It is certainly no understatement to say that your toilet is talking about you behind your back. Regardless of what industry your business may be in, a negative experience in a washroom will certainly get your company talked about, and for all of the wrong reasons.
Luckily, help is at hand, as we have put together an all-encompassing guide for how to set up the perfect commercial washroom, to ensure that your customers, clients, visitors and staff members all have a great experience, every time.
More than just a toilet
There is no way around it: if you have a commercial washroom attached to your company, then it is an extension of your business and people will judge you on it.
While there are certain regulations around whether you need to include toilet facilities within your premises, it is worth remembering that a washroom is so much more than just a toilet.
People will use your facilities for numerous reasons, and when using the space, want to feel safe, clean and provided for, and it is up to you to make sure that your washroom ticks all of those boxes.
If your clientele includes parents, do seriously consider adding baby changing facilities within your washroom, if you don’t already have a stand-alone changing room. In today’s world of social media and review websites, this could be the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and keeps your customers coming back.
Keep it clean & well equipped
It is an undeniable fact that we remember negative experiences more than positive ones, and nowhere is this more true than having to use poorly run public washroom facilities.
Most of the time this comes down to a failure of the most basic housekeeping of a public washroom – setting it up to be easy to clean and regular maintenance to keep it looking, and smelling, fresh.
Washrooms are personal spaces, so they need to feel private and clean at the very least, and even the most accomplished, marvellously run business can be let down by toilet facilities that don’t cover these very basic guidelines.
Odour is one of the most quoted complaints about negative washroom experiences, even in spaces that visually look very clean. You can combat this with a commercial air freshener, which comes in a variety of fragrances, to suit all varieties of businesses and settings.
No one has a good experience in a washroom that has run out of toilet paper or hand soap, and customers will leave feeling unhygienic. Proper hand washing facilities and regular checks that these are stocked up will combat this.
Also, try to ensure that there are ample hand drying facilities, either in the form of hand dryers or paper towels, with a bin nearby to catch the rubbish.
Regular room checks (hourly is a good starting point for most businesses) to clear away any rubbish, mop up spills, restock supplies and empty bins will go a long way in ensuring your washroom stays a clean and inviting place to be throughout the day.
This is especially important during periods of heavy use, such as during the summer season or your busiest hours, when the cleanliness levels can degenerate at a much quicker rate than usual.
Plus, cleaning schedules and regular sanitary bin collections from a service provider you can trust will also help to combat any lingering smells.
Accessories & extras make all the difference
The best way to know what to include in your washroom is to really get into the mind of your customer base: what is it that they will want the most? What can elevate the experience for them and will actually be used? The extra features in a coffee shop washroom will be vastly different to those of a nightclub or bar, for example.
Simple features such as hooks on the back of cubicle doors (to avoid having to put bags or coats on the floor) and providing mirrored spaces to redo makeup or hairstyles can go a long way in creating a good user experience.
Then there are the little extras that make the room feel that bit more special: vending machines for luxury items not just sanitary products (although these should be offered too, no one knows when they are going to be caught short!), hair drying or straightening facilities, seating for washrooms with many cubicles, especially in businesses where customers may want to linger to check their hair, makeup and clothing.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can look at how you can elevate your facilities, to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
Lighting should be good throughout, but with extra consideration for within the cubicles themselves and around the mirrors to aid in ease of use.
If your business relies on word of mouth, tourists, or customers who are more than a little acquainted with social media, you should see your washroom as an opportunity to promote your business and brand. Make your washroom a statement worth sharing. Sketch in London is a fantastic example of a restaurant that is talked about for its unique toilet facilities as much as its menu – one in every three posts on Instagram with the hashtag #sketchlondon features images of the bathroom!
Consider your signage
Signage within a washroom can serve three purposes: to overtly advertise a company or product, to brand and decorate a space, and to help users locate or work the facilities themselves. The best washrooms will make use of all three.
Remember, what you display within your washroom will be a representation of your business, so use the space to tell the best story possible. Here are a few ideas:
- Make use of easy-to-read (but nice-to-look-at) directional signage for locating the hand dryers, cubicles that may be hidden around a corner and the exit. This can also help with congestion during busy periods.
- Use signage to decorate the room in a way that aligns with your brand. On-brand slogans or imagery, hashtags on the mirrors to encourage selfies, even something as simple as fun urinal mats can be a memorable extra that makes the experience a pleasant one for your customer.
- Advertising posters on the back of cubicle doors that your client base may be interested in, or charity adverts that the company helps out with. Equally important can be charity-based awareness campaigns, such as the stickers we display on our sanitary bins for Jo’s Trust – a cervical cancer awareness charity.
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Whatever type of business you run, if you include commercial washroom facilities, you must ensure that they are as clean and inviting as possible. If not, then you run the risk of putting off potential customers, or of people not returning. Don’t let a poorly run or under-equipped commercial washroom let your business down!
Here at VR Sani-Co, we have provided quality washroom services and sanitary solutions to over 3000 local businesses, and that number grows every day. Get in touch today to see how we can help you with your washroom services.