I was about to write a blog about the importance of the little details, like a clean bathroom, and how even those small things need to be consistent with your branding, your Core Values, otherwise they could undermine all the good you do.
I saw a headline and a survey that said 62% of customers think a dirty restroom is a sign of poor management. Odor, dirty or clogged toilets, and bathrooms that looked old were the three most common problems.
Then I read the source... A plumbing supply company. Made me pause for a moment. Made me wonder if there was some sort of bias in the survey. Made me wonder if there was a hidden agenda.
And that, in a nutshell, is why consumers don't trust us. They think we have a hidden agenda. That Hot Toy list that Toys R Us recently published? I watched it get trashed in a blog for being self-serving.
What if the plumbing supply company said... Hey, we're in the bathroom supply business so we did a poll to see what the main complaints were that people had about public bathrooms. Not surprisingly, smell and odor was number one. We also learned some other interesting information about bathrooms. They make a big impression on your customers, both good and bad. Sure, we're telling you because we want your business. More importantly, we're telling you because we want you to stay in business. Without you, there are no public bathrooms for us to update.
Wouldn't seem so self-serving, would it? Just by being up front and honest about being self-serving, they sound less self-serving. Ironic? Yes. People trust an open agenda. They distrust a hidden one.
How can you be up front and honest so that you don't seem to have a hidden agenda? Here is one way we do it. I constantly tell customers that we will help you install your car seat no matter where you bought it. I then tell them up front that I have an ulterior motive for doing it. If the car seat is installed safely, your child is safer. If your child is safer, your child lives longer. If your child lives longer... wait for it... you have to buy more toys.
Always gets a smile (we're here to make you smile, remember?).
Be honest about why you do what you do. Tell your ulterior motives. Tell the downside. It helps build trust instead of destroy it.
PS But please be sure to clean your bathrooms! It does make a difference. In the book Retail Superstars George Whalin talks about the bathrooms as a positive feature in a number of the stores in the book.