- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The banking industry over the years has gone through various evolutions. In the early years, banking activities were characterized by sit tight customer management and manned by prody experienced officers, the bulk of the customers then walked into the bank and relationship was rarely solicited. The customer was seen as though important but not deserving too much attention as the focus was on products mainly. It was an era of product oriented and not customer oriented marketing.
Today the ball games have changed as the industry face a customer oriented market. The marketing concept came into play role on refocusing banks towards the customers. Stated precisely, this concept in the idea that organization or bank should aim all its focus at satisfying its customers at a profit. The sole reason for the existence of the business is the satisfaction of the customer. According to sheth and Garriath (1986), it is envisaged that as business achieves customer satisfaction, patronage will grow with loyalty on the long run with profitability implications.
Customer satisfaction is derived largely from the quality and reliability of products and services. However, almost every Nigerian bank encounter similar problem in meeting customers expectation of services and customer satisfaction.
Relationship marketing on the other hand refers to a short term arrangement where both the buyer and the seller have an interest in providing more satisfying exchange. This approach tries to disambiquiously transcend the simple post- purchase- exchange process with a customer to make more truthful and richer contact by providing a holistic personalized purchase and uses the experience to create stronger ties.
The practice of relationship marketing has been facilitated by several generations of customer relationship management software that allow tracking and analyzing of each customer’s preference, activities, tastes, likes, dislikes and complaints, especially in banks where the management maintains a database of when and how repeat customers patronize their products offerings thereby increasing the response rate.
Zenith bank was established in May 1990. It became a public limited company in July 2004, and had an initial public offering on the Nigeria stock exchange (NSE) on October 21 of that year. Also in 2004, credit rating agency Fitch ratings identified its credit as AA on their long term scale.
Zenith bank based in Victoria Island Lagos. As of December 2010, it is the second largest company in the country. In addition to Nigeria, the bank branches in the Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa and United Kingdom. It has so many branches across major cities in Nigeria including Ekwulobia branch which is being used as a reference to the study.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The banking industry attracts huge domestic and foreign investment. Proper management of available market to achieve better result becomes imperative as the operating market continues to stagnate and not expand.
Problems attached to this study are as follows:
- Lack of finance in operation to the organization.
- Lack of implementation of relationship marketing.
- Poor handling of customers by workers.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This piece of work seeks, therefore to achieve the following objectives from the above statement.
- To examine the impact of relationship marketing in achieving customer retention/ loyalty in banks.]
- To determine to what extent this factor goes in deciding choice of banks amongst the banking public.
- To establish whether or not, there is a correlation between deep relationship marketing and customer retention/ loyalty in banks.
- Finally, if a correlation exists, to influence the strategic marketing direction of the industry for better results and value for customer’s money and in the over all, achieve a better customer management and service culture for the industry.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study becomes imperative when reflect on the fact that banks officials those days concern themselves more on marketing and winning a prospect than retaining it.
In the context of satisfaction of customers, the study intends to reveal the fallacy of strict marketing concept, in achieving success in modern banking environment. The sophistication of the customers which is growing daily aimed stiff competition in the industry. Relationship marketing is being advocated as a true panacea to customer retention/ loyalty as loyalty destroys the impact of competition because of emotion impact.
For the bank, this will mean better and continuous flow of business from their relationships. It will also open up challenges for operators in the industry to educate and re- deviate their marketing efforts out from strict marketing concept for a better value based marketing.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
From the above objectives, the following research questions become relevant.
- Is relationship marketing a vital factor in modern banking?
- What levels of impact does relationship marketing exert on customer retention/royalty in banks?
- To what extent does relationship marketing ensure better profitability in banks?
- STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
From the research questions, the under mentioned hypothesis is raised.
Relationship marketing increases customer retention/ loyalty in banks and by extension, profitability
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will examine the impact of relationship marketing in shaping the customer’s choice of banks. It intends to examine into the extent to which these factors contributes to customer retention and loyalty in banks and by extension, profitability.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Relationship marketing: Relationship marketing is seen as the process of creating endearment and delight to the customer, in such a manner that emotions are built into the relationship based on a continuous flow of satisfaction and value chain, over time. It is that marketing effort involving various personal services and customizing a company’s offering to the needs of a special buyer.
Marketing concept: This explains the idea that an organization should aim all its efforts at satisfying its customers at a profit.
Market: A market is defined as a group of potential customer with similar need and seller offering various product/services. That is, ways of satisfying those needs or a group of sellers and buyers who are willing to exchange goods and/ or services for something.
Target: Target is seen as fairly homogeneous (similar/ group of customers to whom a company wishes to appeal. Market strategy: A market strategy specifies a target market and a related marketing mix and includes all plan/ actions aimed directly at achieving the specific target/ objectives.
Needs: Needs are the basic forces that motivate a person to buy or do something else.
Marketing mix: The marketing mix explains the controllable various that the company puts together to satisfy a targeted group. These are the product, price, place of promotion (advertisement).
Customer: The customer is defined as somebody that has a need for a product/ service or one who buys regularly from a producer or firm.
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