One germ is all it takes. One teeny microbe less than 0.002 microns across – and there goes your reputation.
E.coli is it?
A customer ate something that disagreed. Food poisoning headlines in the local press. All over TV and Facebook. Wisecracks on Twitter making it worse.
A reputation nightmare.
OK, so things happen. Somebody makes a mistake and the whole organisation pays for it.
Because e.coli is a germ you can catch anywhere. Off a doorknob or a product display. Off the handle of a customer basket. From a handshake with sales staff. Out of the air. Anywhere.
Same scenario with most germs. From mild colds and tummy bugs to life-threatening illnesses.
Picked up on contact, or breathed in.
The blame game
So are you unlucky – or genuinely negligent?
Dirty hands are a cause, most of the time. They look clean but they’re not – at least not since after breakfast. And hands touch everything, including mouth and nose – the germs’ way in to reputational mayhem.
The customer’s hands, or staff’s?
With reputations on the line, it’s unwise to point fingers.
Most people don’t wash their hands from one moment to the next. Especially breezing in off the street. But you can’t accuse them, even if their hands are crawling. 0.02 microns is impossibly small to see, even if there are millions of them. So it’s you who’s accused – of insults.
On the staff side of course, you can see it coming.
Take precautions and be ready, before anything happens.
Minimise the risk
Like tighten up on staff hygiene. When hands are washed, how thoroughly, and how often. When latex gloves get used. How merchandise is cleaned and presented. Nannying detail yes, but your reputation depends on it.
Likewise, how your whole place is cleaned.
Not just a lick and a promise, but properly sterilised. If there’s no germs anywhere, you know the e.coli must be the customer’s.
And properly doesn’t mean bleach. The smell alone will drive your reputation away all by itself.
Besides, how’s bleach going to reach all the places that germs are more likely to lurk? In dark corners, away from the usually scrubbed counters and work surfaces? Or in the air itself?
No, no – to get rid of germs, you’ve got to get serious. Just like your reputation is serious – and e.coli makes bad PR.
So it’s sterilise or nothing – again, your reputation depends on it.
No germs on anything anyone might touch – staff or customers. Including all the things nobody ever thinks about but uses all the time. Like self-service touchscreens and lift call buttons.
Bring on the tiger
Time to think ionised hydrogen peroxide.
And a nifty all-automatic machine – the Hypersteriliser.
It’s loaded with a mild 6% solution of hydrogen peroxide – the same germ-killer stuff you can get in Boots as antiseptic. And the same stuff our own bodies naturally produce to fight infections from cuts or scratches.
Ah, but press the button – and you waken the sleeping tiger.
IONISED, see. Which mists the hydrogen peroxide into a dry superfine spray – and transforms it from a gas vapour into a plasma.
Yup, you’ve got yourself a tiger. Because now that mild 6% solution releases a slew of other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet – every one, a germ predator.
Plus the ionising forces the tiger out of its lair and actively on the hunt. Forced apart electrostatically to disperse aggressively in all directions. Fiercely pouncing oppositely-charged bacteria and viruses -and clawing them to shreds by oxidising them.
Not kind. But think of it this way. It gives germs the same deadly treatment they give you. Or more appropriately, your reputation.
Give it 40 minutes or so, depending on room size – and the whole place is sterile. No germs anywhere. In the air, on any surface, in any tight inaccessible places, or in any cracks, crevices and remote corners.
OK, so with the whole place germ-free, any e.coli floating around has got to be the customer’s.
But you know how it goes, you get the blame anyway. Benefit of the doubt and all that – the customer is always right.
Roar of approval
Uh huh, so your final play is to protect the customer from herself.
Before she has a chance to touch anything, offer her antibacterial wipes or gel – free with your compliments.
Well it’s your reputation, so what’s she going to think – free hand wipes AND the whole place sterilised for HER health and security?
Wow! Worth paying a bit extra to shop there, don’t you think?
And how’s it going to look for you when she climbs on Instagram and Snapchat to her friends?
Like we say, it’s your reputation. And with the tiger on your side, you’re playing for keeps.
Picture Copyright: digidreamgrafix / 123RF Stock Photo