Magazine article CRM Magazine

Is It Done Yet? eSuds Eliminates the Guesswork around College Washing Machines' Availability

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Is It Done Yet? eSuds Eliminates the Guesswork around College Washing Machines' Availability

Article excerpt

College students living in a dorm know full well what it's like to wait late at night to lug a few loads of laundry several floors to grab one of the limited numbers of washers or dryers just to find nothing available. Otherwise, they may have the option to find another facility to get available, but bad, machines or dryers that are too hot. These dorm dwellers understand how valuable it is to know when a machine is free.

A handful of universities are now enabling their resident students to do just that through the eSuds online laundry service. The service is provided through Caldwell & Gregory, a company that operates dormitory laundry facilities for 130 colleges and universities in the Northeastern United States. Owner John Gregory says that his firm is always on the lookout for new and innovative technologies to augment the company's services--supplying coin-operated, smart card operated, commercial laundry equipment, parts and service for higher education institutions, condominiums, and laundry stores.

These new and innovative technologies help keep the company's retention rate at better than 99 percent in what Gregory calls a growingly competitive business. So as technology providers started offering monitoring systems to solve some of the challenges of knowing when machines were available, Gregory saw the technology as another way to solidify his customer base. "It's frustrating when you get to the laundry room and nothing is available and you don't know when anything will be available," Gregory says. "At Carnegie Mellon [where Caldwell & Gregory installed the system earlier this year], we had a nice facility before, but it didn't offer the convenience that it has now."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

He looked at a few solutions, but eSuds.net, a service from USA Technologies, offered synergies and capabilities through partnerships that many of the others didn't. USA Technologies is a partner of Blackboard, which provides college payment cards and other e-commerce services for institutions of higher education. Many colleges use the payment cards for students to pay for campus services, like dormitory meals, laundry, and copying fees.

The eSuds system includes a point-of-sale payment device that doubles as a monitoring system, eliminating the cost of a second device. …

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