Making a difference: In the business of customer service

Wendy Victora | Northwest Florida Daily News
Dan Dean, owner of Destin Cleaners, makes it a point to give good customer service, which at times includes what he calls “the extras.” Once, when a customer became concerned about a low tire pressure indicator light, he went out and checked the air in her tires for her.

Officially, Dan Dean is in the dry cleaning business. But that’s not how he sees it.

Dean, whose family has been in the business for four generations, says he’s really in the business of customer service.

To that end, the owner of Destin Cleaners knows his customers by name and teaches his employees to do the same.  

“In a business where I’m going to see you once a week for the rest of your life, it makes me feel so much better when I know them by name,” he said. “It gives them a place.”

He also pays attention to the major events in his customers’ lives, tracking them through the clothes they bring in for cleaning.

“I know your kid’s just gone off for college. I know when someone dies in your family. I know when you have a major job interview,” he said. “Anybody can clean clothes and anybody can iron clothes. It’s the extras.”

For Bonnie Lang, those “extras” included help with her car, when one of the tires was indicating low pressure. She asked to borrow Dean’s tire pressure gauge. He came out, checked the air and sent her to a mechanic.

“Long story short, the care he showed for his mechanically illiterate customer was exemplary,” Lang said. “He not only does an excellent job cleaning clothes, but he is really nice as well.”

Dean was pleased that Lang appreciated his help but said it’s all really part of his job.

“Whatever they need,” he said. “It’s my job to make everybody happy.

“The golden rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”