Remember the old adage: “A customer who gets good service will tell one person, yet a customer who gets bad service will tell 10 people?”

Well, thanks to social media, today it would probably read: “A customer who gets good service will post it to Facebook reaching 100 friends. A customer who gets bad service will tweet it to 1,000 followers.”

The point is the same, but with websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and others, word of a dirty facility, smelly restroom or lack of soap and towels spreads like wildfire and reaches a lot more people, faster.
Maybe the best examples of this were the recent problems from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics that poured through Twitter. Pictures of toilet seats installed upside down, missing urinal pipes, brown water and other disasters popped up every day. In reality, these problems were probably happening in a small percentage of facilities. But one bad picture can dampen the whole event. When we look back at the Olympics, hopefully more people remember the gold-medal performances rather than the hashtag #SochiFail.

While attending ISSA/INTERCLEAN last November, I had a conversation with a manufacturer discussing how building service contractors aren’t simply cleaning a building; they are contributing to the overall user experience. Janitors’ efforts each night (or day) are not just to impress their customer, but also the people potentially coming to that building. One negative tweet, bad review or embarrassing photo will cause visitors to go elsewhere. Whether it’s a retail store, church, fast-food restaurant or even a business office, people don’t want to shop, worship, eat or work in a dirty facility. 

Your front-line workers can’t cut corners. When cleaning budgets don’t increase, BSCs need to find ways to work smarter and faster. If a facility gets a bad rap because of cleanliness issues, BSCs will find themselves out of the job — and with a negative review easy to find online. There’s nowhere to hide on the Internet. Just ask Sochi.