When the back-end is as important as the front

I can remember walking into a restroom many years ago and seeing my entrepreneurial boss bendingGarbage
down to pick up paper towels. He not only scooped them up, but also used them to mop up the sink and clean the mirrors. I was stunned.

He spotted me staring at him and sniffed, “Clients and prospects use this men’s room. If they think we don’t care about little details like this, they’ll think we won’t care about the little details of their business either.” I laughed at the time, but I’m not laughing now. Especially when I see the condition of some men’s rooms, ours included.

My boss was a successful businessman whose firm was eventually acquired after a 25-year run. What separated him from most was an understanding that an organization’s image and reputation is impacted by every aspect of the ‘customer’ experience. As a result, he not only fussed over client service, but also the maintenance of everything from the front-end reception area to the, well, back-end restroom. And, he never became too busy or too successful to pay attention to the details.

I’d like to think I’m somewhat the same way. That’s why, if you timed it right, you’d see me picking up newspapers, paper towels and other flotsam and jetsam in the Peppercom restroom. It all matters in the image and reputation wars.

3 thoughts on “When the back-end is as important as the front

  1. What a spot-on post, Repman. Recently at my company a colleague found a note left in our men’s room. It was a scatalogical poem called “Ode to a Turd” written by an anonymous employee. My colleague removed and took it to our HR department because the restroom in question is often used by clients. Would have been really nice if a client or prospect had found that instead–would have left a really nice impression…With regard to such unprofessional behavior, the president and owner of a former employer of mine summed it up best when he said, “Some of these people actually expect to get a paycheck…”

  2. Good post–and I couldn’t agree more. It’s also really important to make sure all of an agency’s customer-facing employees pay as much attention to detail as senior management. For example, accounting should make sure to properly spell a client’s name when contacting her about a missed invoice. To me, that’s even more important than the state of the agency’s bathroom toward maintaining a good reputation.