The demand for quality is emerging as one of the most critical factors in today's competitive global market. The demand for quality has become one of the indispensable components and strategic tools for measuring business performance. With the intensity of global competition, increasing demand by customers for better quality in the marketplace has encouraged many companies to provide quality products and services. The essence of providing quality product and service is to satisfy their customers, secure repeated purchase and possible recommendation of the product by the customers that have used it to others. One of the major reasons that have made quality to gain such prominence is because organizations have more understanding of the cost and adverse implications of poor quality on market performance and customer patronage (Dapper et al., 2015).
Kantardjieva (2015) showed that TQM is one of the most effective means to increase product and service quality, productivity and profitability. However, many organizations are still overly involved in "quality confusion". This scenario is a common phenomenon in Nigeria. Nigeria's manufacturing sectors in the face of increasing competition are currently facing enormous challenges, which have made survival increasingly difficult. Dapper et al. (2015) stated that the continual wave of technical and environmental changes easily turn products obsolete hence, loss of customer's confidence and patronage, which may be as a result of the failure in organizational processes. The existing research on quality management and customer loyalty perspectives are mainly concentrated on service quality and customer satisfaction. In view of this, this paper tends to examine how continuous product improvement can sustain customer loyalty and how top management commitment to TQM can enhance customers' patronage.
The broad objective of this study is to show how the implementation of TQM serves as a precursor to sustainable customer loyalty in a competitive business environment. The specific objectives are to firstly, examine how continuous product improvement can sustain customer loyalty and secondly, to determine how top management commitment to TQM can enhance customers' patronage.
An Overview of Total Quality Management (TQM)
Traditionally, quality is viewed as "the degree of conformance to a standard". Total Quality Management (TQM) is a philosophy and driving force that characterize the basis for successful organization and to ensure the survival of organizations especially in the competitive economy of today. Margaret & Oluwakayode (2014) opined that TQM is a system of management that focused on the philosophy that every stakeholder must be committed to promoting stimulating continuous improvement and high standards of work in a...