True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Glitz and the illusion of true quality cleaning

Glitz and the illusion of qualityAt some time in the past many ordinary cleaners did a fairly decent job.

But as the economic pressures have increased over the past few years, they've increasingly resorted to marketing razmataz to deflect their clients' attention away from the only matter that really counts for the owners of fine garments: the quality of their product.

Instead of focusing on quality of product, many ordinary cleaners shifted their focus to image and style. Using cues such as color coordinated uniforms, multicolored brochures, logo printed tissue and poly, (cheap) wood and chrome hangers, granite countertops and recessed lighting, boutique-style fashion posters and picture wrapped delivery vehicles to promote the illusion of true quality cleaning.

So why do ordinary cleaners invest in image and style?

For two reasons. First, image and style deflects attention away from the quality of their work and fools most of their customers into believing that the quality of their product is somehow "superior" to other ordinary cleaners. Second, by substituting glitz - the illusion of quality - for actual product quality, they've been able to significantly reduce production costs. Primarily by substituting relatively unskilled machine operators who are paid by the piece for well-paid, technically skilled craftsmen.

The image and style formula worked well for a while. Then the recession hit and many of their customers sought out cheaper alternatives.

Much to their chagrin, these customers discovered that, apart from image and style, there wasn't much difference in "quality". And that, over the past few years, they'd been paying relatively high prices for ordinary cleaning.

Clearly, the cubic zirconium strategy wasn't working any more.

So ordinary cleaners adopted a new approach. Many introduced a 2 tier pricing system, generically dubbed their "basic" and "premium" service.

The rationale was simple: We'll continue to give customers the same "quality" they've been accustomed to receiving, but at a reduced price, say 30% less. We'll call this our basic service and tell our customers that we've been able to introduce this "new", lower priced service by eliminating the fancy packaging. We'll also tell them that they can continue to request our premium service for their "fancier" garments at our current price levels.

Of course, what we won't tell them is that, apart from the packaging, there's no real difference in quality between our basic and our premium service. And we'll gain by charging a premium price for what is essentially a "bang and hang" garment dressed up with fancy packaging.

It follows that when you question these cleaners about the quality of their product and the detailed processes that produce that quality, they have no choice but to misrepresent, distort or even lie about what they do and what they don't do.

What they're overlooking, of course, is that clients with a significant investment in their wardrobe tend to be quite savvy and aren't easily fooled. These clients know that some glitz has it's place: as a complement to true quality cleaning, never as a substitute for true quality cleaning.

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