Show your customers you care by keeping restrooms clean.
By Candra Whitley
We have always known that a clean public bathroom is important, but just how important is it? Not only is the cleanliness of your business’ restroom important to the health of your employees and customers but it is important to your bottom line. The restroom is the most often overlooked area that coincidentally also happens to be a key area to customers. And yes, the rumors are true, your restroom says a lot about your business.
Are you still a little skeptical about how much influence such a small space, where customers will spend just a few moments, can actually have? Well, a recent survey reinforces the impact of restrooms on customer experience and their powerful potential to provide a competitive edge with stunning statistics such as these:
• 29% of responders would never return to a restaurant with an extremely unclean or unsanitary restroom.
• 50% of responders would tell their friends and family about a negative experience with an unclean or unsanitary restaurant restroom.
• 46% would avoid going to a restaurant because of a bad experience with a restaurant’s restroom that either they personally had or they’ve heard about from others.
Think about this then: When you invite guests over to your house (especially guests who have never been there before), one of the most important things you will do is clean house, specifically any common areas — living room, kitchen and dining room, entryway or foyer, and the restrooms. You do not want your guests to have to use a dirty restroom or to think you are dirty people, right? So why wouldn’t you do the same to your customers? If you’re looking to deliver quality customer service and earn the trust of your customers, there’s no better way than to show them that you care about them and their well-being — even in your restrooms.
If you’re as curious as we were, you would probably be interested to know the top 10 restroom factors that prevented those customers mentioned above from returning. Here they are:
• Overflowing toilets – 58%
• Unpleasant odors – 57%
• Slippery/dirty floors with buildup, gum or other residue – 49%
• Dirty partitions, doors, doorknobs, walls or fixtures – 38%
• Dirty and wet sinks and counter tops – 38%
• Insufficient toilet paper – 33%
• Overflowing trashcans – 31%
• Insufficient liquid soap – 28%
• Non-working toilet paper dispenser – 22%
• Management/employees unavailable for reporting problems – 19%
Maintaining clean, comfortable restrooms is a surefire way to show your customers that you care. Why? Because investing money in your customers versus just investing money in sales is the best way to show that you care about them — they can trust you — which when all is said and done, can end up increasing your customer base and that’s ultimately what it’s all about. Want to add a cherry on top of it all? Add some sustainable or green products and processes and then showcase them to your customers with clear labels or explanations. Believe it or not, people like signs! Wow! A company that cares for the environment and its customers? This is the place to be!
It’s easy to get a bit lax when it comes to caring for a restroom. When employees are presented with a regular cleaning schedule, it can help encourage order and structure. It also raises their expectations of their employer, and can boost morale in return. Such regular cleanings can also reduce downtime. Everyone works together to create a cleaner environment, so it builds teamwork. In terms of company cohesion, a cleaner restroom can be great for increasing everyone’s work ethic. Structure, cleanliness and functionality are all factors that contribute to a great business. After all, you certainly don’t want your otherwise wonderful business to fail over a restroom concern. Don’t overlook the need for regular professional restroom cleaning.
In the end, clean restrooms can lead to happier customers, which reduce overall complaints against your establishment. In this day and age, all it takes is one disgusted internet blogger to comment on the state of your company’s restrooms to discourage other customers from frequenting your establishment. Clean facilities also show your company’s dedication to all phases of the customer service experience. Customers appreciate these efforts, and can reward your business with encouraging reviews that generate interest within the local community. Customers who feel confident in using your bathroom facilities, especially in a restaurant environment, may stay longer, order another round of drinks, and bring in more money for your company.
— Candra Whitley is the marketing and SEO director for Enviro-Master International Franchise, which provides restroom cleaning services by focusing on disease control and odor prevention. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.