In a society where competition for business is ever-growing and communication between customers is unlimited, organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of consumer opinions and recommendations. Hygiene and cleanliness can often be disregarded and undervalued, but poor cleaning standards can leave businesses fighting for survival in the long term.
The results are in
Recent findings from The Financial Impact of Poor Food Safety Management survey by checkit.net, showed that 61% of consumers would refuse to visit any type of restaurant (including takeaways, coffee shops or pubs) with a low Food Hygiene Rating. Unsurprisingly, this view is not limited to the food industry – cleanliness is prioritised by customers in the retail sector, as well as in public service buildings like schools and hospitals. For example, the UK government Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) Safeguarding in Schools best practice report states that hygiene and cleanliness are given the highest priority status, while 96% of UK care home residents and their families recently voted that care home owners should do more to keep their premises germ free.
The importance of a first impression
Whatever the nature of your organisation, it is clear that cleanliness is a factor which is highly regarded, and that consumers have consistently high expectations. This is even more critical in the age of social media, as information about poor standards of cleanliness and hygiene can reach thousands of potential consumers in seconds.
Do not underestimate the power of a strong first impression. For example, a spotless door or entrance windows will affect a customer’s impression of your premises, even before they have stepped across the threshold. You want your potential customers to feel comfortable and safe, and to create a space that they will want to give positive feedback about and be happy to return to.
Protect your reputation
Organisations need to consider cleanliness as a key determinant of success. If mistakes are made and poor reviews are received, rebuilding customer trust is a lengthy and costly process, and there is no guarantee that the reputation your organisation once held will ever be fully repaired. Organisations need to ensure they are not only meeting, but exceeding the standards required by the appropriate official bodies for their sector or industry. This will protect your reputational stability in the long term, as well as providing an environment which consumers and visitors find welcoming and reliable.