For as long as there has been business hours, there's been a debate on etiquette & protocol for when the store is closed, the light is off, and the door is locked vs. when the customer is always right. If you're a customer, you think if the door is open, then you can get that one item you need. If you're an employee, you feel that there's no way customers should be coming in the final ten minutes because nothing can get done in ten minutes.
There are websites devoted to this debate, seeing it from both sides of the situation.
It doesn't take chronic, constant customer surveys to know how important it is for customers to know they're not interrupting you, not feeling annoyed by you, and not being lied to.
Yes. We just wrote a post about leaving your outdoor signs on all night. We also mentioned having an "Open" and "Closed" sign as well. Make it stick out like a sore thumb. Light it up like a flawless Texas sky.
We pointed out to the Fed-Ex® Store Surveys that addressed the positive impact signs have on both a location and a customer experience. There are great articles out there suggesting to keep the signs professional and the lights bright.
Don't be afraid to lock the doors, if the fire codes allow it. Don't be afraid to be firm with announcing forthcoming closes. Don't be afraid to use an obnoxious neon red "Close" sign and a vibrant "Open" sign. Most importantly, from what we gather, don't be afraid to be in constant communication with your customers.
See how easy that was?