Treating customers like your personal guests

23Sep10

I don’t use public restrooms very often, but in my limited experience, the overall quality of these facilities seems to be improving. Amenities like motion-sensing faucets and paper towel dispensers — which were once a rarity — have become quite common. There seems to be more attention to cleanliness, as well.

With this in mind, I was quite surprised to hear what my wife had to say about the restroom in one of our favorite restaurants. In less than a month, the restaurant had removed all the paper towel dispensers and trash cans, leaving only an air dryer in their place. This is the sort of cost cutting I’d expect from a business that positions itself as an ultra-cheap, no-frills, almost punishingly stripped-down merchant. But for a well-respected restaurant to remove such basic amenities? That’s just unacceptable.

I don’t know who made the ill-advised decision to reduce the bathrooms to highway rest stop level, but they surely weren’t thinking about it the right way. In essence, customers are like your personal guests. You’ve invited them into your business just like you’d invite a friend into your home. If you had a lot of guests visiting, would you remove all the consumables from your bathroom in order to save a few dollars on paper towels? Would you feel comfortable sending a signal to your guests that you don’t care about their comfort or convenience? I doubt it.

So, the next time you have the chance to save a few cents here or there in your business, ask yourself whether you’d be comfortable making that same tradeoff when it comes to guests in your home. If you wouldn’t treat your personal guests that way, then it’s probably best to rethink those plans and come up with a more customer-friendly alternative.



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