A best-in-class employee uniform program handles both the big things and the little things with great care. Whether you are new to establishing an employee uniform program or looking for an alternative to your current uniform program provider, it can seem like a daunting task. Your goal either way is a worry-free uniform service that you and your employees can rely on. Here is a quick list of things you might not typically consider when choosing a uniform program provider, but you should.
1. Values that align with your own organization’s
Most companies now understand the importance of establishing a set of core values that drive company culture. Ask about them. Are they in line with your company’s beliefs as well? Does your company value honest communication, innovative thinking, local community service, or a commitment to sustainability? Whatever it is that your company has deemed important, make sure your uniform provider is also in alignment. Shared values will foster a long-term partnership you can trust.
2. Commitment to understanding your needs and preferences
Every business is unique and may have different reasons for implementing an employee uniform program. Businesses with customer-facing sales and service teams may want to portray a unified brand image, factories that work with machinery and equipment are concerned about employee safety, and food processors need to ensure the cleanliness of the product they produce. In these examples, each business has a unique set of needs to be understood. Whether it is meeting the standards of ANSI and OSHA or meeting the standards of your office image, your uniform provider should be able to set up a program that is customized and addresses your specific needs.
3. Performance through superior processing and precision handling
It might seem like uniform processing would all be done the same way. After all, how many ways can you wash, hang, and deliver a garment? But if you have ever been on the receiving end of dirty, damaged, or lost uniforms, you know that a provider’s uniform process matters. If you are concerned about cross-contamination with other garments, ask about the washing and drying process. If you are concerned about your garments getting lost, ask about the tracking process. If your garments aren’t being mended, ask about the inspection process. And if asking doesn’t feel like enough, request a tour of their uniform processing facility. Any reputable provider should willingly invite you in to see their processing plant and answer all your specific questions.
4. Customer satisfaction that leads the industry
It’s okay to ask around. In fact, most uniform vendors would expect you to do so. Other business owners in your industry are usually willing to share their feedback. If you don’t have a lot of willing feedback, or even if you do, take the time to do a little more of your own objective research. Uniform providers will usually offer reviews, customer stories, or testimonials on their website. You may want to be even more direct and ask for the name of another business in your area that you could contact about the quality of service provided. If they can’t offer these references, consider it a warning sign, and think twice before agreeing to partner with them.
5. Service and support that proves helpful and shows gratitude
For a fun (and telling) experiment, see what happens when you give your prospective provider a call. If you call during business hours, does someone actually answer the phone? With growth and consolidation in the uniform industry, service processes and personnel are changing rapidly. Take notice of the demeanor of the service representative on the phone. If they aren’t the best person to answer your question, do you get connected to the right person or receive a friendly return phone call in a timely manner? A service act as simple as picking up the phone can go a long way to show you that when you are a customer and have a question in the future, you will be able to get the help you need.
A uniform program should feel like an advantage, not an annoyance. The moral of the story here is that all the little things matter. If you end up with a uniform service that doesn’t connect with your business on all the little things, they can become big and complicated things for you and your employees. Take the time to do your research and ask the right questions. That way, you’ll find a service that truly becomes a valued partnership.