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Newsletter #1011: The “Potty” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Bathrooms are important. They can be the forgotten back corner of your store that your customers totally judge you on — or, if you’re Buc-ee’s (a Texas gas station famous for their plentiful, clean bathrooms), they can be your crowning word of mouth achievement.

Here are three lessons from bathrooms:

1> Start conversations
2> Flip a switch
3> Find your niche
4> Check it out: The Law of Urination

1. Start conversations

Funky bathrooms can be word of mouth triggers for almost any business. For example, Scum of the Earth church has four bathrooms with the walls covered in intricate mosaics and decorated with toilet seats and other funky art. In fact, one of their rejected slogans on their site is “Come to see the crazy bathrooms, stay for a sermon.”

The lesson: Their bathrooms carry word of mouth. As an alternative church, it’s much easier for visitors to explain Scum of the Earth’s offbeat personality by talking about their weird bathrooms.

Learn more: Scum of the Earth

2. Flip a switch

Last year we wrote about this restaurant bathroom with a clever idea: A switch in the restroom that immediately tells the management if it needs attention. That’s one of the best kinds of customer feedback you can ask for: immediate, easy, and anonymous.

The lesson: When something annoys your customers, it’s not always easy for them to tell you about it. Instead, they tell their family, friends, and Yelp. How are you giving your customers a direct line of communication to you?

3. Find your niche

Potty Mouth Tours is an online video series dedicated to finding unique bathrooms. They also feature blog posts on DIY bathroom remodeling ideas and host Potty Village, a social community for people to share photos of their bathrooms. It seems weird, but if you can make quality, unique content, there’s an audience for everything.

The lesson: This kind of stuff isn’t for the masses, it’s for a specific group. Not everyone will “get it,” but the people who do will find other people who are just as passionate about bathrooms on Potty Mouth Tours — and that creates some powerful word of mouth.

Learn more: Potty Mouth Tours

4. Check it out: The Law of Urination

Did you know that the average pee session (no matter what the bladder size) is 21 seconds? Yep, scientists have determined peeing takes the same amount of time for your cat as it does for an African elephant. Now you know.

Check it out: C&EN

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  1. Neneh Biffinger October 23, 2014 at 8:53 pm #


    Thank you for featuring Potty Mouth Tours this post and lesson about business tactics.

    “Flip the Switch” is a huge point and one that too few companies embrace. Open the lines of communication with your customers because it is better for them to tell YOU things that are wrong rather than be silent or tell everyone but you.

    Thank you, again, for the Word of Mouth – it is definitely what my niche needs. I’ve returned the favor and have told everyone I could about your blog.

    Creator & Tour Guide of Potty Mouth Tours

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