EFFECTIVE MARKETING AS A TOOL FOR ACHIEVING MAXIMUM CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN TELECOMMUNICATION INDUTRY”
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Telecommunication is explained by Bell Graham as communication between two people using equipment to overcome the effect, caused by distance or physical barriers between them. The communication needs not the two ways and the equipment need not necessity electronic. At a time, men depended on iron and wooden gong and the use of town criers to exchange vital information while some animals were used to achieve the purpose in primitive days. Those methods thought a bit cumbersome in modern age, since they cannot meet the need of widely dispensed large audience, they still compliment the modern media including the telecommunication. The world today is becoming a global village and a necessary tool for this process is communication of which telecommunication is a key player. The quantum development in the telecommunication industry all over the world is very rapid as one innovation replaces another in a matter of weeks. A major breakthrough is the wireless telephone system which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the global system of mobile communication (GSM).
Communication without doubt is a major driver of any economy, emerging trends in socio-economic growth shows a high premium being placed on information and communication technology (ICT) by homes, organizations and the nation.
Nigeria is not left out in the race for rapid development as nations economy has been subjected to years of economic reverse as mismanagement which leads to gross underdevelopment in the telecommunication sector which facilities was first established in 1886 by the colonial administration. Until the early 90’s when the President Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida deregulated the sector with the establishment of the telecommunication regulatory body, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). So far, the NCC has issued various license to privet communication operators, which allowed privet telephone operators to roll out fixed wireless telephone lines and analogue mobile phones.
The return of democracy however paved way for the granting of GSM licenses to some service providers, hence, the tele-density of about 0.5 telephone lines per 1000 people have dramatically increased. In May 2000, the federal government of Nigeria came out with a national telecommunication policy which recognizes that an efficient, reliable and affordable telecommunication system is a key factor in the overall development of any nation and such system must be universally accessible and cost effective. The over-riding objective of the policy was to achieve the modernization and rapid expansion with the ultimate goal of making telecommunication service affordable, reliable and available to all. Also, the policy had the objective to create enabling environment that will attract investors and resources to achieve. No doubt, Nigeria becomes an irresistible lure to telecommunication investors not withstanding the purported high cost of doing business in the country. The share size of Nigeria and her teeming population is enough incentive for investors to confront the Nigerian business challenge frontally. However, with the full emergency of the long awaited induction of the country into obvious global club of mobile phone technology become a reality. Arising from the forgoing, the global system of mobile communication has become the heart of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria from mere 450,000 active subscribers in 2001 to over imitation subscribers now. Putting aside the positive influences grained by the nation through the process of granting operational licenses to the GSM system operators, the nation benefited also from massive influx of eternal funds and technocrats used in setting up the operation as the system has truly opened on new job opportunities to the teeming unemployment populations of the country who are now directly or indirectly employed.
Regrettably, however, the teeming subscribers to the operation of the GSM network in the country are now generally frustrated and dissatisfied with the grade of service, (Onwubalili 2003). Then the fundamental question becomes, how do the operators sustain the ever increasing subscribers base. It is competition not prestige that has driven growth in the industry hence a need to see how effective marketing should help to satisfy the teeming GSM subscribers is to be looked into in this research work.
MTN, one of the GSM operators in Nigeria was taken as a case study because it is believed to be the most stable of the operators since operation in 2001. MTN has the highest subscribers (NCC 2006), they also have the largest coverage which is believed to be a huge advantage on the fight to sign up subscribers. Importantly, the marketing strategy of MTN Nigeria will be compared to other GSM operators which will include the role of the customer care unit of all the GSM operators.
BRIEF HISTORY OF MTN NIGERIA
MTN Nigeria, an affiliate of MTN group South-Africa commences full commercial operation in Nigeria in August 2001 having received its digital mobile license on February 2001 with its co-operate head office in Church Gate Building, Victoria Island Lagos. MTN has sixteen (16) board members, fourteen (14) of whom are non-executive directors. The board has delegated certain responsibilities of three focused sub-committee, audit and conflicts, compensation, remuneration and human resources, and properties. In 2005, the board approved revised policies covering ethnics, business principle, whistle-blowing, document retention and guideline for the conduct of governmental relations, procurement standard policies and processes were enhanced to enable more meaningful support of local suppliers. The company has aggressively focused on the subscribers growth: supplied by rapid network roll out amid keen competition in the market.
Consequently, the company significantly increased its subscriber base from 5.6 million to 8.4 million. Coming off a low base, mobile penetration again increased significantly during the period 13% reflecting continued demand and safely issued related to based station and radio frequency are constantly monitored and militating steps taken wheel possible. In addition, MTN Nigeria applied internationally best practice in complying with local regulations. Specific issues raised by a broad spectrum of stakeholders includes noise and ground pollution. The company reaches its stakeholders through multiple communication strategies from prints and electronic to direct engagement briefing, symposium and work shops.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
With the advertisement of GSM system in Nigeria, subscribers like other counterparts in other parts of the world can use their mobile handset to do many things including voice calls, SMS, MMS, and other high level of services like WWW (World Wide Web) connection being incorporated by operators but these developments are now altered by some anticipated and unexpected problems.
The problem for sure have started impacting negatively on the overall grains so far made by the GAM system operators, the subscribers have been frosted the more by faulty marketing approach to some operators and the customer care services.
Hence to proffer solutions to some of the problems, it is necessary that an in-depth study on the effect of effective marketing on teeming subscriber for maximum satisfaction should be carried out. For sure, the teledensity in the country is one of the lowest in the world, a feat which could be fare better if telecommunication operators are repositioned to satisfy their customer because the complaints of the subscribers over the steep decline in the quality of service provided by the GSM operators have become more strident for a long time now (Wale .I. 2003) and this may be described as the gray cloud hanging over the silver lining of the GSM service in the country.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of the research work is to investigate the extent to which effective marketing skill could help propel customer satisfaction in the telecommunication industry, a case study of GSM giant, MTN Nigeria. The specific objectives are however under listed.
(a) To determine the role of promotion in satisfying customers
(b) To determine the role of customers unit in customer satisfaction.
(c) To identify the extent at which coverage age could help propel satisfaction.
(d) To investigate the effect of advertising (print & electronic) on the teeming subscribers and the effects on them.
(e) To seek possible alternatives to the marketing strategies being employed by the GSM operators.
(f) To identify the problem of marketing in the telecommunication and its effect on its subscribers.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study concerns itself with the various marketing strategies been employed by MTN Nigeria and its effects on the teeming customer while a comparative analysis will be done alongside the other GSM operators in Nigeria to see how customers felt.
More so, the proposed research work will examine trends problem, prospects of MTN Nigeria and its effect on her customers and finally, its marketing strategies.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work will expose to the GSM operators, the effect of customer neglect on network expansion and network stability. It will also help the Nigerian communication Commission to see the need to formulate policy that will emphasis customer relationship on satisfaction to the GSM operators and will also suggest marketing strategies which could be used to discard and the one to embrace depending on the information gotten from the customers.
Finally, it will intensify competition among the operators as all will want to brace up to impress their various customers.
This research seeks to provide answers to the following questions:
(a) What effect does advertisement have on subscribers?
(b) What are customers motivating factors towards MTN services?
(c) What is the relationship between customer satisfaction and its marketing skills?
(d) What are the effective marketing strategies or skills that can be employed and the effect on the customers?
(e) What effect does customer negligence has on the services of MTN.
(f) Effectiveness of pricing and billing on customers.
ALTERNATIVE: Effective marketing is a tool for achieving maximum customer satisfaction in telecommunication industry.
NULL: Effective marketing is not a tool for achieving maximum customer satisfaction in telecommunication industry.
ALTERNATIVE: The effective use of marketing as a tool in achieving maximum satisfaction in telecommunication industry has brought an alarming increase of MTN subscribers.
NULL: The effective use of marketing has not brought an alarming increase of MTN subscribers.
ALTERNATIVE: There is no other network that amounts to MTN in achieving its customer satisfaction in terms of quality of service and good customer relationship.
NULL: There are other network that amounts to MTN in achieving customer satisfaction in terms of quality service and good customer relationship.
1.6 DEFINATION OF TERMS
SERVICES: These are separately identifiable, in tangible activities, which provide wants, satisfaction when marketed to customers and or industrial users and which are not necessarily tied to the sales of a good or other services.
MARKETING: Is a human activities directed towards satisfying needs and wants to the customers, for the profitability of the firm, through exchange process.
EFFECTIVENESS: Making a strong or pleasing impression.
TELECOMMUNICATION: Communication by phones, radio and cable.
CUSTOMER: A person or an individual who purchases goods or services.
STRATEGIES: Forming a plan or plans to achieve a specific purpose or gain an advantage.
SATISFACTION: Genetic benefit or pleasure someone derives from consuming a given product or services.
GSM: Global System of Mobile Communication.
NCC: Nigerian Communication Commission.
SUBSCRIBERS: A person or group of individuals who pay money, usually to receive a service.
GDP: Gross Domestic Product.
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