How looking for ‘messy bathrooms’ can help deliver a great customer experience

messy bathroom

Imagine you go to a restaurant and the food and the service is great but then you go to the bathroom and it’s a mess. Does the cleanliness of the bathroom affect your perception of the overall experience? It probably does. Will it also have an impact on your propensity to recommend or return to that restaurant? It probably will.

What that simple example illustrates is that every part of your business is important and can, potentially, have an impact on the customer’s overall experience, their level of loyalty and future advocacy.

But, how many organisations are looking at their businesses in such a holistic way and how many are trying to find and eliminate their own ‘messy bathrooms’?  How many are looking beyond the core activities that they associate with the customer experience to areas like how they bill their customers or their contracts or their terms and conditions or their data and privacy policies or other areas of the business and the impact these areas are having on their customers’ experience?

Take customer billing as an example, particularly in the utilities and telecoms space, as an illustration of the size of the potential issue. Recent research has shown that the majority of customers across a number of countries don’t really understand their bills, would like to have a better understanding of them and would benefit from doing so.

  • Esource found that only 17% of North American residential utility bill payers felt that they had a good understanding of their utility bills. But, that 83% of customers thought that having a better understanding of their bill and their rate structure mattered and was important to them.
  • found that 50% of customers in Ireland found it difficult to check their electricity, gas or broadband bills for accuracy. Moreover, when asked 25% of customers found it hard to find important information on their bill, nearly 30% said that they thought their bills were too complicated and 30% believed their bills contained too much jargon.
  • uSwitch in the UK encountered similar results and they found that, on average, 60% of customers in the UK don’t understand their energy bills.

These findings suggest that billing is just one area that offers room for improvement and one which could have a positive impact on the overall customer experience. However, there will be many others and how firms identify and go about addressing these areas could be the difference between delivering a great, consistent and market-leading experience and failing to do so.

What’s clear is that being able to deliver a great service and a great, overall customer experience is that it is a team sport and there can be no bystanders or bit players. Finance, risk, compliance, legal…..everyone has a role to play and everyone has to play their part.

Firms should start by thinking about identifying and eliminating their own ‘messy bathrooms’.



This post was originally published on my column.
Photo Credit: michal_hadassah via Compfight cc

6 comments On How looking for ‘messy bathrooms’ can help deliver a great customer experience

  • This is why I advocate for journey mapping. The restroom would get called out, as would the invoices. And the janitor and the billing person would have a clear line of sight to how they impact the customer experience. Just because you’re not on the frontline doesn’t mean you don’t impact the experience. And just because something may seem like a “lesser component” of the experience, like the toilet, it’s still a part of it.

    • And yet, whilst so many companies say that they do journey mapping many of the biggest organisations face some massive problems with the effect their bills have on their customers. I wonder what is going on?

  • Truth. Thanks for sharing this out for more people to understand 🙂

  • A slightly tangential point Adrian, but it is fascinating the impact that tripadvisor is having on restaurants. It is a long time since I have been to a bad one.


    • True. But, given the nature of utilities and telecoms I wonder what the equivalent of TripAdvisor would be for those industries.


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