Here’s a classic question: what’s more important to laundromat customers – washer-extractors or tumble dryers? OK, it’s really a trick question. They are both important to leaving a good impression with customers.

So, how come many owners answer washer-extractors? True, you can make a case that clean results are the foundation to the customer experience. And the idea of first impressions can’t be discounted…after all, they are touching that machine first. It’s easy to look at tumblers as an afterthought. But while first impressions are immensely important, consider that your customers’ last interaction in their visit to your laundromat is with your tumble dryers.

Let’s talk tumblers and how to ensure that final touch point is a good one.

Clean matters. Want to ruin the great first impression your high-quality washer-extractors to delivered? Keep your tumblers dirty. Spoiler alert: nobody wants to put their clean laundry in a tumbler cylinder that is dirty. You’ve seen it, right? Cylinders with some odd substance melted onto it. Nobody wants to see that, least of all a paying customer. There are plenty of tips out there for removing that gunk, check out the CLA Connect Community forums for advice. Make sure your staff is wiping down those units and picking up leftover items. We all want to feel like we are the first user of that dryer, so make sure forgotten items are removed and police those dryer sheets that seemingly everyone leaves in the cylinder.

Capacity. It’s an obvious one, but if you are retooling or opening a new laundry, triple check that drying capacity matches washer-extractor capacity. Understanding that tumblers are a potential bottleneck is key. That’s why you want 1. High-speed extract on the washer side (this is the most efficient means of removing water from loads) to reduce drying time; and 2. Adequate capacity/pockets.

Capacity Options. Owners can definitely install large capacity stacks and call it a day. However, offering a few options enables you to generate additional revenue. Large capacity – 50- and 75-pound singles are the perfect counterparts to your high-capacity washer-extractors and should be considered, particularly as laundromat customers gravitate to 80- and 100-pound capacity washer-extractors. Offering two sizes of stacks also offers some pricing flexibility, allowing you to charge more, for instance, for a 45-pound pocket versus a 30-pound unit.

Fast/efficient – Your laundromat’s goal is to get customers in and out fast. That’s why if you are using old, inefficient units, you’re handicapping your business (and likely irritating customers). It may be time to upgrade. If you’ve already invested in fast, efficient equipment, make sure you have a maintenance plan to keep them running at peak efficiency. Staff should be emptying lint drawers regularly. Set a plan for regular duct cleaning and check that outside vents are clear.

Options. There was a time when tumbler revenue centered solely on vend and extending dry time. However, with the Quantum Touch, owners now have cycle modifiers – reversing and antiwrinkle – on the tumbler side. That brings additional revenue opportunities that weren’t there before. As a result, the new controls deliver impressive ROI. Customers love the opportunity to customize their cycles, particularly when they know exactly what they are getting for the upcharge, through real word descriptions. So, offering a great drying cycle and options will leave customers with a quality experience in that final machine touchpoint.

What about vend? As long as there have been laundromats, the debate has raged on full-cycle drying – one price for a dry cycle, with owners adding time if items aren’t fully dry at cycle end. There are benefits, for sure. If customers trust the full cycle – consider what happens when they keep checking loads for dryness and open the door…heat escapes and the pocket needs to work back up to temperature, which decreases efficiency. The move definitely takes education and trust building with customers, but it can work well once it takes hold.

A laundromat’s tumblers are the business owner’s last chance to leave a great impression with customers. Make sure you aren’t viewing the dry side as an afterthought or taking a “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” approach with dated, inefficient equipment costing more money to operate and angering customers due to the long dry times.