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C-Store Bathroom Cleanliness – Just the Facts

Does it matter much?

C-Store bathroom cleanliness is talked about a lot. The opinions vary on how much difference it makes. Some argue it makes no difference at all (really?), some argue it can hurt you but not help you, and others believe it is the single most important issue for customer experience and loyalty.

It’s part of your culture

There seems to be little change on this issue in many C-Stores. It’s either a point of focus or a job that is managed to some acceptable level. There is very little direct correlation to specific value for a clean bathroom. But there are a lot of facts available. When allocating effort to this job, it may be worthwhile to make sure your effort matches your belief. Otherwise, the staff will probably figure out quickly how much you really care.

C-Store Bathroom Cleanliness Facts

  1. Sit or Squat tracks 100,000 public restroom cleanliness scores
  2. Two-thirds of Americans refuse to patronize business establishments with dirty restrooms – Clorox survey
  3. 85% of women state they refuse to sit directly on public bathroom seats
  4. Nearly three in four American drivers (72%) say that they stop to use the bathroom when driving on a vacation – C-Store Decisions, May, 2016

For related information, please read Clean Bathrooms – Do They Really Impact C-Store Performance?

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Making C-Store Changes – Does It Have to Be So Hard?

Does It Have to Be So Hard?

Making C-Store change keeps operators busy working to grow and improve their business. They understand growth is critical and the same old things are not enough. The unspoken issue, however, is that change generates a lot of resistance and the normal day is already busy. The idea of tackling change can sometimes feel overwhelming. The idea of getting new ideas into action can just seem too hard.

Many will consider making c-store change if it does not require staff to do anything new. They seek the silver bullet of change that occurs regardless of the work from staff. Some will analyze other operations that work well. Some companies can make it look like staff perform the same tasks the same way every day without any changes. That is, they have it figured out. If you already have a c-store operation that is performing very well and there is a functioning system to keep it that way, then in theory no changes are needed. We have visited companies that seem to do everything right. They have a great brand, they make big profits, they increase sales, customer satisfaction is maxed out and employees fight hard to get a job.

Making C-Store Change Can Look Easy for Some

We know great companies when we shop there. They are polished and appear fortunate to have the time and money to make it happen. Their staff simply do their work without a lot of stress and earn big rewards. These types of companies must be eager to keep things stable and on the good path.

Facing Change – The Inverse Rule of Change Resistance

An interesting point, however, is that the many successful companies keep pushing their company, systems, and staff to change – and grow. While they do it well and appear to make it look easy, the best companies often have a new goal and plan for improvement. That is, those that appear to need to make changes the least are often the ones that seek change the most. Perhaps that is the basis for the adage ‘grow or die’. Growth mandates change. So those growing may just consider it a necessary part of normal business. Perhaps change is understood and managed just like the rest of the business.

For those that want to do better, but do not feel fully equipped to make it happen, face a tough decision. They know that changes are needed, but worry about making things worse. One big challenge is how to change and avoid creating a new problem due to team morale.

A First Step Toward Change

That is the real issue for many of us – the desire to improve, but worry that making changes may make things worse due to employee resistance. Once the change decision is made, then managing the amount of change becomes a key to success. According to Kevin Ready, Motivational Drivers are the fuel behind what team members do and why they do it. Managing the amount and pace of change is critical. Avoid having managers focus on only their own or even the company needs but consider the teams need for stability. Change creates resistance based on the desire for stability. The real, albeit temporary, loss of stability is the source of resistance. Getting the team involved in the process can help to reduce the fixation on stability and thus the resulting resistance. Addressing impact on stability with buy-in is one way to reduce the resistance to change.

The first step is to decide to change. What if, instead of starting with fixing the problem, you simply try to get some buy-in to the goal of change AND to the things that matter the most? What if the change becomes driven from those that must make the changes, with their consent and support? Making one successful step may increase the desire for the next change. With a great attitude and a little teamwork who knows – the fear of not changing may be greater than the fear of making changes to get better.

Employees who have input on changes are then more likely to buy-in to them. When they see the natural consequences of staying the same, they may start to own the need to make a change. With bottom-up changes, attitudes and performance improve and, with them, so do results. Start early and get input so you can get busy making c-store changes.

For more information on related materials read about C-Store Accountability – Do You Have to Be So Mean?

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C-Store Accountability – Do You Have to be So Mean?

C-Store Accountability – Do You Have to be So Mean?

C-Store managers often discuss accountability when stores are not performing well. Perhaps even more often when money or inventory goes missing. It is easy to become frustrated when employees do not perform as desired. When supervisors get frustrated or angry they may even think the employees have a bad work ethic or are not trustworthy.

For many of us, it can be stressful to have to address problems dealing with people. The problems typically involve bad sales or scorecard results, which means they are impacting profits or customer service. These bad results also create stress because others may be impacted and a supervisor or manager is held responsible.

Fixing mistakes by people requires a lot of time and communication. It can feel like it takes too long and requires too many repetitive instructions. When things are really bad, it can feel like staff are becoming belligerent and intentionally acting against their company. In the worst case, it may seem like fixing the problem is making it worse. Unfortunately, if bad results don’t get better, managers may decide it’s better to ignore them. In this situation managers may be told they lack accountability.

C-Store Accountability – When it gets mean

If behavior is not addressed it will likely get worse until something or someone passes a limit and the person in charge just lets their frustration overwhelm them. Once control is lost, many will act rough and hurtful. Such mistakes can make it even harder to address future problems. Once there is a history of over-reacting, others are more likely to guard themselves. The person in charge may feel guilty about their past approach. Such stressful situations can lead managers and owners to believe that no one likes accountability and the only answer to hire different people. But if the situation is not addressed, it may very well re-appear in the newly hired staff.

When C-Store accountability problems last too long and relationships become frayed, it is not uncommon to feel like those that work for you do not like you. Some may think you are mean and unfair. The staff know that getting new staff is very hard and they can ‘get away’ with almost any bad behavior as long as they stay quiet. Managers sometimes think there is nothing that can be done in these situations, leading to a feeling of hopelessness. If you reach such a point, it may be useful to take a completely different approach to the problem. Instead of looking at fixing the staff, take a look at the management process.

C-Store Accountability – Looking in the Mirror

When we look at the staff in terms of responsibility, or worse, blame, we only looking at the actors in the process. But the best place to look may be at the C-Store accountability process itself. Bob Latino describes his theory about looking first to the management process in Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me… Facing the Mirror . He states that managers need to worry less about who made the decision and why, and more about how the management process or system allows that action to occur. He suggests ‘… we have to look in the mirror and face the possibility that we could have unintentionally contributed to the bad outcome. That is the only way we will make progress. This type of openness and non-punitive environment is a key principle….’ He argues that we must make sure we are putting a process in place that directs the correct action. Further, it must provide an assessment that allows errors to be corrected when they occur.

Take the approach that the management has the main responsibility for problems. You may find a less defensive response from your staff. Even better, they may help to fix the management problem.

C-Store Accountability – Related topics

For more information on a related topic, please see one of our most popular blogs on the differences between consequence and punishment.

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