Whether you operate or manage a restaurant, hotel, fitness center, retail store, or other facility, properly maintaining and stocking the restrooms is one way to show customers that you care about providing an excellent experience at every level. These processes are also essential if you’re aiming to achieve coveted five-star status for your business on consumer-driven review websites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, which have proven influential in the past.
Today, patrons can quickly and easily voice their disappointment to friends and family, and even to people outside of their immediate networks via popular social media and review websites. There are also numerous apps available that allow customers to share their feedback regarding public restroom cleanliness, accessibility, design, and more.
A scathing public review that’s visible to current and potential customers has far-reaching implications. According to its second quarter 2016 metrics, Yelp alone has more than 108 million reviews and averages 73 million unique visitors via desktop computers each month, with mobile web and app visitors not far behind. A study conducted by Harvard Business School, first published in 2011, then revised in 2016, revealed in a paper entitled, “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com,” that a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue.
Unkempt restrooms can push a customer to complain, either to management or publicly on the internet. To ensure reviews won’t negatively impact revenue, businesses must make cleanliness a priority, especially in restrooms.
Enhance the way guests perceive your restroom with the following tips:
- Carefully select paper products.
When purchasing restroom paper products, such as toilet paper and paper towels, it’s important they fit several requirements. Select paper products that are durable and absorbent so they don’t fall apart or encourage overuse. Products should also be soft so they don’t irritate skin. Finally, look for paper products that sanitize pipes and sumps and break down quickly when they’re flushed. This will help reduce expensive blockages, and the resulting unpleasant appearance and smell associated with clogged toilets and sink drains. By supplying guests with high-quality products, you’re offering a better restroom experience while reducing unnecessary waste and pricey plumbing disasters.
- Keep essentials well-stocked.
No customer appreciates a restroom that is out of soap, paper towels, or toilet paper. According to the 2016 Healthy Hand Washing Survey by Bradley Corp., Americans list regular stocking of materials, especially paper towels, even if hand dryers are present, as top wishes for public restrooms. One reason for the paper towel preference is that many admit to using paper towels to avoid touching restroom doors and faucet handles.
Make sure that high-quality, soft, and durable paper products are always readily available and soap dispensers are functioning and full. If customers and employees are unable to properly perform hand hygiene, you put their health and safety and your brand’s reputation at risk.
- Conduct and keep a record of maintenance checks.
Even if your restroom isn’t busy at every hour of the day, it’s best to make a habit of checking it every few hours. It only takes one customer to make a mess, and another customer to see it to leave you a bad review.
Employees should ensure the restroom is well stocked, void of foul odors, and tidy. Set a schedule for employees to follow and have them keep a record of when cleaning and maintenance occurs, ideally every couple of hours. Take quick action with any complaints you receive (i.e. the soap dispenser is broken, a toilet isn’t flushing, etc.) so that issues don’t persist.
- Clean more than the floors.
Floors are often the first thing customers notice when entering your facility, and the same goes for your restrooms. Toss all trash that has collected inside and outside of receptacles, and use a mop to remove visible dirt. However, don’t forget to clean mirrors, wipe sinks and counters, and scrub all areas in and around toilets. When it comes to restroom excellence, it’s all in the details.
- Adapt to fit your customer’s needs.
There are certain modern restroom features that can improve guest satisfaction and simplify overall maintenance. For example, customers tend to prefer touchless fixtures, such as automatic soap and paper towel dispensers and faucets, because it limits the number of surfaces their hands contact before and after handwashing.
According to a recent study from the University of Arizona, about 25 percent of public restroom dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Ensure a hygienic restroom, and limit the opportunity for germs to spread by making touchless fixtures available.
Customers expect to use restrooms that meet basic requirements, and if they don’t, the experience can result in a bad review for your entire business. Nearly 70 percent of respondents in Bradley Corp.’s survey reported having an unpleasant experience as a result of public restroom conditions.
To minimize these instances, it’s crucial to maintain the cleanliness of public restrooms by conducting regular maintenance checks, keeping essentials well stocked, and providing high-quality options. Paying attention to these details and your customers’ needs will increase the likelihood of a five-star rating, protecting your brand’s reputation and the bottom line.