Research: Business Cleanliness Key to Customer Satisfaction

According to one study from ISSA, companies that companies with dirty facilities experienced a 39% drop in customer satisfaction ratings.

June 18, 2017
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You recently trained your employees to be more responsive and tactful. They are more polite and helpful than your competitors. However, your customer service ratings continue to suffer.

What is going wrong? The problem could stem from your inability to keep your facilities clean.

Cleanliness Plays an Important Role in Customer Experience

Customer service has always been one of the most important elements of marketing. Brands of known this for years. Unfortunately, customer satisfaction is declining, even as for brands invest in training.

One of the reasons so many brands struggle with it is that they failed to see all the variables that come in the play. They often focus entirely on the human component, without considering the impact of their product, facilities and other factors.

One of the most overlooked factors is a business’s cleanliness. Research shows that poorly kept businesses have poorer customer service track records.

According to one study from ISSA, companies that companies with dirty facilities experienced a 39% drop in customer satisfaction ratings. Cleanliness is especially important with fast food restaurants. An astonishing 94% of customers reported that they wouldn’t return to a business with dirty restrooms.

Research from M/A/R/C Research supports these findings and shows cleanliness is also important for other sectors.  “Clearly cleanliness is an important component of the consumer experience. It impacts consumers’ willingness to shop at a given retailer and also influences frequency of shopping and the length of time consumers are willing to shop. All of this has a direct impact on the amount of spending a retailer can capture,” said Randy Wahl, Senior Vice President at M/A/R/C Research.

Wahl explains that businesses need to look at cleanliness as an element of their customer service strategy, rather than a standalone chore. “While the tendency is to focus on the potential loss of a customer, an equally important concern is the broader impact that cleanliness and other aspects of the overall consumer experience have on frequency of shopping and the amount of time or scope of their shopping.”

What Does a Dirty Facility Say to Customers?

During summer vacations to Maine, one of friends used to go to visit an amusement park with his family when he was a child. The place was very dirty and his mother said that the lack of cleanliness “was insulting.”

Quite frankly, she is right. companies that fail to keep their facilities clean are sending a very clear message to their customers that they don’t matter.

If you want to earn the loyalty of your customers, you need to take a well-rounded approach. This means that you need to invest in keeping your stores clean.

Minimal Cleanliness Standards for Exceptional Customer Experience

Don’t assume that you can forego cleanliness, simply because you cater to a lower-income demographic. Working class people care just as much about cleanliness as the elite.

So what should you do to keep your facilities in tip-top shape? P&G Professional’s 2013 Cleaning Industry Insights Survey highlights some of the most important things that you should do. Here is a quick summary.

Focus on the bathrooms. P&G Professional’s 2013 Cleaning Industry Insights Survey found that customers prioritize bathroom cleanliness over everything else. It may not be a pleasant place to clean, but needs to be a top priority.

Keep specific customer health concerns in mind. People don’t just want to see facilities clean for the ambience. That is an important reason in itself, but customers also want to keep facilities clean for health reasons.

Using an automated approach to cleaning is helpful. Technology is making cleaning easier than ever, so there is no reason for brands not to keep their facilities clean.

One thing to keep in mind is that many customers are allergic to dust and pollen. P&G advises businesses to dust regularly to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. Customers will appreciate that you took the time to prioritize their health. Dusting to improve aesthetics is also important, but customer health is more so.

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