Cleanliness is Next To Profit-ness

Posted on by in Business, Customer Service, Design, Remarkability

When you sit down at a restaurant and notice garbage on the floor, what do you think?  Is your first thought, "Wow, what a great place.  We definitely made a great choice!" Or is it, "Can you believe that?  I guess we won’t be coming back here again."?

Well, chances are, if you’re like my wife and myself you’d make the second choice—which is exactly how the two of us felt yesterday when we had lunch at the Corner Bakery near the church we attend. If we hadn’t already ordered our food, we would have left.  But we were hungry and didn’t feel like getting back in the car and driving someplace else.  Yet, we were both very clear, we will never eat there again.

Basically, it was just plain dirty.  Lettuce and napkins and crumbs and fries (Oh My!) were on the floor. And it wasn’t because they didn’t have enough workers in the place.  Nor was it because they were overly busy.  It was that the employees (and managers) didn’t care enough—which is too bad for them because my wife and I like to eat out after church on Sundays (which means they could have made a lot of money off of us but won’t because they didn’t keep the place clean). Even worse, I’m blogging about how dirty the Corner Bakery was.

Now, lest you think this is just a profit issue for restaurants, I was meeting with the executive team of a local health and fitness club today, Philbin’s Family Fitness and Athletic Training Center.  In the middle of our discussions I made the following statement.  "If I were to give you a quick read on what I think customers would like out of a health club, it would be 1. Results, 2. Cleanliness, 3. Exceptional Service and 4. Fun/Enthusiastic staff." To which the President, John Philbin (a former Olympic bobsledding coach and assistant strength coach for the Washington Redskins) said,

"Actually, having run several health clubs now, I would say that cleanliness is number one.  Members want a clean club.  And if it’s not clean, they won’t show up to get results."

There you have it. If a health club isn’t clean, then people won’t show up (translated, they won’t even sign up).  In other words, whenever you or I happen to be involved in a business where clients/customers come on the premises (whether retail or professional or educational or medical or . . . ), cleanliness matters.

But, this cleanliness principle gets even better.  When a company goes out of its way to make sure it’s spotless, people notice.  In fact, this morning, one of the employees at Philbin’s came back from a visit to a friend’s health club in Ocean City, MD and said to John Philbin with great exuberance, "John, you should have seen this club. It was so CLEAN.  I mean, you could have eaten off of the floor it was so clean." This employee had just experienced something remarkable—and couldn’t wait to tell someone about it—which is what REMARKABLE is all about (he remarked to another person about his experience).

So as you evaluate your business or organization, how are you doing on the cleanliness scale?  Are you remarkable (in a positive way) about it or not?  Or, when was the last time someone remarked to you about the cleanliness of your business or organization? I hope it hasn’t been too long because at the end of the day, cleanliness is next to profit-ness!

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