“If You’ve Got Time to Lean, You’ve Got Time to Clean”

My previous article yesterday addressed whether or not the people of China would trash Disney’s newest park in Shanghai. I also discussed an experience of being at my gym and seeing it trashed. When I left that gym, I found sales people sitting around doing nothing. Yet, they could have spent just a few minutes picking up around them. It would have made it so much easier to show off the gym to potential patrons, and obtain new members.

“If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” was the motto of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, who built an empire based on re-establishing a consistent setting and product on which customers could rely. Simply said, cleanliness was so important that every spare (non-customer serving) moment should be invested in keeping the restaurant clean.

Even this clown should be helping to keep things clean. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Even this clown should be helping to keep things clean. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

For years, a leading car rental company followed a rigorous effort to maintain clean cars for its customers. Keeping the car clean for the next driver was an obvious requirement. However, there was an unexplained discrepancy between the excellent condition of the very clean car and the less-than-excellent perception of their customers. To solve this puzzle, the company began a detailed analysis. It discovered that its customers’ overall perception of the car’s cleanliness was influenced by the questionable cleanliness of its check-in counters–the customer’s first impression. When the company began to improve its check-in counter’s appearance, the customer’s perception of cleanliness went up dramatically for the entire car rental experience. That simple adjustment improved not only cleanliness scores but also satisfaction levels and led to a positive shift in loyalty and repeat business.

Every guest moment plays a significant role in the perception of value for the customer’s investment of time, effort, and money. Leveraging the guest setting to add value to your customers’ experiences will serve as a very valuable tool in building your very own world-class brand.

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