Shop advice: Yes, bathrooms matter with women

Jody DeVere

As a shop owner, there are many things you can be doing to help make your business more appealing to a female audience, and first impressions are very important.

From the moment a woman enters your shop, she should feel welcome, comfortable, seen, heard, and respected. That means ensuring that your building’s appearance is clean and snappy, that the walls are free of the stereotypical pinups, and that the waiting area is comfortable.

A clean, comfy lounge area with Wi-Fi, coffee, current magazines (and not just automotive magazines) goes a long way to making a woman feel welcome.

For moms on the go, a kids’ play area with toys, coloring books, and other activities is a wonderful idea.

And of course, providing her with nothing less than exceptional customer service should go without saying. Friendliness, honesty, listening, and transparency are the golden rules of female friendly customer service.

Have you done all you can do?

However, if you’ve done all of this, have you done all you can do?

Not quite – how are your bathrooms?

Is your customer restroom a little threadbare, utilitarian, or even sketchy?

In the auto world, this isn’t uncommon, so don’t feel bad if your bathrooms need a little TLC – however, don’t neglect them if winning with women is your goal.

Bathrooms do matter

When it comes to earning the trust and loyalty of women, bathrooms matter!

First and foremost, it’s important to make sure that the bathrooms are kept neat and clean. It should almost go without saying, but many shop bathrooms fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap.

Beyond making sure the walls, floors, toilets, sinks, and surfaces are clean and safe, make sure to keep an eye on clutter.

If your bathroom is doubling as a storage space for cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper, find a new home out of the path of customers for these items.

A clean, sparkly bathroom is a great start, but today’s women want a bathroom to be more than simply “clean.”

More than just being clean

How are the walls? If they’re a little plain, consider a fresh coat of paint or an attractive wallpaper.

Put in a nice bouquet of fresh flowers, and keep them fresh. A bouquet of flowers is a few dollars at most supermarkets, so if you have time to buy soap and toilet paper, you have time to buy flowers.

On the countertop, provide women with a nicely scented hand soap. Install an automatic air freshener to keep the restroom smelling good.

In short, your ladies’ room should look as warm, welcoming, and comfortable as your waiting room.

Motivation more than ‘gotta go’

Women visit business bathrooms for reasons that go beyond the standard “gotta go” motivation. To that end, providing some of the other common reasons women visit the restroom will go a long way.

Many men in the industry get uncomfortable when we talk about it, but keeping a supply of menstrual products is an excellent addition to your ladies room.

If you supply toilet paper for your restrooms, you should be supplying feminine products, too – and we’re not talking about the “vending machine” model.

Beyond the fact that maintaining these machines costs more than they bring in, these are products which, like toilet paper, should be considered a restroom essential.

Place a basket with menstrual products so that those who need them can take one for free. While you’re at it, try to stock 100 percent organic cotton products – a detail that is very pleasing to women.

‘Moms on the go’

As I’m sure you know, many women are also moms on the go.

Just like a kids’ area in your waiting room is a great addition, ensuring that your restrooms are welcoming to moms and their little ones is also important.

If you don’t have one already, installing a nice changing station in both restrooms will show that you care about not only your customers, but their families as well.

In addition, providing a supply of diapers and a dedicated, closed garbage can for disposing of soiled diapers is great, too.

If you’re looking for more ideas, go straight to the source – ask your women customers how you can make your bathrooms a little bit nicer. They will be happy to be asked, and may have some insights that you hadn’t thought of.

So, if you’ve been neglecting your business’ restrooms lately, consider giving them a female friendly makeover – your customers will notice the difference, and will be more comfortable at every visit.