What Drives Customer Loyalty

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Allow me to describe two different restaurants to you.

Restaurant 1 was recently remodeled.
Restaurant 2 was remodeled in 1989.

Restaurant 1 has a fancy looking menu and prices to match.
Restaurant 2 has a coffee-stained piece of paper.

Restaurant 1 has flat screen TVs and granite counter tops.
Restaurant 2 has a crackly sound system and paper placemats.

Restaurant 1 serves something resembling prison food.
Restaurant 2 has great food, especially for the price.

Which venue would get more of your business?

Every touchpoint matters, but the first step to customer loyalty is to consistently deliver on your core business. Covering it up with gimmicks won’t fool anyone.


  1. So simple; so true. You can put lipstick on a pig, but if you aren’t delivering core business promises, then it’s still just a pretty pig.

  2. Tim- Great example of service that puts the customer first. Restaurant 1 is trying to “buy” the customer. They may come back, but they won’t often become loyal. Restaurant 2 will “earn” their loyality and probably see those customers again and again. They CARE! The operative word!

  3. Short and to the point. There’s no question about which restaurant puts customer satisfaction first, and that’s what will lead to customer loyalty.

    • Thanks for the comment Yvonne. I think core business is being overlooked more and more as executives get caught up in another ‘flavor of the week.’ Whether that’s social media, word-of-mouth marketing, customer experience or something else. Sometimes keeping it simple and doing one thing really well is all it takes.

      • Tim: I love the “flavor of the week” analogy! Most rational people end up settling for a favorite flavor. It’s something they can look forward too, and know they will like it. When you don’t settle, you’re never sure what you like.(confusion)! Confusion is the bane of successful crm. It taxes your patience which leads to the “flavor of the week” syndrome. And bad customer service.

  4. Sounds like a restaurant my husband and I frequent at least twice a month. Great food, great prices. Not so great brand. But we keep going back!

  5. Quality products and quality service wins customers every time. Everything else is just fluff. Thanks for bringing this point to light!

  6. Interesting exercise but humans are famous for doing what they think they will do — unless the food difference is truly prison food vs outstanding food, I’m betting that people *say* they will go the the dive but actually frequent the renovated restaurant and their perception of the food’s quality will probably be positively influenced by the niver environment.

  7. I agree with the author. It is important to have good customer service anywhere you shop whether it is for product or service. Prices are so competitive these days; customer service is the only thing that separates them apart.

  8. I second Daves’ point. customer segment needs are variant !! you never know frequent renovations are to attract which customers!! if customers get what they want they will be back. business can have several strategies to achieve the same core.

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