Sam Seely

Clean bathrooms

I once heard someone say the key to great customer success is clean bathrooms.

It was a mantra at his previous startup that any employee of the company would always be on the lookout to make sure the bathrooms were spotless.

Customers often come to visit, and when they do, they may use the bathroom. When a customer has to use their vendor’s dirty bathroom -- crumpled paper towels near the waste basket, caked hand soap on the counter tops -- their reaction will be, “these guys can’t take care of themselves, how are they going to take care of my business?” No matter how great your meeting was. Keeping a clean bathroom ensures this doesn’t happen.

But there’s something else you instill in a company’s culture by making sure everyone looks out for clean bathrooms. It’s the Mr. Miyagi effect. In keeping the bathrooms clean, in picking up that stray paper towel that didn’t make it into the trash, people overcome their “someone else will do it” gene.

Once someone can overcome their “someone else will do it” gene in a bathroom, they can overcome it anywhere. Messy implementations. Hard customer calls. Doing the tough work that doesn’t scale.

It’s the kind of work that doesn’t slip through the cracks for a company with great customer success. A company with happy customers. And clean bathrooms.