In business, perception is reality. You want your customers to walk away with an amazing experience, and this always includes the washroom – after all, it’s often the first or the last place a customer goes to when they visit your business. The catch is, if your washrooms don’t come up to scratch, your customer may go elsewhere next time.
A public washroom reveals a lot about the establishment or business it belongs to – including its standards, cleanliness and overall brand image. This has never been more important since the covid-19 pandemic as shared public facilities are under the spotlight due to a heightened risk of infection transmission. If customers can’t trust that your washroom follows enhanced hygiene precautions to protect their health, no amount of great customer service can change their perception of your business.
And it’s not just about your customers. The conditions of employee washrooms are an indication of how committed the company is to looking after staff health and wellbeing. When businesses invest in employee welfare, productivity increases. Furthermore, in washrooms that are less than spotless clean, common bacteria can survive and spread with ease, causing illness to spread. A hygienic staff washroom reduces risk of passing germs among employees and downtime attributed to sickness.
Citron Hygiene partnered with OnePoll to perform a washroom experience survey of 2,000 adults and found that 34% of respondents weren’t happy with the washroom facilities in their area. Based on the study results, we have compiled insights on how to provide a winning public washroom experience.
What Do People Expect When Using a Public Washroom?
Number of Washrooms
Despite 71% of people saying they are satisfied with the number of restrooms available and 81% being happy with the accessibility of the facilities, many people are still concerned that easily accessible public washrooms are disappearing from their cities and towns. In addition to this, legislation in Canada states that workplaces must have an adequate number of available washrooms based on the number of employees.
Finding an away from home washroom in an emergency is imperative for people living with a disability or a medical condition. However, not only do these people want to see more public washrooms, they also want them to be more accessible and inclusive. This means providing inclusive places that cater to all needs, whether it’s a person with a health condition, a disability, or someone who identifies as transgender or non-binary. Think about providing waste disposal bins for incontinence waste or menstrual waste in all washrooms, or ensuring adequate facilities are provided for parents and caregivers.
Investing time and money in maintaining your washroom to the highest standards is necessary to maintain your brand image and present the best possible impression to patrons and employees.
Our research shows that as many as 30% of adults aren’t happy with cleanliness standards of the public restrooms in their area so ensuring your business has a cleaning and maintenance schedule is vital to improve the washroom experience and promote positive word of mouth.
When it comes to washrooms, strong odors are a hygiene faux pas. As you might imagine, the association between poor scent and a negative experience in the washroom has been heavily studied. The findings are clear: consumers undeniably equate bad smells with unclean facilities. That’s why air care is one aspect that is so important for a positive washroom experience.
Eco-friendly air fresheners designed to neutralize washroom odors reassure people that the washroom is clean, and create a pleasant environment for them to be in. Other ways to deal with bad smells include providing proper ventilation, treating your toilets and urinals to prevent scale build-up and regularly cleaning the public washroom facilities.
Using air care products can help mitigate any unwanted odors in your washroom, but did you realize that air care can also add emotional value to a space? Just like how having a nice scent in your home can help create a positive mood, so can having a pleasant scent in your public washroom. Research has shown that an inviting fragrance can entice shoppers to spend more money. In any case, good air quality leads to positive associations and more favorable impressions of public spaces.
Marking public washrooms is crucial to ensure a positive user experience for all. If people can’t find the washroom easily, they’ll spend time looking for it, which can be frustrating and even cause them to feel like your business isn’t well-run. Worse still, they might end up avoiding using the washroom altogether.
To avoid this situation, you should make sure that your signs are easily seen from a distance, clearly state what they are directing people to, and are placed where it makes sense (in the case of public washrooms, near the entrance.) If the washroom has an unusual corridor or entranceway, consider placing additional signs along the way so that people don’t get lost or confused. Lastly, don’t forget to make the signage accessible, for instance, ensuring that signs are also displayed in Braille to accommodate users with visual impairments.
You should also have general information signs for public washroom users such as hand washing instructions to remind users how to follow excellent hygiene practices. Hygiene posters are a great and inexpensive way to maintain a positive impression of your business and educate your patrons and staff.
Superior Hand Washing Facilities
Covid-19 has reminded us all how important it is to wash our hands. Even as the economy continues to reopen and more people visit public spaces, people are understandably anxious about sharing public washrooms with potentially hundreds of strangers. So it’s not surprising that 37% of survey respondents who used a café or fast-food restaurant’s public toilets said they used these facilities because they offered better handwashing stations.
Good hand hygiene facilities should include touch-free technology for auto-faucets, closed cartridge soap dispensers and automatic hand dryers. These help us ensure that everyone can use the washroom comfortably without having to interact with commonly touched surfaces.
It can be disgusting to learn that up to 50% of the population does not wash their hands after using the bathroom. But maybe we should be asking why they don’t wash their hands. If it’s because they worry about cross-contaminating their hands while closing taps or disposing of paper towel waste in bins, this can easily be avoided with touch-free washroom technology.
Optimal Washroom Design
People want public washrooms to be designed with cleanliness and privacy top-of-mind. For example:
Layout: Optimal washroom design includes a one-way system that guides people through the space and avoids bottlenecks. Urinals should be located at the back, so users don’t have to pass behind others to access the cubicles or sinks. It’s also very important to place hand dryers or paper towel dispensers near hand washing stations, so people don’t have to walk with wet hands from one side of the washroom to another as this creates a poor user experience and even increases the risk of accidents.
- Location: Locating public washrooms in a more visible area can help reduce vandalism and make people feel safe when using the washroom.
- Acoustics: A lot of people feel self-conscious about sounds they make in the washroom. To create a sense of privacy, you can use full-height cubicle systems that eliminate noise. Music in the background can also help users relax, creating a more comfortable environment.
- Extra touches for convenience: washroom space is often limited and small cubicles can be a problem in some instances, such as in shopping centers or gyms, where users carry bulky bags and other belongings. Consider adding coat hooks or wall-mounted fittings to increase space.
Citron Hygiene Can Help Enhance Your Business’ Washrooms
Every business deserves a clean and welcoming, well-stocked washroom, and at Citron Hygiene, we can help to make that happen. Our complete washroom hygiene services will keep your facilities ultra-clean and hygienic for all your staff and customers, with flexible servicing to meet the demands of your business. To learn more about our services, talk to our team today.