USING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT AS A STRATEGIC TOOL IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF THE NATIONAL INVESTMENT BANK, GHANA

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ABSTRACT
Current trends in the global economy have resulted in widespread mistrust of financial insti-tutions. The purpose of this thesis is to determine how financial institutions, such as the National investment bank of Ghana are able to maintain lasting relationships with their customers, which is believed to be the main source of profit for most companies. A secondary objec-tive is to identify the services customers need at the present time in order for them to stay loyal to National Investment Bank Ghana. The main aim of customer relationship management is to build long-term relationships with customers, making customer relationship management a vital tool in today’s business environment.

The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on theories of customer relationship man-agement, business-to-business marketing, key accounts management, marketing communica-tion, which are discussed in the literature review. Interview questionnaires were sent to management representatives of the bank to establish the methods being used to encourage customer commitment. Business-to-business customers were also interviewed to identify the services they need and expect from management. The research was done using a qualitative research approach.


The results showed that the management uses a number of strategies such as regular visits to customers, free financial advice, and long-term loans to keep and attract new customers to the bank. Although the customers interviewed were satisfied with most of the current ser-vices they received, they made suggestions, such as the introduction of master and visa cards, the opening of more branches, reduction in delays at the banking halls, and extra training to the front desk service providers. From the perspective of the interviewees, these changes would lead to greater customer satisfaction and encourage them to be regular customers of the national investment bank.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Introduction
            1.1 Research background
            1.2 Research objectives
            1.3 Research question
            1.4 Action research
            1.5 Theoretical background
            1.6 Structure of the thesis

2 Theoretical background
            2.1 Customer relationship management
            2.2 Objectives and characteristics of customer relationship management
            2.3 Selecting customer relationship strategy
            2.4 Customer life cycle
            2.5 Customer acquisition
            2.6 Customer retention
            2.7 Customer loyalty
            2.8 Customer satisfaction
            2.9 Customer lifetime value
            2.10 Business to business marketing
            2.11 Key accounts management
            2.12 Selecting most valued customer
            2.13 Marketing communication
            2.14 Marketing communication mix
                        2.14.1 Advertising
                        2.14.2 Sales promotion
                        2.14.3 Personal selling
                        2.14.4 Public relations
                        2.14.5 Direct marketing
            2.15 Summary of customer relationship management
            2.16 Theoretical framework

3 Research method
            3.1 Qualitative methods
            3.2 Data collection
            3.3 Primary data
            3.4 Secondary data
            3.5 Reliability and validity of the research
            3.6 Empirical research
            3.7 Ghana banking environment
            3.8 Introduction to the case company National Investment Bank
            3.9 Swot analysis of NIB

4 Results of the thesis
            4.1 Analysis of results
            4.2 Conclusion
            4.3 Theoretical linkage
            4.4 Future research challenges
            4.5 Summary
References


1       Introduction

Currently, there is fierce competition among businesses and financial institutions are no ex-ception. Competition is such that some companies are increasingly finding it difficult to dif-ferentiate their market offering from those of their competitors, causing duplication on the market and making such products lose their competitive edge.

In order to lead in the field of competition, some companies have now turned to the use of customer relationship management (CRM). Instead of focusing on market offerings, they con-centrate on creating satisfied customers and creating long lasting relationships.

According to Kotler et al (2009, 661), a satisfied customer would not only return to use ser-vices, but would also serve as a moving advertisement. This provides dual benefits for com-panies when they concentrate on customer relationship management.

However with the advancement in information technology, much information is available to customers, making them more demanding, as more information is available to them about market offerings. It has become difficult to manage customers with abundant information and knowledge about other market offerings from competitors.

According to Phelps (2009, 5) each customer is unique and hence there must be a special way of dealing with them in order to maximize profit. Customers in the initial stages of the rela-tionship are usually costly and expensive for companies: as long-term relationships are built with them, the more profitable they become for companies. (Phelps 2009, 26)

This research focuses on how the case company National Investment Bank acquires new cus-tomers and establishes long-term customer relationships. This is achieved through an analysis of the organizations internal customer acquisition strategy, by identifying the kinds of ser-vices customers need, and expect from the bank in order for it to be competitive among fi-nancial institutions in Ghana.

1.1     Research background


As stated earlier competition is driving all organizations and institutions to manage their cus-tomers in a relationship way, and customer relationship management has become an issue in financial institutions. The financial institutions include, retail and corporate private invest-ment banks, personal and group pensions, mutual funds, investment funds, life insurance and general insurance, credit card issuers, stock exchange, brokers and agents, and specialist lending and leasing companies and many more who engage in the creation and delivery of financial service. (Cheverton et al. 2004, 4).

Financial service affects virtually all lives and the services they provide include current ac-counts, savings accounts, home loans, personal loans, general insurance, stock and shares, provision of credit and debit cards, mutual funds, life assurance, pensions and many more. (Cheverton et al. 2004, 6).

Financial institutions are distinguished by the services they provide; thus banking or insur-ance. However, in recent times single organisations operate both services as a result of the merger between most insurance companies and banks. This has brought a new system called „bancaassurance‟. According to Cheverton et al. (2004, 8), these mergers have increased the number of companies providing financial services. This has left management with the respon-sibility of keeping long relationships with customers and making them profitable in the future.

Traditionally, financial institutions are seen as product-centric organisations. They concen-trate on products and function centred approach rather than customer centric. However, in these modern times most organisations are moving to a customer- centric approach in order that they would have higher returns on their capital invested and to gain more profitable cus-tomers by building relationships with them. This thesis will address the question of how these financial institutions achieve this customer-centric approach and how they maintain long-lasting relationships with their customers.

At the time of independence in 1957, Ghana the home country of the case company (National Investment Bank) had only 3 banks, each with the basic responsibility of commercial banking, agricultural development banking, and development banking. The trend has changed; accord-ing to the Bank of Ghana, the country currently has 30 banks 135 rural banks, and 48 nonbank financial institutions. (Bank of Ghana, 2011).

1.2     Research objectives


The objective of this research is to show the current nature of customer relationship man-agement in the case company, and also outline the expectations of customers from the case company‟s relationships managers. It also includes discovering, how the case company NIB keeps long lasting relationships with their business- to- business customers. Again, it seeks to unveil what services customers require that are not available to them at the moment in order to make the bank competitive with other giants in the market.


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