Perception is Reality: How Cleanliness Impacts Customer Perceptions of Your Business

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Perception is Reality: How Cleanliness Impacts Customer Perceptions of Your Business
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The value of cleanliness is often hard to perceive. For many of us, “cleaning” is a series of chores we begrudgingly complete out of necessity; for others, it’s an art-form ingrained into the core of our being. No matter who you are, there is one fact that we can say with confidence: people prefer to be clean.
This preference permeates our being and influences everything that we do, every decision we make, and every opinion we form. Being clean is one thing, but feeling clean is another thing entirely.
Have you considered how cleanliness influences your business?

The Universal Appreciation for Cleanliness

The perceived cleanliness of something is a significant contributor to our perception of it. We form opinions of people, products, and places based on not just how clean it appears, but how clean it feels.
We natively associate clean spaces with health, positivity, and vibrance. Depictions of the future often contrast something dirty against something clean; the crime scene in a movie is almost always filthy; poverty is depicted with dirt and grime, whereas wealth and good fortune is projected via clean spaces and smooth, uncluttered design.
Some call it the iPhone effect, though it extends back much further than that.
We are naturally drawn to seek out and appreciate the cleaner, healthier world.

Our Appreciation of Cleanliness Isn’t Opinion – It’s Fact

This study, performed in early 2017, measured the public’s opinion and attitude of a facility based on its perceived cleanliness. In their words:

“This study proves the commonly held belief that taking a proactive approach to restroom cleanliness has a direct bearing on people’s perception about cleanliness in general.”
– John Putters, CEO of Visionstate Inc.

Another study that measured the customer rating of a hotel found that the level of cleanliness was 3x more influential in determining the overall customer rating compared to any other metric.

In a Social World, Small Details Matter

Most business owners today understand the importance of managing a positive reputation on social media. Facebook, and the social revolution it spearheaded, have become a second-nature mode of communication. We experience, we share, and we share in others experiences.
Over 90% of searchers read reviews prior to making a purchasing decision, facilitated by a now instinctive need to share with others how we feel and what we think. Online platforms such as Google+, Facebook, Yelp!, and a laundry-list of others not only make it easy to find reviews, but to leave one of your own as well.

The Cost of Dirt

Understanding the perception and importance of being clean is important to appreciating its value- and cost.
Many people cite cleanliness as the most important factor for consumers when evaluating a restaurant- it’s clear that providing a good dining experience is about more than the quality of food or the service you provide. When your cutlery is dirty or the tablecloth unkempt, how does that influence your meal?
Similarly, more than 50% of gym-goers expect their gym to be free of germs. Nobody wants to sit on someone else’s sweat, and it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that the equipment may be unsanitary when the floors are dirty and the bathrooms are in disarray.
Restaurants and gyms aren’t the only places where dirt is a dirterrant:

  • Would you feel comfortable in a dirty doctor’s office?
  • How well might you sleep on a dirty hotel bed?
  • What comes to mind when you touch sticky door handles at an office?
  • Are you eager to shake someone’s hand after watching them sneeze into it?

A thousand time per day – and maybe even more – you assess how clean something is when forming your opinion of it.

Cleanliness is Taken For Granted, but Don’t That Let You Devalue its Worth

There are many parts of life where the value of your efforts are plainly obvious: the more you invest into your health, the better you feel; the more you invest into a skill, the better you perform; the more you learn, the wiser you become.
Unfortunately, cleanliness is intangible. When done correctly, the best we can hope for is a passing remark about how clean the space or thing is. As cleaning professionals, our job is done best when our clients don’t think about cleanliness at all.
The true measure of success is when a space is simply assumed to be clean. When we notice the grime on the walls, the fingerprints on the glass, or the sticky something on the surfaces we touch, our perceptions sour.
When a space is clean and free from those distractions, we tend not to think about it at all.

Here’s a Handy Checklist

If your business serves customers on-site, you will benefit from by paying attention to the items below. Note that this list is not conclusive.

Keep all Visual Spaces Free of Obvious Grime

  • Ensure tables and chairs are clean
  • Keep surfaces free of clutter
  • Regularly wash windows and mirrors (especially mirrors)

Clean Where You Walk

  • Vacuum floors regularly
  • Mop up footprints and spills often
  • Keep shoe areas uncluttered and organized
  • Take anything off the floor that doesn’t need to be there

Pay Extra Attention to Sanitary Spaces

  • Ensure kitchens and food prep areas are always well-kept
  • Regularly wipe down appliance exteriors
  • Promptly address bad odours, especially if they’re food-borne

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

  • Wipe down doors and door handles
  • Dust baseboards, especially in bathrooms (what else do we look at when sitting on the toilet?)
  • Dust fan blades, both ceiling and freestanding fans
  • Clean cold-air intakes
  • Discard ragged and damaged reading materials (particularly in waiting areas)
  • Clean out the dust and dead bugs that find their way inside ceiling lights

We’d Love to Help

Whether you own a gym or a dental office, you can count on the meticulous cleaning services we provide to keep your space in check. After all, as Alberta’s Cleaner Cleaners, you might say that it’s what we do best.

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