CMM’s 2022 Building Service Contractor (BSC) Benchmarking Survey found that, for the third year in a row, the single greatest challenge to customer satisfaction is a facility’s restrooms.
Although the percent of BSCs ranking restrooms at the top of the customer complaint list has dropped year over year—from 44% in 2020 to 42% in 2021 and 35% in 2022, its dominance suggests that restroom design, maintenance, and cleaning continue to leave room for improvement. This is despite the fact the survey also revealed that, in addition to cleaning, 97% of BSCs now offer disinfecting services and 85% provide restroom supplies management.
While the physical design of a restroom may be beyond the purview of BSCs, maintenance and cleaning are well within their core offering. Overcoming every single complaint—from odors and clogs to dirty surfaces and paper outages—may seem insurmountable, but there are steps facility managers and owners can take to help their BSCs put an end to customer restroom complaints once and for all.
Touchless dispensing solutions use advanced sensing technology to dispense a pre-set amount of product when a user waves their hand. Similarly, other touchless solutions, like faucets and flush valves, are triggered by motion to release the flow of water. By their very nature, these hands-free devices reduce the number of user touchpoints to help improve hygiene and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This is why touchless restroom solutions have been growing in popularity over the past 20 years.
Today’s customers are knowledgeable and savvy; they know that germs, viruses, and bacteria can be easily transmitted by touching dirty surfaces. Plus, to be really technical, dirty surfaces, particularly in a restroom, are just gross. It is easy to surmise, then, that a touchless restroom is likely to offer more favorable customer perceptions and experiences.
Fortunately, cost does not need to be a reason to hold onto manual dispensers and restroom fixtures. Many of today’s touchless solutions are available at a number of price points depending on the specific design features they include, which helps make them an affordable option for just about everyone.
Plus, today’s touchless technologies offer the potential for long-term return on investment (ROI) by helping to control how much towel, soap, sanitizer, or water is dispensed, which helps to reduce product usage and waste while also supporting cost savings and sustainability.
Become a technophile
Technology is now integrated seamlessly into every facet of life. Not because it’s new and novel, although that may be the case for early adopters, but because it makes life and work easier, more convenient, more enjoyable, and more manageable. Every day, new technologies are developed and deployed. Every day, people make conscious decisions to either adopt these technologies or maintain the status quo.
When it comes to restroom cleaning and maintenance, the status quo is no longer an option. Not when restroom conditions continue to elicit more customer complaints than any other area of a facility. When facilities install smart restroom technology, they empower BSCs to create real and valuable changes to their cleaning programs; the kind of changes that help positively impact customer perceptions and experiences.
As smart as it is, smart technology is not rocket science, and it does not require a doctorate of technology to use. There is nothing to fear here. Sensors inside dispensers and other restroom fixtures keep track of restroom conditions, supplies, and usage, then communicate this information to the cleaning staff through wireless communications and mobile apps. This real-time communication means the cleaning staff knows when to replace a paper towel roll to prevent an outage and when to empty the trash based on restroom usage. Smart task management capabilities notify staff of specific enhanced cleaning and sanitizing tasks they need to complete.
With its consistent tracking and monitoring across the entire restroom environment, smart technology helps ensure the right staff are performing the right tasks at the right time—before a customer finds something in the restroom to complain about.
Find the right supplier
A customer never wants to find themselves in the uncomfortable position of seeing an empty toilet tissue roll too late. The same is true of cleaning staff seeing storage room shelves empty of needed paper and cleaning supplies. But BSCs have influence over both, and it all starts with having the right supply partner.
While there is no service that pairs BSCs with the best supplier match, there are some general questions BSCs can explore to point them in the right direction. What is most important to them in their business—cost control, staff retention, customer retention, sustainability? What are their company values and do those values guide decision making? Are they looking for a partner who has a depth of expertise in a specific industry or perhaps a supplier who is an early adopter of innovation? How important is the supplier’s ability to weather economic and supply chain crises? Do they want consulting and product training support or do they prefer a more transactional supplier arrangement?
Armed with a clear understanding of their priorities and preferences, BSCs are well prepared to look at the vast field of suppliers and identify a handful to vet further. In the end, they may choose one supply partner or they may opt to forge relationships with several. There is no-one-size-fits-all formula; what’s right for one BSC may not be right for another. Regardless, all BSCs can find the best match to help them achieve success and win the war on restroom complaints.