Retain Customers by Avoiding the 10 Deadly Sins

Customer Experience Brand & Image

By adopting proper cleaning solutions, you’re more likely to retain customers.

Priority number one for all businesses should be to retain customers. Building a loyal customer base and then seeking to expand it over time is a strong pathway to retail success. On the other hand, turning customers off is a nightmare for your business.

With growing competition all around you — be it from online retailers or a new competitor down the block — customers always have the choice to take their business elsewhere. When you make mistakes, you risk them switching to competitors.

Retain Customers With Great Facilities

What will repel customers from visiting your retail site? According to Business Wire, a Harris Poll survey demonstrated that 93 percent of respondents would avoid a store with facility flaws, such as dirty restrooms or poor lighting. That’s 1,860 missed opportunities out of 2,000 customers.

“Today’s consumer has an almost unlimited choice when deciding where to shop, whether it’s another store across the street or online,” said John Engel, Director of Facility Services at Cintas. “With this type of competition, retailers need to understand why their customers return, and more importantly, why they don’t. It’s imperative for retailers to ensure that their employees and brick-and-mortar stores are ready to tackle store-related issues to keep customers returning.”

Gender can also play a role in these retention-killing facility issues. For example, if most of your customers are women and your facilities are sub-standard, you may face an even greater retention problem. According to the survey, women are more likely to never come back to your store because of bad dressing room conditions (65 percent of women surveyed would never return) than men (47 percent of men would never return). Getting your house in order can be a key driver of business success.

As reported in the Harris Poll survey, there are certain facilities flaws that could kill repeat business and cause your customer base to evaporate. If you want to retain customers and grow your business, avoid the following 10 deadly sins.

10 Deadliest Sins for Retail Facilities

1. Bad Odor: 78 percent of customers surveyed said that they would not return to a facility with a foul smell.

2. Dirty Restrooms: Sticky floors, dirty stalls and mirrors, and a bad smell prompted 66 percent of respondents to report they would not return.

3. Dusty Surfaces: Dirt on displays and dust bunnies on floors would keep 65 percent from returning.

4. Untidy Entryway: If there are cigarette butts, overflowing trash cans or an otherwise unkempt appearance, 60 percent of customers surveyed said they would not return.

5. Poor Dressing Room Conditions: 56 percent of customers surveyed would not return to a clothing store with dirty mirrors and floors, broken locks or lighting issues in the fitting rooms.

6. Broken Glass: Cracked or broken glass in a facility may persuade 53 percent of customers to not return to a facility.

7. Plumbing Problems: 52 percent of customers surveyed would not return to a facility without working toilets and/or sinks.

8. Slippery Floors: If you have wet or otherwise slippery floors, you may deter 52 percent of customers from returning to your facility.

9. Excessive Noise: Customers enjoy the quiet — loud music, loud employees or phones ringing would dissuade 43 percent of respondents from returning to a facility.

10. Poor Lighting: Even lighting can affect customer retention. If you have light fixtures that aren’t working properly in your facility, 40 percent of customers surveyed would not return.

Prevention: Simple Cleaning Solutions

To retain your customers, you should keep your retail site clean and ready for business. Setting up a schedule to rotate who cleans is a fair way of distributing cleaning tasks among your employees. Be sure to keep your storefront tidy, sanitize surfaces and remove any dirt, dust and other contaminants that may build-up over time. Vacuum carpets and mop floors. Take care to dry any fixtures that you clean with water. Read up on proper restroom cleanliness techniques and train your employees on it as well. You can also hire a restroom cleaning service that will come to your facility on a regular basis and take care of the heavy lifting of cleaning, making daily maintenance much easier.

According to Building Services Management magazine, implementing a clean zone program can also help you make sure that your facility is cleaned properly. It can help you identify the right cleaning chemicals, tools and process for each space in your facility, making it easy for employees to follow specific cleaning schedules and instructions. Started in hospitals, zone cleaning allows for limited cross-contamination while cleaning facilities. By adopting proper cleaning solutions, your customers are more likely to return instead of being turned off by the 10 deadly sins listed above.

Chuck Leddy
Chuck Leddy

Chuck Leddy is a versatile, fast-learning communications professional with a proven track record as a digital content marketer. Writing for clients like GE, ADP, the National Center for the Middle Market, smartShift (computing), Office Depot, and more, he's published hundreds of articles, features, profiles, and interviews.