Commercial cleaning may not be as eye-popping as neon signs or digital displays in your business space, but it plays a subtle and important role in the efficiency of your day-to-day.
Simply put, businesses that prioritize keeping clean tend to be more successful than those that don’t. But there’s obviously more to it than simply saying “clean businesses get more customers.”
We’re going to explore the top 3 ways putting your cleanest foot forward helps your Greensboro area business, based on industry research of consumer behavior.
Clean Businesses Retain More Customers
We’ve all heard the sayings about first impressions. As well-used as those platitudes are they withstand the test of time in business. The impression the cleanliness of your business location creates for customers can’t be undervalued.
In fact, a joint study by M/A/R/C Research and National In-Store found that 29% of customers said they’d only keep returning to an unclean store if it were absolutely necessary (QRS Magazine).
Some took it further, with 14% of customers saying they would straight up stop visiting a store that was not clean, even if they otherwise liked the products. 14% may not sound like a lot, but that’s lost business despite everything else being right. Even if a customer does continue to shop at a dirty store, that 29% marker is a clear indicator that their loyalty wavers when businesses aren’t clean.
All it would take in that scenario is a competitor with similar prices and a much cleaner facility to take the business away.
Think about your experience at a restaurant. Even if the wait staff is friendly and the food is good, imagine if they bring you out a water glass with a lipstick stain on it. It’s clear the glass was not properly cleaned, which suddenly calls into question the plate you are eating off of, the silverware, etc.
Yikes, right? Dinner ruined even though everything else went well.
And it’s not specific to retail or restaurants, either. A 2000 study found that un-cleanliness is the most influential irritant to customers in service industries (Research Gate). Having the best prices or the most skilled service take a back seat as a result if messiness is prevalent.
Other researchers argue that cleanliness is even more significant for service-based businesses than restaurants because the nature of the business is sporadic. For example, a person may frequent a restaurant, so one bad experience may not ruin the relationship. But you don’t hire a landscaper or a lawyer that often, so one bad experience might be it for them.
In those studies, everything mattered for customer perception. How clean the floors were, the maintenance of restrooms, cleanliness of work uniforms, and even how gross that old coffee pot is.
All of these things shape how people see a business, and lead us to our next point.
Clean Facilities Create Trust
It’s just a bathroom, right? Surely customers will see that it has nothing to do with the actual services offered by a business. Think again.
Just like in the restaurant example above a dirty glass throws every other dish into question, a dirty restroom causes customers to wonder about other aspects of the business. Neglected-looking areas send the message that a business doesn’t care.
That message of lack of attention to detail spills over into other aspects of the business, leading to negative assumptions about anything from billing to customer service.
The same Research Gate study mentioned above explored the effects of cleanliness on trust in businesses of all kinds, from taxi drivers to wait staff. By their measurements clean facilities and well-groomed staff generated almost twice the trust of messy facilities.
When trust is diminished in a working relationship customers are more likely to examine everything more closely and question service changes. If the nature of a given product or service changes over time, for example, or prices go up, there will be doubt. “Why are the prices increasing when they can’t even keep the bathroom clean?” they may ask.
It follows of course that customers whose trust has been diminished are far less likely to recommend the business to others. If there is any sort of dispute over services provided, a customer who may otherwise have been willing to negotiate may now have one more reason to walk away angry.
Negative reviews happen even in the most customer-centric businesses. But since the average customer is far more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one, businesses are already pushing past that hurdle. Trust is something every business has to continuously earn, so among other things commercial cleaning needs to be ongoing.
Commercial Cleaning Controls Sick Days and Disease
We’ve posted about absenteeism and preventing illness outbreaks before and it bears mention here.
Up to 60% of employees continue coming to work even when sick, indicated by a 2003 study on absenteeism. The reasons for this vary, but often come down to two things:
- Employees are reluctant to use paid time off to stay home if they feel they can “suffer through it” and come in.
- The workload is intimidating and makes employees afraid to miss work because of the perceived train wreck when they return.
Particularly during cold season this has some very real implications.
Frequently touched areas of your business facility, including door knobs, faucets, microwaves, and even paper towel dispensers are breeding grounds for bacteria. A University of Florida study showed that the types of bacteria on these common items can cause everything from diarrhea to infections.
If these areas aren’t cleaned regularly and thoroughly, more employees will likely become ill. And even if a good portion of the staff works through their illnesses, productivity is still diminished. But how much?
Forbes.com reports on a study by The Integrated Benefits Institute, estimating that poor health and illness cost US businesses $227 billion in “lost productivity” annually. Specifically, they say, from what they call “presenteeism” which they define as workers coming to work but being unproductive due to illness.
For healthcare facilities and nursing homes this becomes ever more important. Patients of such facilities are often in positions of weakened immune systems. This relative fragility makes pathogen transmission due to lack of cleaning carry greater consequences, to say nothing of the affects on reputation and visitor impressions.
Forbes also points out that these types of illnesses create additional workers compensation claims related to long and short term disability. Those types of expenses can be lofty, as well as tie up certain departments for long periods of time to resolve the claims.
Easier in all cases to simply avoid that altogether.
Some of these statistics are probably surprising. But they help illuminate something that isn’t given much attention in the business world. Commercial cleaning is a service that seems invisible when it’s done well — but the benefits are felt everywhere.
Your Greensboro business will be more efficient and will retain more customers simply by being properly cleaned.
We offer a full suite of commercial cleaning services, so give us a call today to learn more about how we can bring these benefits to your business!