JON DOMMISSE** discusses how new products and maintenance strategies for restrooms help address common issues and foster a cleaner, more efficient and pleasant customer experience
YOU might call restrooms the image makers of businesses. A new survey of hand washing behaviour conducted in the UAE by Bradley Corporation*, shows how a facility’s restroom drives customers’ views of the overall business.
For example, the survey found that 60 per cent of consumers believe a bad restroom indicates poor management; 58 per cent say it shows the business doesn’t care about customers; and 51 per cent say it makes them think the company is dirty/unsanitary. The bottom line is that 37 per cent feel strongly that they would either leave the business without making a transaction or vow never to frequent it again.
Bradley, a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers, has conducted its annual hand washing survey in the US for six years, and expanded the survey to the UAE this year.
The company leads this research initiative to explore views of the WC (water closet) in public and business settings, and identify new product strategies for improving the condition, maintainability and cleanliness of these important facilities.
According to the survey, three-quarters of UAE respondents have had an unpleasant experience as a result of the condition of a public toilet. The most common reasons included: unpleasant odour; water collecting on the floor or on the sink counter; overall appearance of the WC was old, dirty or unkempt; toilets were clogged/not flushed; soap dispenser or toilet paper dispenser was empty, clogged or not working; paper towels on the floor; no place to put belongings; and cubicle doors didn’t latch.
Aside from the business impacts of unkempt restrooms, a poorly maintained WC can also discourage restroom users’ following through with adequate hand washing. Medical experts are emphatic about the importance of proper hand washing practices, which can significantly cut down on the transmission of infection, including diarrhoeal diseases, food-borne illnesses, and respiratory infections, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), a potentially fatal virus that is continuing to spread globally.
Touchless sanity ware
New touchless sanitary ware addresses restroom grievances and provides one of the best solutions for improving the look, function and hygiene in the WC. One of the newest ‘hands-free’ restroom products from Bradley Corporation – the Advocate AV-Series basin – addresses a number of these aforementioned restroom complaints. The all-in-one basin is the first completely touchless hand washing system to provide a basin, soap, tap and dual-sided hand-dryer all in one sleek and high-tech unit. The Advocate is different from other hand washing fixtures in several ways:
• Game-changing technology: While buildings have featured touchless technology in taps, soap dispensers and hand-dryers, these elements have never before been all in one complete hand washing unit. Typically, at least one of these elements is housed separately or located elsewhere in the washroom. The Advocate not only eliminates the need to touch the tap, soap dispenser or hand-dryer, but also the need for a person to move from the tap to the hand-dryer with wet hands. This integrated solution not only delivers convenience and functionality, but ensures that water goes down the drain – not onto the floor. In effect, the Advocate simplifies hand washing, minimises cleaning and maintenance, and maximises safety in the restroom environment.
• Water, paper towel and maintenance savings: The Advocate also uses a low-flow 1.44-litres-per-minute (lpm) faucet, which provides 24 per cent water savings over other models. The hygienic, hands-free dual-sided hand-dryer dries hands in less than 15 seconds, while keeping water in the basin and not on the floor, and saving tens of thousands of dollars annually on paper towel and maintenance costs.
Toilet cubicles are another high-profile design element in the WC. New cubicles made of stainless steel not only modernise and beautify the restroom but also provide a durable and reliable toilet cubicle that lasts. Bradley offers a number of stainless steel finishes – from a clean, satin finish to more textured options. All models provide a resilient and attractive restroom solution for even the heaviest traffic commercial restrooms, while saving money in the long run on maintenance and replacement costs.
For example, Bradley’s Mills textured stainless steel toilet cubicles are distinguished by an appealing modern appearance, along with a stainless steel textured pattern that resists scratches and fingerprints, minimises cleaning and maintenance, and helps ward off vandalism attempts. The resilient textured finish wraps completely around the panels edge for a clean and consistent look.
Stainless steel cubicles also feature seamless panels, and incorporate a unique Permaseal design that integrally locks together facing sheets of panels and doors. The corners are welded smoothly or adhered with a corner clip. Permaseal panels are stronger than conventional crown moulding construction, and hold up particularly well in high-traffic restroom applications. Constructed with the choice of either 30 or 100 per cent pre-consumer recycled stainless steel, the partitions carry a 15-year warranty – the best in the industry.
Washroom accessories are a key element of restroom design that can elevate the look of a restroom and provide essential safety features for patrons. Bradley’s new Diplomat washroom accessories series provides an innovative dual-curve geometry stainless steel design that integrates – and enhances – the look of today’s modern WC.
With more than 50 product models available, the Diplomat series provides a common aesthetic with curved edges that transform a restroom’s look from nondescript to refined distinction. Offering architects unmatched sustainable design flexibility for an elegant, yet highly durable restroom solution, the series offers the widest selection in its class. Each product can also be specified with a number of exclusive features to further customise the restroom’s look.
For many customers, particularly the elderly and physically challenged, solidly anchored grab bars can mean the difference between a comfortable restroom visit and a trip to the emergency room. Strategically placed and correctly positioned grab bars provide extra security and aid to people when they are unsteady on their feet. Durable stainless steel grab bars – mounted both horizontally and vertically on the restroom wall – provide a necessary anchor to many and improve the safety of restrooms.
New innovative and durable products enhance the function, hygiene, economy, maintainability and safety in restrooms. In effect, these new restroom fixtures enhance the customer’s overall experience, thereby creating a positive image of the business and helping to encourage thriving long-term customer relationships.
* Bradley’s 2014 Healthy Hand Washing Study queried 550 adult online users across the UAE during May 5 to 9, 2014 about their hand washing habits in workplace and public restrooms. Respondents were included from across the Emirates, ranged in age from 18 to 54 and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (45 and 55 per cent).
** Jon Dommisse is the director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corporation.