New Year, New Priorities
Just off the Interstate 94 in Lake Mills, WI is a gas station and convenience store. Upon entry to that convenience store one is hit immediately by the sparkle and shine of the floors, chrome, shelving, and counter tops. The food products for sale are organized in neat and tidy rows. After passing through this impressive scene, the restrooms await. There is a general wall opening--no doors--and an option to go left for the men's room and right for the ladies. Immediately upon making the turn, the patron is confronted by a table with an arrangement of flowers. The bathroom? You guessed it. Immaculate.
The moral of this story is not so obvious. Yes, this store keeps the place really clean...but there are probably hundreds of establishments with similar sparkle all over the U.S. What is remarkable is that this gas station and others like it understand that cleanliness is more than a maintenance obligation and a health issue. It is a marketing tool. Many stores are really nice but have sub-par bathrooms (or worse). Do you have an appetite for that "2 Hot Dogs for $2" offer and a pack of Hostess Cupcakes after leaving a disgusting toilet and sink? Probably not. But are you going to make sure to stop off at a place next time because they took extra measures to see that your experience was a superior one? More often than not. With so many buying choices and so many impulse decisions awaiting us each day, whether or not extra money will be spent and loyalty established is truly uncertain. We need to take extra measures to see that our places of business reflect the competitive edge we'd like to think we offer our customers.
I don't need flowers. But I do like to do business with those who are obviously trying to back up their messages with extra care and consistency. I think you do, too. So, go ahead and make sure that your place looks and smells great. It makes an enormous difference.