Never underestimate the impacts of a clean bathroom to your business. According to many studies conducted on different business industries, one common characteristic similar is the ever rising consumer expectations, especially today when the word of mouth is spread ‘virally’ through social media.
Most business owners know that a bad first impression can make a customer’s first experience their last. According to USA Today, nearly 30% of consumers will not step into a business again if a dirty bathroom affected their first impression. In fact, a survey revealed that 95 percent of people have a negative perception of a retail store if they encounter a dirty restroom.
Today, it’s easier than ever for a customer to spot a problem, take a picture of it and post in different social media networking sites. It will take just minutes for everyone to know about your dirty little secret. According to consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow in his book entitled “Decoding the New Consumer Mind,” modern day consumers has become extremely reliant on reviews by others like them due to the perceived “objectivity” of what others not connected to the business have to say.
The thought of bad publicity spreading like wildfire online raises the stakes for customer satisfaction across the board, forcing stores, restaurants and other businesses to keep a closer eye on every part of the experience–even improving the state of their business’ bathrooms.
According to HelpScout, a company that helps businesses improve their customer relations, it takes twelve positive customer experiences to make up for just one negative customer experience. Businesses should prioritize eliminating the possibility of customer complaints in the first place. As the cliché goes: prevention is better than cure. Keeping down customer complaints not only keeps your customers happy, but your employees engaged and focused rather than anxious about the next.
Customers typically assess four key factors in a restroom, including:
- Supplies — Bathrooms should have consumables available for users at all times. This includes toilet paper, hand towels and soap dispensers. The availability of supplies is particularly important for on-the-go customers, which constitutes the majority of convenience store and gas station patrons.
- Cleanliness — Toilets, urinals, floors and sinks are clean and free of debris. Bathrooms should have a fully operational odor-control system in place.
- Dryness — All areas of the bathroom are dry. This includes dry sink areas and puddle-free floors.
- Function — Bathrooms are properly lit and have quality air circulation. Plumbing, dispensers, locks, hand dryers and baby changing stations are fully operational.
More than avoiding complaints, your business will definitely gain from a clean bathroom. If your business is in the service industry, such as hotels or restaurants, maintaining clean restrooms helps put customers at ease about the rest of your operations.
Employees benefit from a clean bathroom too. As company owners, you should never overlook the welfare of your employees, especially their hygiene and sanitary conditions, as well as employee morale. Employees feel better about their employers when they know they’re being looked out for. Good bathroom hygiene practices signal that the employer cares about employees as much as it does about customers. It will also eliminate the transfer of sickness and disease among employees, reducing absenteeism and associated losses in revenue and productivity.
Lastly, tourists target clean bathrooms in unfamiliar places when they travel. According to travel trends, travelers greatly consider the state of the bathroom when it comes to the hotels they will stay in, the restaurants they will eat at, or stores to go shopping in. While casual visits like these might not seem like much of a business opportunity, owners should—just like in any aspect, always put their best foot forward, this time, manifested through a clean and well-maintained bathroom.