With right-to-work laws at the forefront of local commerce conversations, it opens another discussion completely: what does customer loyalty look like in the 21st century? And how much do economic values play into purchasing decisions? Will customers who disagree with the legislation refuse to patronize participating businesses? Or is brand popularity and stability a better gauge of customer loyalty? To provide some context, lets briefly take a look at what the right-to-work entails, and how it affects local businesses and the people who patronize their businesses.
More About Right-to-Work Laws
In very basic terms, right-to-work laws forbid companies from requiring employees to join a union and pay union dues. This is a pretty common practice in non-adopting states. The law was officially created in 1947 by the Taft-Hartley act, and was made exclusive to states. In fact, less than half of the United States has adopted this legislation. Most recently, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels passed right-to-work legislation in an effort build a more robust business community throughout the state of Indiana. Adopting the right-to-work legislation would offer attractive tax incentives for companies that do business in Indiana state lines.
However, some are opposed to the move, claiming that unions offer benefits to all of thier members. It remains to be seen whether consumers will back that opposition by refusing to buy products from the state, though.
Ethics and Customer Loyalty
This is a difficult thing to gauge, but the truth is the majority of customers aren’t thinking through economic policy as they purchase items in a store or online. They are thinking about the quality of the products, and a company’s reputation with customers. They aren’t necessarily concerned with how employees are treated most of the time. That doesn’t mean there aren’t large groups of consumers concerned with economic ethics. It just means that it isn’t at the forefront of a customer’s decision to buy. The big questions are often in terms of personal benefits, cost and the quality of the product being delivered.
The Hard Reality: The Modern Customer is Largely Indifferent
Though we’d like to believe that we are looking out for the greater good, purchasing goods is all about finding the best product at the most affordable price. We as consumers are not inherently interested with how employees are treated or how unionized companies affect the lives of employees. As long as legislation does not affect how we interact with companies, or how we purchase goods, economic legislation doesn’t matter to most customers.
The Right-to-Work Divide is Geographical … Kind of.
This is important to consider when talking in terms of customer loyalty. Right-to-work laws are often adopted by more conservative states with more conservative views on unions and companies with union security policies in place. Still, it’s curious why national companies that adopt right-to-work laws in adopting states are still in business in non-adopting states. This indicates that even those who claim to hold economic ethics and shopping habits in the same hand are still unaffected by economic policy. The truth is that today’s customer is truly just after a really good deal. In today’s tough economic times, it’s hard to blame people for looking out for number one.