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  • Writer's pictureBill Petrie

Same-Day Service

A parable about unintentionally driving clients away.

I'm in the market for a new dry cleaner, but likely not for any of the reasons that might immediately enter your brain. It's not because they don't do a good job; my clothes are always returned to me in fantastic shape. They are less than two miles from my house, so it's not an issue of proximity. While the cost is astronomical, they are consistent with the market, which means price isn't the reason.


My reason is that they advertise "same-day service."


Yes, I realize that seems like a dumb reason to seek other cleaning services for my "non-zoom" trousers, but there is a method to my madness. You see, two weeks ago, I dropped off my dry cleaning Tuesday morning about 15 minutes after they opened. I handed her the bag containing the two shirts and waited for the owner to tell me when I could expect them, which she always does. From the moment possession of the bag was transferred, I braced for impact because I knew there would be some negotiation – mainly due to the fact that there always is if I want my cleaning back sooner than the store suggestion.


She gleefully suggested, "Friday" in a sweet voice. Thankfully, I had prepared my strategy well in advance because while her tactics might be effective, they are predictable. "Well, normally, that would be fine. However, I need to get these back tomorrow if possible," I said firmly but politely.


As her smile cascaded into a frown and her brow furrowed, I simply smiled and waited confidently and silently. I wasn't rude and didn't even ask for the advertised "same-day service." I merely wanted my shirts the following day, which, frankly, doesn't seem like that big of an ask considering their marketing of "same-day service."


After what seemed like 20 minutes, she huffed and grumbled, "Fine!" At first, I was amused and thought how masterful I was at the negotiation. However, the more I drove, the more irritated I became. Here I am, a long-time (well over ten years) paying customer, paying a premium for a service, and the owner tried to make me feel bad for requesting my clothes sooner than they wanted to return them.


That's when the entire "same-day service" advertising got under my skin. With the pushback and accompanying attitude, I felt punished for my innocuous request. If they hadn't advertised "same-day service," the owner's reaction wouldn't bothered me nearly as much – mainly because my expectations wouldn't have been set as high.


The bottom line is this: if you advertise specific services in the branded merchandise space like graphic design, company store development, and management, or even content creation, you shouldn't be surprised when a client asks you to provide them. When they do, the absolute last thing to do is treat that client like they have offended your business acumen for taking you up on the services you offer – especially when countless competitors provide those same services but do it with a smile.


Trust me, the last thing you want to do drive your clients to shop for a new dry cleaner.

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