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ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CUSTOMER SERVICES AS A MARKETING TOOL IN THE ALUMINUM INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA

10,000 3,000

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0   INTRODUCTION

A man that starts a business with a well-furnished office and competent staff is incomplete without customers to secure the flow of cash into his business which is a signature to profitability, success, growth and survival.

Customers are needed in any business ventures whether privately or publicly owned establishment for profit purposes and sustainability of such a venture. However, the modern marketing trend, which seeks to satisfy the customer’s wants and needs has changed the face of businesses in Nigeria and the world in general.

There is no doubt that technological advancement has improved economic activities in recent times which has invariably increased the competitive nature of businesses but technological excellence is not enough as superb technology alone does not guarantee success, there is need for modern marketing experts to know that businesses these days have to be obsessed with understanding their customers-what and why they want it.

Presently, the competitive marketing environment in Nigeria has necessitated customer care in both product and service oriented business organizations.

 

1.1   BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The aluminum industry in Nigeria has been characterized by continuous and perpetual complaints by customers from the various segments of the market. In the past, the major players were the companies owned by foreigners whose skin colour alone convince the ordinary Nigerian that the use of aluminum in the building connotes the upper class in the society. The respect for white skin colour also made the various customers at that time believe that they are getting the best in terms of services.

There has been an increased patronage by both the upper and middle class of the society, and with the growing awareness, consumerism sets in and enlightened consumers started demanding for the best of services.  The services rendered by virtually all the aluminum companies have been characterized   with complaints ranging from delays to lack of response to customer complaints. The requests of a prospective building owner normally reach its height when a building has reached the roof level and the prospective owner wants to see how the building will look like. The anxiousness of these prospective building owners also gets heightened when they want to have a roof over their heads. Thus the first complaint is delay in delivery of materials to site. Most prospective building owners having been used to roofing of houses with zinc bundles already fabricated, expect the building to be covered in a matter of days.

The lack of adequate attention to customers complaints has been on the increase as most aluminum companies handle many sites above what they expected by their size and resource to manage. Most of the big names in the industry have dwindled into oblivion due to huge debts owed them by customers with some probably resulting from lack of effective customer services. Existing ones therefore are forced to introduce systems and controls to counter this effect of unmanaged receivable. These various systems have added  to customer’s dissatisfaction and continuous compliant galore. It could be generally summed up that dissatisfied customers are a norm in the aluminum industry.

Some few individuals who breakaway from the major ones have taken advantages of these customers dissatisfaction and complaints to setup the resellers business and some “on-man” companies and create a niche for themselves with few customers who can assure them of steady jobs. These people have closer relationship with their clients.

Bell (1996:4) states two examples of excellent customer services as treating the customers as partner and client; plus treating the customers should as king and consumer. Building a lasting relationship with the customer should be watchword.

Kotler (2001:33) states that it is no longer enough to satisfy customers. You must delight them.  This is probably not in the aluminum industry for now.

Carrying out a critical analysis of the industry value chain. This is finally passed on to the dissatisfied customers.

Hence, it is the objective of this study to critically analyze the adoption of and practice of an effectiveness of customers  service as a  marketing  tool in the industry that will ensure continuous  and increase  patronage from customer, eliminating completely  the number of dissatisfied  customer thereby reversing the unhappiness of customers  as a norm in the industry.

 

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Customer service and customer relation have both become very important terms in most organization especially in the aluminum industry.

One of the basic needs of man is shelter, the question of every Nigeria to have a roof over his or her head increase as soon as such individual can afford it. Having the means to afford it requires quick and urgent responses from companies offering the services in the erection of houses.

The order bank of most aluminum companies is on the decline due to lack of repeat purchase from various customers due to the absence of the required services.

Aluminum roofing, windows and doors are important element of the building that will require good quality product at affordable price. A customer that has paid his money will require good care from companies offering such services which is a sure way of attracting more patronage and generating more revenue from the industry without which no business will continue.

 

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study therefore is to establish that a satisfied customer in the aluminum industry is a source of continuous and increased patronage by would be customers in the industry. The specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To determine the impact of the various companies operating policies on customer’s satisfaction.
  2. To investigation the causes of customer dissatisfaction and how best a customer can be handled to ensure continuous patronage.
  3. To know whether customer is given priority position in aluminum industry.
  4. And also to ascertain the level at which customers of aluminum industry are appreciated and consider in dealing with.

 

1.4   Research Questions

        The following questions will be used to guide the direction of the study:

  • Is delay in delivering of materials to site and completion of installation the causes of customer’s dissatisfaction?
  • Is response for customer’s complain the cause of customer’s dissatisfaction?
  • Is quality of installation the customer dissatisfaction?
  • Do customer dissatisfaction affects the way the industry is being perceived by the public?
  • Is repeat purchase based on the level of satisfaction generally?

 

1.5   STATEMNT OF HYPOTHESIS

        A hypothesis is a prediction conjectured stated well in advance of observation (or actual collection of data) about what can be expected to the purpose of demonstration is taken for certain and demonstrated.

  1. Ho: Customer’s dissatisfaction is not caused by delay in delivery of materials to site.

Ha: Customer’s dissatisfaction is caused by delay in delivery of materials to site.

  1. Ho: Responses to customer’s complaints is not cause of customer’s dissatisfaction.

Ha: Responses to customer’s complaints is the cause of customer’s dissatisfaction.

  1. Ho: Quality of installation is not the cause of customer’s dissatisfaction

Ha: Quality of installation is the cause of customer’s dissatisfaction.

  1. Ho: Repeat purchase is based on the level of satisfaction.

Ha: Repeat purchase is based on the level of satisfaction

 

1.6   SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS STUDY

This study shall be restricted to Onitsha metropolis only. Onitsha has been closen because:

  1. Onitsha has the highest number of Aluminum Companies within the South-East of Nigeria.
  2. The housing needs of the inhabitant of Onitsha are almost the highest in south-East of Nigeria.
  3. Building of houses is also more in Anambra.

Respondents for the purpose of this study will be drawn from developers, Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Builders, Corporate Bodies and individuals and the objectives will be to find what made them to be dissatisfied with the industry and what informs their  repeat purchase of aluminum products from a particular company in the industry.

The following have been identified as some of the limiting factors:

Basis of respondents: The respondents as some of the construction industry and individuals who might at one time of the other use aluminum product in house construction. They however have their own prejudices and have no special interest in this study.

Time: Time is the major constraints as the researcher may not be able to do a very detailed work within the academic time frame. Moreover, other academic pursuits demand ones time. Also many of the suppose respondents could not even grant personal interview, while most companies refused to fill outright for reason of information leakage to competitors.

1.7   SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

There has been a lot of complaints and dissatisfaction by the house owners, professionals, consultants, building contractor and developers concerning the performance of major aluminum companies within the construction industry. This has led to their shifting of patronage to individuals with learn structure playing in the market who have created a niche for themselves.

This research is significant to major aluminum companies within the aluminum industry. The research will attempt to establish the fact that customer’s satisfaction on resulting from effective and efficient services is a source of increased patronage. It will also establish the fact that such effective and efficient customer services are sources of

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