More than a decade ago, the University of Notre Dame won the America's Best Restroom Award. What happened thereafter, according to Alan Bigger, who, at the time, was then the school’s director of building services, was “amazing.”
"Reporters showed up at the school's doorsteps; an announcement was made on the nightly news; and tourists came [to the school] just to see the restrooms," Bigger added.
Bigger also realized that achieving this award was a team effort, and by "team," he means more than just the dedicated cleaning staff working for the university, but also the distributors that supply the school with the tools, cleaning solutions, and equipment necessary to keep those restrooms clean.
"This fact affords the savvy distributor an incredible opportunity to reach new customers and keep current ones," says Michael Wilson, Vice President of Marketing for AFFLINK, a sales and marketing organization for the professional cleaning and related industries.
To take advantage of this opportunity, both Bigger and Wilson offer the following tips for distributors:
Be a problem solver. Today's facility managers are being asked to do more with less. Distributors must visit with their customers regularly, hear firsthand of their needs and challenges, and then come up with viable solutions.
Provide access to data. While the Internet provides tons of information on products, the result for purchasers is often confusion, not more insight. Today's distributor must be able to help their customers choose from hundreds of restroom-cleaning solutions and products. Wilson says that luckily, online systems now allow distributors to compare scores of products so the customer can make thought-based product selections.
Provide training. According to Bigger, many of the problems with restroom cleaning are the result of improper cleaning procedures and processes. "By providing training on how to 'clean for success,'" as Bigger called it, "the proactive distributor can endear himself/herself to the customer."
Finally, Bigger and Wilson both agree that end-customers are looking for someone they can turn to and rely on for the long haul.

"This is a team effort. Facility managers want to keep everyone...on the team as long as possible, including distributors," said Bigger.