This is For Customers ONLY

Customers only

How many times have you needed to use the bathroom, entered a place of business and were told, “No, this is for customers only?” It has probably happened to all of us. That policy isn’t good for business or people.

Last weekend I was with my granddaughter in Great Barrington, MA, enjoying a perfect Saturday morning in the park.  We were listening to David Grover, a fixture in the area.  Every week he performs; the free concert is enjoyed by both children and adults. David sings his songs for fun, to delight his audience, and to teach everyone about the important things in life: holidays with family, preserving our planet, and respecting each other.

Most parks don’t have restrooms, and this one didn’t.  When nature calls, you have to answer. I walked to the nearest restaurant, which was a Subway. The store was empty and there was a sign on the restroom door, “Customers Only.” I looked at it and asked the gentleman behind the counter if I could use the bathroom and his answer, “No, it’s for customers only. Great Barrington is a tourist town.” Just what the customer experience expert didn’t want to hear.  Of course, my first response to myself was, “I will never go back into this Subway again.”  Lucky for me, another restaurant, Fuel, was open a few doors away. It was completely filled with customers and when I asked a waitress where the bathrooms were, she pointed with a smile to the two in the back, off to the side.

Businesses are struggling to survive.  Even with the best customer loyalty strategies in place, customers move, change their minds, or find another place to spend their dollars. With such a large portion of marketing budgets on customer acquisition, opening restrooms to non-customers is an excellent way to welcome both new and existing customers. It shows everyone that your business treats all customers as people first, customers, second.  And, it is a low cost item on the balance sheet.

David Grover’s songs are all about showing respect for people. Perhaps the owner or manager of the Subway in Great Barrington should close the shop for an hour (no one was in there anyway) and listen to David’s message. Restricting restrooms only to paying customers is not respectful, not welcoming and not good for business.

What do you think?

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