August 3, 2019
One of my few childhood memories in a mechanic shop was actually in a quick drive-thru lube service in Milwaukee. I was probably 7 years old, and my mother needed an oil change on our 1995 Chevy Express van.
We drove in and sat in line until it was our turn. By the time they were ready to change our oil, my sisters and I, of course, had to use the bathroom. It was this bathroom that left such an impression that I still remember it to this day.
It was filthy; it reeked of urine. Toilet paper was strewn everywhere. This was easily the most filthy bathroom I had ever been in. To this day, I have never taken my car to a quick lube, even long before I knew better. Several folks I’ve spoken with have similar horrible memories about mechanic shop bathrooms.
Now, of course, I’m sure that your bathroom is not nearly as bad, but think back: when was the last time it was thoroughly cleaned? What is it stocked with? What amenities do you provide to your customers?
Think about the impression you want to give your customers (and their kids!). Do you want them to leave impressed and have them telling everyone about your shop? Or do you prefer they just shrug their shoulders, or worse, tell everyone to avoid the place because they or their kids felt uncomfortable just using the bathroom?
Updating or even just maintaining all your waiting rooms and bathrooms will show the customer that you are focused on them, what they need to feel comfortable, and that you want to earn their business. Waiting rooms, bathrooms, and amenities have the power to impress and leave a long lasting positive impression on your customers.
Create a cleaning schedule for your bathrooms and waiting rooms, and make a checklist you and your employees can follow. Sinks and toilets should be wiped down with disinfectant, floors should be clean of debris and mopped. If you’re not used to cleaning bathrooms, don’t be afraid to Google how to clean a toilet or how to mop.
Consider putting a coffee pot in your waiting room, especially for the cold winter months. Lots of comfortable waiting rooms also have a cold water dispenser.
When purchasing furniture for your waiting room, consider the comfort level of your chairs. Buy chairs without armrests to make them more accessible for larger customers and customers with disabilities. For customers there for short services, a television and newspapers or magazines are always nice touches. Try to keep literature relatively up-to-date. A good combination of sports and fashion sprinkled in with some cooking magazines makes it easy to ensure that there’s something for everyone.
Wi-Fi is becoming a standard amenity, too. Have the password and name of the network posted where it could be clearly seen. This will prevent customers from coming up and asking you for the password all the time.
Go the extra mile to take care of your customers and make them comfortable. Keep some pads and tampons in the bathroom for your customers, and trust me, they will remember you. It’s the thoughtfulness that really counts.
Author: Chaya Milchtein