Yesterday evening I was hanging out at the local coffee house participating in a send off of an artist who has been creating murals for a public art project in the city for over 20 years now.
I got to talking to the owner of the coffee house about his management philosophy. Which, when it comes to employees, can be pretty much summarized as, cultivate the good workers and cut loose the deadwood.
He pays his employees a decent wage and involves them in as many aspects of the business as they are comfortable or interested. For example, when considering any potential new menu items, everyone participates in the preparation and pricing to make sure it makes sense in terms of the time and resources it requires.
Sometimes I don’t agree with his choices, but he always good at explaining his rationale to customers. I was on hand when a woman suggested they have loyalty punch cards like other coffee houses and he laid out the alternative approach he had chosen that provides value to the customer.
As closing time approached, the gathering adjourned to the patio so the employees could go home. I made a trip to the restroom and was confronted by this sign.
When I mentioned the sign to the owner, he said it was there more for the employees than the customers. It communicated the standard of cleanliness they were expected to maintain because god help them if he got a call.
I thought it was pretty damn audacious. It doesn’t just say contact the manager if the restroom isn’t clean. It tells the customer they DESERVE a clean restroom and promises they will get it.
Question to ask yourself: Does your organization operate at a level that you can promises this standard of service?
This isn’t a literal promise about clean restrooms, it has figurative implications about the service you should expect to receive during every interaction while you are on the premises. It plays into the adage about being able to judge the cleanliness of the kitchen from the state of the restrooms, but goes beyond that.
Even with only a handful of customer contact points, it takes a lot of effort and attention to achieve this standard. If you really sit down and make a list, there are more contact points with customers than you think.
Can you tell your customers, figurative clean restrooms are hard to find, but they deserve them, and then deliver on that promise? It is pretty daunting.