ACHIEVING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY
(A STUDY OF NIGERIAN BOTTLING COMPANY PLC)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The purpose of a business is to create and keep customers. If a business successfully creates and keeps customers in a cost effective way, it will make profit while continuing to survive and thrive. If for any reason, a business fails to attract or sustain a sufficient number of customers, it will experience losses. Too many losses will lead to the demise of the enterprise. feelings of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a product's perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to his or her expectations by potential user of a product is referred to as customer satisfaction as postulated by Philip Kotler (Marketing Management, Eleventh edition, slide 712). According to the Balanced Scorecard Institute (Marketing Metrics), recent management philosophy has shown an increasing realization of the importance of customer focus and customer satisfaction in any business. These are leading indicators: if customers are not satisfied, they will eventually find other suppliers that will meet their needs. Poor performance from the [customer satisfaction] perspective is thus a leading indicator of future decline, even though the current financial picture may look good".
Globally, profit maximization is the focus of many business organizations. However profit cannot be maximized without the efforts of exchange of idea, value and other human features including those responsible for carrying out other marketing functions. Ideally, it is pertinent and appropriate for every organization that wants to break even in a competitive environment to first motivate its staff properly for the purpose of achieving smooth business transactions. When management satisfies its workers, then effort is diverted to the satisfaction of customers for the purpose of achieving their loyalty. From the marketing concept point of view, it could be noted that customers are the king. Therefore, they need to be satisfied so that their patronage can be affirmed.
The factors could be producing exactly what the consumers need at reasonable prices, rendering after sales services where applicable and other considerable factors that are demand stimulating through consumers' satisfaction, Most of these factors will be revealed under the approaches mentioned in chapter two of this study.
It is logical and scientific to add that behaviours of most especially the sales managers and the sales representatives with their environments like the public and the customers count a lot in achieving strong and viable consumers' patronage in every multinational/manufacturing companies or industry.
The issue of behaviour in connection with interactions with outsiders of the business organization which might be the customers are things of concern. Because every behaviour of company's staff influences the consumers' rate of consumption in one way or the other. Behaviour can be expressed mathematically as:-
This expression states that behaviour is a function of person interacting with his environment.
Ultimately, successful consumer satisfaction depends upon the depth of 'through-life' understanding about the business need and associated user requirements for a future system, and the ability to communicate those requirements to the system developer. In addition, consumer satisfaction and confidence depends upon the level of system assurance offered throughout the system development lifecycle. Requirements understanding problems inevitably lead to poor consumer-supplier relationships, unnecessary re-works, and overruns in cost and/or time.
Finally, measures adopted to ensure customer satisfaction is either affective or cognitive. Affective measures capture a customer's attitude (liking/disliking) towards a product, which can result from any product information or experience. On the other hand, cognitive measure is an appraisal or conclusion on how the product's performance compared against expectations. Clearly defining and understanding customer satisfaction can help any company identify opportunities for product and service innovation and serve as the basis for performance appraisal and reward systems. It can also serve as the basis for a customer satisfaction surveying program that can ensure that quality improvement efforts are properly focused on issues that are most important to the customer.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In more generic terms, consumer satisfaction does not have any specific definition but it can be viewed to mean the pleasingness or gratification given to consumer in order to win his or her loyalty or a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpasses customer expectation.
This research shall try to examine the problems associated with consumer satisfaction in Nigerian Bottling Company Plc through the approaches sorted.
One of the observed problems is that most salesmen of different organizations sometimes tend to be non-challant over the practice of courtesy before the consumers at the point of their purchase.
Another problem arises from the inability of the sales managers to identify and select the right and capable salesforce for the execution of the marketing activities.
Dynamism of consumers in acceptance of idea and lack of favourable persuasion from sales representative to ensure rebuy.
Also the inadequacy of enlightenment on innate features, social development and the environment of consumers pose a great threat to achieving stipulated objective to consumer satisfaction.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
This research seeks to achieve the following objectives:-
1. To identify the various approaches for the achievement of consumer satisfaction in multinational companies with special references to Nigerian Bottling Company Plc.
2. To acquaint salesmen to measures of ensuring acceptance through modesty at sales call.
3. To ascertain the factors that work against consumer satisfaction as a goal being pursued by the company.
4. To examine ways in which the company is striving to realize the goal of consumer satisfaction.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This research is to find out the approaches for achieving consumer satisfaction at NBC Plc, with emphasis on the importance, benefits and impact on business performance. Also to create the need for their strives towards ensuring relentless effort in satisfying consumers through:-
1. Approaches required for achieving consumer satisfaction.
2. Difficulties encountered in actualizing stipulated goal.
3. Specific role staff plays in the satisfaction of consumers.
4. To acquaint students to the varied measures through which an organization can achieve its objectives through customer satisfaction.
5. Ensure total commitment to actualize organizational growth through customer satisfaction.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To further provide empirical foundation to this study, the following are research question:-
1. How does NBC Plc satisfy customers?
2. Do satisfactions impact on customer loyalty?
3. What relationship does consumer satisfaction and profitability exhibits in NBC Plc?
4. Are customers satisfied with NBC Plc products and operations?
5. What are factors that work against consumer satisfaction as a goal being pursued by the company?
6. What is the effect of consumer satisfaction on business performance?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho: Close contact with consumers does not win their loyalty.
Ho: Dissatisfaction of consumer does not reduces sales volume.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
This project aims at studying the approaches for achieving consumer satisfaction with its impact on the sales volume and business performance in the multinational / manufacturing company with global operation experience.
The purpose can be expressed in terms of the following objectives:-
1. To determine the various approaches for achieving consumer satisfaction.
2. To consider the relationship between consumer satisfaction and business performance.
3. To highlight the effect of felt needs of consumers on business performance on the basis for which attempt will be made to recommend measures that could enhance consumer satisfaction for NBC Plc.
4. Recommend ways by which consumers could be satisfied.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
For a research to be carried out on the approaches for achieving consumer satisfaction and its impact on business performance in NBC Plc, it would have been appropriate to study various plants in different countries, but due to time and other constraint and for coming researchers or potential successors to undergo more findings for future purposes that is to study not less than ten plants in different countries of NBC Plc operation. This study is however limited to Ikeja plant and environ. Furthermore, some of the workers refused to cooperate in the course of visitation and response to questions.
1.9 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Nigerian Bottling Company Plc is one of the few multinational organizations that had its beginnings in Nigeria from a small family owned operation at inception that has grown to become the predominant bottler of alcohol-free beverages in Nigeria, responsible for the manufacture and sale of over 33 different Coca-Cola brands. The Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (NBC) was incorporated in November 1951, as a subsidiary of the A.G. Leventis Group with the franchise to bottle and sell Coca-Cola products in Nigeria. Production began in 1953 at a bottling facility in Ebute-Metta, Lagos. Over the years production capacity has grown and it presently has 13 bottling facilities and over 80 distribution warehouses located across the country.
Coca-Cola is the world leading product sold in more than 145 countries. A total of 250million serving are consumed everyday in all parts of the globe from Canada in the north to Argentina and in all parts of the New-Zealand in the south from Alaska to China from Mexico to Nigeria. Nigerian Bottling Company is today Nigeria's number one bottles of soft drinks selling more than six million bottles per day, a figure which is still growing with the continuing expansion of the existing twelve plants in various parts of the federation. Fanta is by far the number one product which is best sold in the segment and Sprite are widely sold among lemon drink in Nigeria, other products bottled by NBC Plc include Ginger ale, Fanta, Pineapple, Fanta blackurrant, Tonic water, Krest, Bitter lemon and Soda water.
The success of Coca-Cola was brought by the development of a number of sister industries, all contributing to the month of Nigeria economy. The Delta glass company in Ughelli which supplies the million of bottle required to keep a large bottling company in operation and the grown product factories in Ijebu Ode and Kano which produce the metal crown to seal the bottles, the Benin plastic company which makes the plastic creates for carrying bottles.
In addition, the trunks used in delivery are familiar sight in many part of the country delivering to more than 50,000 dealers which also assembled in Nigeria.
Nigerian Bottling Company is also the largest employer of labour and manufacturer in the country, employs over 8,000Nigerians in all field of operation.
Quality is the key that determines the success of the whole operation, only the very best ingredients and sophisticated washing and filling equipment has been installed at all plants. Extremely high standard of hygiene are maintained to ensure that top quality product reach outconsumers.
The company is absolutely dynamic in the approaches to achieving customer satisfaction with vivid monitoring of trend in the market and plan for futuristic occurrence.
The manufacturing process for Coca-Cola is based carefully on measured combination of sugar, water and concentrates. The same standard is maintained throughout the globe.
NBC PLANT ORGANISATIONAL CHART