Investigating the Impact growth has on Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty: The Case of the Little Britain Pub Company

Cooper, Newell and Atkinson (2019), Investigating the Impact growth has on Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty: The Case of the Little Britain Pub Company

39th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development –"Sustainability from an Economic and Social Perspective"- Lisbon, 29-30 April 2019

Abstract

Mabkhot (2017) calls for more research to be conducted across different countries and sectors to further understand how loyalty effects customer satisfaction levels. Many scholars highlight the importance of brand loyalty in the service industry; customers will return if satisfied and have a belief that no other brand could satisfy their needs in the same way (Baser, et al., 2015). This study investigated the potential effects organisational growth has on the levels of customer satisfaction and, in turn brand loyalty within the public house sector in the UK. The research is distinctive as it focuses on a growing organisation, known as the Little Britain Pub Company, in a period of market decline. According to the BBC (2018) and The Real Ale Campaign (http://www.camra.org.uk/), the pub closure rate reached 18 per week in 2018 in the UK. This study focused directly on customers’ perceptions over time, as the Little Britain Pub Company grew from a small, independent pub into a chain. The methods used in this research explored how the owner, employees and customers viewed and experienced the Little Britain Pub Company’s growth. Here a mix of questionnaires and in-depth unstructured and semi structured interviews were utilised. The findings indicated that each time a new site was opened, customer satisfaction levels decreased in the established sites but then experienced a period of recovery as a new site became established. The study also understood that customer loyalty to the Little Britain Pub Company brand induced positive word-of-mouth, with satisfied customers willing to repeatedly return. The questionnaire targeted the Little Britain Pub Company’s customer base. The results here indicated a positive feeling towards the growth of the brand as well as an increased level of loyalty. This research contributes to the hospitality sector as it demonstrates that organisational growth can have a negative impact upon customer satisfaction, and that growth can positively effect customer satisfaction and brand loyalty in the long term. Demonstrating a case of ‘short term pain for long term gain’.