Desperately Seeking Service

It’s a hazard of being a Customer Experience specialist that my iPhone camera roll is full of pictures of signage, litter bins, shop and cafe counters and…er, loos.

Loos, ladies and gentlemen – the one facility we all have to use, several times a day, and of course that includes whilst we are out and about. So no wonder then, that public loos – especially those in civilised places such as shops, restaurants, visitor attractions and so on – are uniformly attractive, often cleverly designed (i.e. on-brand), and ALWAYS scrupulously clean.

(No wait…I must be thinking of a dream I had last night. Another hazard of being a Customer Experience specialist is to dream of signage, litter bins and…er loos.)

En route to the loo in my local bookstore this week, I came upon a sign that made me smile. “Oxford still remains the most beautiful thing in England,” it said (quoting Oscar Wilde), “and nowhere else are life and art so exquisitely blended, so perfectly made one.” Still experiencing the warm glow engendered by those sentiments, I walked into the gents’.

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Suffice it to say, ladies and gentlemen, that the facility provided by that bookshop did not blend life and art, exquisitely or otherwise. No, it was grubby, grotty and smelly – which I happen to know is its normal state.

Was I the only person to notice the unintended irony of placing that quotation, prominently, on the way to such a grim experience?

Attention to detail, people!

On one of the most memorable days out ever, spent with Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, then chatelaine of Chatsworth, my abiding memory is of Her Grace taking me into the gents’ loos adjacent to the Carriage House Restaurant, so that I could admire the hand-painted Minton wall tiles, above the gleaming chrome and porcelain. “It’s attention to detail,” she told me firmly, “the loos are the first thing people see, and probably the last as well. They must be done as well as everything else here.”

In the near future I shall share my checklist of WC do’s and don’ts. For now, suffice it to say that there are literally thousands of Customer-facing businesses out there whose brands are being damaged and diluted (pun intended) by their lack of attention to the “loo experience”. As a Glasgow hotelier friend of mine frequently used to say: “Have I got magic eyes? Am I the only one to see this?”

To end on a POSITIVE note: I was recently delighted by a visit to the loo in the Natural Kitchen  at Waterloo Station. Every little detail – from the quirky male and female figures on the doors, to the spotless facilities within – said: “We care”. And guess what? I’ll be back – to spend money in the restaurant, not just to use the loo! And I’ll recommend the Natural Kitchen to my friends (as I am doing now).

If you would like a fresh perspective on your Customer Experience do get in touch. After all, I’ve got magic eyes!!


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