the time I walked out of MiLT & EDiE’s I hadn’t just dropped off my dry cleaning. I had an experience. It was an outstanding customer service experience. This was something much more than just getting my dry cleaning done. I found myself wanting to come back as soon as possible. The experience was warm. I felt good about spending my money here because I felt good about the customer service. My feeling with MiLT & EDiE’S is that my needs will be met and well beyond.

I was so moved when I came home from this customer service experience that I liked them on Facebook and I actually took the time to go through all of the materials they sent me with. I also took the truck above for a spin around my desk because – I am just an idiot like that 🙂

Have a look at this stuff…

That’s funny. Look at #1. I won’t even have to ask!

I am a big fan of “environmentally friendly.” We own a hybrid vehicle, so this next one really made me feel good.

They even have one that tells you how important customer service is to them. Well Done Milt & Edie – it shows:

Here’s the REAL question

How can you apply this in your own business? You don’t do dry cleaning. You have a bookkeeping practice, or you run an accounting firm, or you provide some other service, or you sell products.

Many people’s first thought is going to be something like, “I can’t do that, I have a different kind of business.” You’re correct. If you say you can’t than you definitely can’t and you will be the equivalent in your own industry of the dry cleaner I just left behind for good because I am now a diehard fan of MiLT & EDiE’s.

For those of you willing to get creative and think in terms of how you CAN replicate what MiLT & EDiE’s has done with customer service it boils down to one simple thing. Don’t just offer your service or sell your products. Offer your customers an experience that will have them wanting to come back and send others. Offer them an experience that will have them wanting to write blog posts about you 🙂

So tell me – how can you start thinking about changing your business so that you can become the MiLT & EDiE’S of your industry? Post your comments below.


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