Of course – that will only strike a cord if customer loyalty is important to you as a business owner. And as we all know – in today's cut throat world – every customer counts.

We installed a cctv surveillance system in several fast food outlets for one of our customers. He recently noticed that turnover was taking a downward turn in one of these outlets. Feedback from the location manager and staff was that there was less traffic and so fewer sales.

"Fair enough" he thought. And so plans were made to increase advertising spend in that area.

We met with our customer on this location to go over some cctv foot to look for consumer buying and traffic patterns and noticed the store was closing at about 7.30 pm instead of the usual 9pm. Further investigation showed that the turnover was directly related to the early closing of the outlet.

After some staff modification and new performance indicators were implemented I thought about how this had affected customer loyalty. (The business owner now uses his cctv remote viewing capability to check on all his opening opening and closing times.)

I do not know about you but when I get home and put the slippers on – a trip to a fast food outlet is really not my idea of ​​fun. So I try to have the stuff delivered. In the case of the "early closer" the staff had taken the phone off the hook so that a continuous engaged tone was all I would get. This would lead to a grumpy trip to the shopping center only to find nobody home. Now I'm faced with two alternatives. Buy from someone else or go home empty handed.

What does this have to do with customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty is directly related to the last experience the customer has with the relevant supplier. If it's positive he will kindly come back because a feeling of trust in service and product has been reinforced. However – if the experience has been unfavourable then the customer will question him about repeating the experience. No-one wants to deal with a supplier who provides unriliable service or product.

So the next time I'm given the job of getting fast food I'll look over my options – and the "early closer" is not going to be at the top of my list. Another supplier will have taken over my expectation of reliability and so becomes my first choice.

Now I know that you probably do not have a fast food outlet but you do have staff and offer a service or product for sale. Is your customer having a positive experience every time he elects you as supplier of choice?

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