Crowdsourcing Restroom MaintenanceMay 22, 2015 • Restroom Management
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding have become very popular terms in today’s culture, especially with anyone under 35.
Getting the public to pitch in to achieve something great is an amazing thing to watch. Take Natalie Dubose of Ferguson, Missouri, for example, her small cake shop was totally destroyed in the Ferguson riots. Within just a few months, people contributed more than $270,000 to rebuild Natalie’s store via a crowdfunding site called GoFundMe.com.
This type of public goodwill is something we have also experienced. At the 2013 OneSpark crowdfunding event in Jacksonville, Florida, a group of total strangers dug deep into their pockets and contributed cash to help us launch our text-message-based Restroom Management System.
Our Restroom Alert system is built around anonymous crowdsourced text message feedback from the public. Coded signs are placed in each company restroom that ask customers for their help in reporting restroom problems.
If the public sees an issue that needs attention, they simply send off a quick text message to management (all totally anonymous of course). Instantly, a thank you note and an apology message is sent back to the customer, acknowledging their report.
A few moments later, the company’s managers and staff get a “Restroom Alert” text message describing the exact restroom location and nature of the customer’s problem. The crew quickly resolves the issue, then sends a short text to the system as to what they did to fix the problem.
The system logs the event, their resolution (e.g. restocked toilet paper) and sends a message to the entire crew as to which employee took the initiative to resolve the Alert and exactly how long it took.
People are always surprised by the quantity and quality of customer feedback texts our system generates. In fact, we recently crossed the one million message mark. Customer’s are very good at spotting and reporting even the smallest issues, such as a light bulb burned out, a dripping faucet or even a broken purse hook.
Companies love the idea of crowdsourced text feedback, as it puts hundreds of restroom inspectors on the job 24 hours a day (all for free). If you’re managing a large hospital, airport or college campus with 200 plus restrooms (or even a busy fast food franchise with only 2) you’ll never know when a problem might pop up. After all, “a restroom is only clean until the next person uses it.”
Here are some actual feedback text messages:
- needs soap
- vomit in sink
- hand dryer running
- messy and has sticky floors
- dirty sink and counters
- puddles of urine on floor
- coffee spilled on the floor
- needs paper towels
- clogged sink & toilet
- won’t flush!!!
- poop on toilet seat
- needs water mopped up
- changing station needs cleaned
- stall door broken
- trash all over
- toilet won’t stop running
- sink 2 is on auto-pilot
- is really clean! Thank you!
Many of these issues need to be resolved immediately so that additional customers are not exposed to something as unpleasant as vomit in the sink… or worse. We can always count on the public to help out within minutes by sending an Alert!
Are you surprised that customers are this helpful? Would you take the time to send a short text if you saw an issue?