Today’s consumers prefer to stay away from dirty places. Literally.
In a new study by Harris Poll for Cintas Corporation, results show that 85 percent of consumers in the US will not visit or patronize a business location with negative reviews about its cleanliness.
As one might expect, the business categories where cleanliness comments count the most are restaurants (75 percent) and hotels (70 percent). Of course: no one wants to eat in a place whose kitchen (or chef) grosses people out – thanks, Yelp restaurant inspection scores! – or sleep in a stinky hotel room with a grimy TV remote and a bathroom sink clogged with hairs.
Apparently, negative online reviews about cleanliness also affect the brand reputation of doctors’ offices, hospitals, and hair or nail salons.
“This study shows that if your business is dirty and someone mentions that in an online review, it will have a negative impact on your bottom line,” says Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing for Cintas. “Patrons put a premium on the cleanliness of a business.”
“To stay competitive, organizations should put cleaning strategies in place to maintain their facilities at peak cleanliness levels no matter the time of day. This will help improve the opportunity for a positive guest experience – and online review.”
Clean up your brand reputation on online review sites
The Harris Poll study also suggests that women are more likely to stay away from local businesses with “dirty” reviews. As much as 81 percent of female respondents say they will not visit a restaurant with cleanliness issues, whereas only 70 percent of men say the same.
Consumers with children in the household are also less likely than those without children to visit places with negative online reviews about cleanliness of facilities.
Regardless of customers’ gender or kind of household, business owners should take the results of the study as a call to clean up not only their facilities – but also their online brand reputation.
According to supporting research, as much as 90 percent of consumers today rely on reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 4 in 5 will reverse a purchase decision after reading negative reviews.
You certainly don’t want the word “dirty” to appear on your Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor profile. And while it’s not a surprise that cleanliness positively affects consumers’ buying habits, it’s important to note that the ability to manage online reviews, respond to feedback, and build a positive reputation on online review sites is also extremely crucial.
For tips, check out: 9 Awesome Online Reputation Management Tips for Your Business.