Why Do Customers Care? Slip Resistance A key characteristic of any floor finish is its slip resistance. It is critical that a floor finish is safe to walk on and that it provides adequate anti-slip characteristics to help prevent slip-and-fall accidents. The anti-slip characteristics of a finish can be measured in the laboratory and is called the “coefficient of friction.” The coefficient of friction of floor finish is measured using a laboratory tool called the James Machine. The test method is discussed in length in ASTM Standard Test Method D-2047. All floorcare finishes and seals meet or exceed the standard and qualify as “Slip resistant.” Protection A protected floor is one that will last over time. An unprotected floor wears out quicker and can cause a slip-fall situation. Dirt can build up and will become unsightly and also can act as microscopic ball bearings making a floor more slippery. Appearance is always mentioned first in customer surveys about buildings. Customer satisfaction surveys for hospitals always contain a question about Housekeeping and related appearance. Retailers will ask customers in blind surveys if appearance is a factor in choosing where the person shops. “Shiny” or “Glossy” are synonyms for the word “Clean”. Though it is not always the case, the additional time spent to maintain the appearance builds reputation, a non-line item measurement for continuing to recommend a hospital or store over another! Brand recognition – This is a significant factor for retailers. Nordstrom is thought of as a high-end store and everything projects that image from the clothing and soft goods to the displays and finally to the marble floors. They are making a statement to the people who shop there about the importance of the customer vs. other retailers. Once upon a time, K-Mart, Zayre’s, and Venture stores dominated what was called the discount store segment. Today, K-Mart is still in business along with Wal-Mart and Target. Who they want to project themselves to be is important. Target has a height cap on displays. Their stores and subsequently their floors reflect what they see as their “point of differentiation” from a competitor. Cleanliness – It is easier to clean a floor that has been sealed and/or finished. The finish or sealer creates a barrier that prevents dirt embedment. That also means that disease-causing bacteria cannot find a home to reproduce and multiply. And the old adage “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” applies in Floor Care. Shiny dirty floors give the illusion of being clean. Economics – This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there is the concern about the cost of having “outstanding” floors vs. what might be said to be “good”. The difference is significant to the retailer, for example, to burnish every day or every other day. Usually that labor is provided by a Building Service Contract cleaner which may mean an up charge but there is assurance that professionals are doing the work. The cost is in the labor, not in the products.
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