Books and careers have been written and made all based on the psychology of why and how we shop. For example, Sephora Cosmetics is designed to look like a candy store for makeup, thus igniting our youthful joy from trips to a candy store potentially pushing us to purchase more. However, it wasn’t until a recent article in ISSA Magazine, that I really began to understand the psychology of clean… or dirty.
When we enter a new facility, we immediately begin to judge using our senses and visual cues. What does it smell like? Do we see dust or trash? Does it feel grimy? These reactions will solidify our overall perception of the facility and the business that resides within that building. Unfortunately, people tend to surmise the worst assuming that a surface is dirty even when they can’t see dirt. The tough part here is that, for the most part, cleaning is invisible. We notice when environments are not clean, but hardly do we take notice of an impeccably clean facility.
Most often, the spaces perceived to be dirty are the restrooms. It comes down to trust. Very few people trust that others have washed their hands after using the restroom – and rightly so – the percentages of people who wash their hands are absolutely not has high as they should be!
Interestingly enough, people tend to behave in a given environment in a way that corresponds with how they perceive that environment. For instance, at a sports stadium, it is completely acceptable to leave food cups on the floor near your seat and throw peanut shells on the floor, but put this in an entirely different environment, like a school cafeteria, and it would be frowned upon.
So how do you overcome this mentality of clean or dirty and have your facility perceived as clean? Have custodians clean while there are people there to observe them if you are able! But also, make sure your space is always impeccably cleaned, it is a combination of both perceiving, and actually being clean! Our job as a distributor is to give custodial operations the tools they need to increase awareness of cleanliness.