First Impressions Matter: 4 Tips for Putting Your Facility’s Best Face Forward
The first thing customers notice when they visit a company isn’t its state-of-the-art equipment or its best-in-class products. They base their first impression of a business on the state of the building and its grounds. For better or for worse, customers assume how a company’s property looks is a reflection of its management.
Whether you’re a housekeeping manager overseeing a facility or a BSC cleaning clients’ buildings, it’s important to evaluate what impression your space is making on visitors.
1. Start Outside
Picking up garbage in the parking lot and emptying the exterior garbage cans each evening isn’t enough. Check throughout the day; a clean parking lot at 7 a.m. won’t matter to a customer who arrives to a post-lunch trashcan that’s overflowing. Implement a schedule for exterior checks.
Other landscaping and outdoor maintenance items include tending to plants and other landscaping by mowing the grass frequently, trimming hedges, or updating mulch around flower beds. Clean loose gravel or dirt that may have escaped onto the sidewalk. Make sure sprinklers aren’t overspraying onto the sidewalk, parking lot, or street.
Finally, check the glass. Exterior glass doors get a lot of wear during the day, so wash them at least once a day to remove smudges. Seasonal elements can take a toll on windows and eventually dull the light and the view, so clean them twice a month.
2. Safe Entry
Snow, ice, and rain can make entering your building dangerous. In the spring and summer, check drains and downspouts to prevent water from puddling and causing a slip-and-fall hazard. In the winter, keep sidewalks and parking lots free of snow.
Commercial entrance matting is an important—but often overlooked—tool for creating a safe building. Add walk-off matting outside and inside entry doors to scrape off and remove dirt and debris from the bottom of visitors’ shoes and to dry any remaining moisture before they reach the interior floors. Adding just 16 linear feet of matting can contain 75% of the dirt and moisture that would otherwise enter a building (30 feet will trap nearly 100%).
3. Inviting Lobby
Beyond friendly staff and easily marked directions to help orient your guests, your lobby should represent your brand and the level of service you provide. Dirty floors, torn magazines, and a children’s play area with germy toys send a message that you don’t value your customers.
Each day, remove trash from the area, dust mop or vacuum the floors, and spot clean the walls, doors, and other surfaces. At least weekly, more if your lobby gets heavy traffic, vacuum or damp wipe the furniture, vacuum walk-off mats, and buff or burnish polished tile. At least a few times a year, you should also clean the baseboards, vacuum the vents and ducts, strip and recoat the resilient floors, and extract the carpets.
4. Restroom Care
Perhaps the most important area of a facility is one that’s always kept behind closed doors—the restroom. About half of all building complaints have to do with the restrooms, and a lack of cleanliness is the most common gripe. If restrooms are dirty, people will notice, and they’ll never forget.
The key to cleanliness is proactive and regular maintenance throughout the day. Create a cleaning checklist and add the tasks to your cleaning crew’s daily schedule.
- Toilets all in working order and free from messes and toilet paper
- Floors clear from debris and dry to prevent slipping
- Soap, paper towel, and toilet paper dispensers full and working
- Mirrors free from water spots and smudges
- Trashcans are empty
- Changing tables or pads wiped down and stowed properly
- Bathroom stalls and door handles cleaned
- Sinks wiped out and drains clear of clogs
- Unpleasant odors masked or freshened
When cleaning your bathroom and lobby areas, use tools that do more than just move the dirt and grime around. Having proper cleaning cloths, brooms, mops, and vacuums will save your employees time and effort as well as truly get things clean.
A poorly maintained business translates into fewer customers and, potentially, lawsuits from accidents. Everyone who visits your facility will quickly generate a positive or negative first impression, so make sure your business shines.
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