THE IMPACT OF CUSTOMER CARE ON CONSUMER PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR IN THE LIFE ASSURANCE INDUSTRY IN GHANA. A MODERATING EFFECT OF EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

ABSTRACT
In the life assurance industry in Ghana, customer care has become a pivotal aspect. Swift delivery and efficient services are vital when it comes to payment of claims. However, the industry is besieged with several complaints from customers as a result of deficiencies in claim settlement. The study therefore seeks to unravel the impact of customer care and consumer purchasing behaviour on life assurance products in Ghana. Enterprise Life Assurance Company Ltd was purposively selected for this study and 396 subscribers were sampled and questionnaires administered to them. Statistical tools embedded in the SPSS were used to analyse the data and it was revealed that there is high level of customer care practices at Enterprise Life Assurance Ltd in terms of proficiency of service delivery, media and presentation of messages to customers, the physical and ethical excellence, service delivery process, security and dynamic operations, credibility and functionality. Enterprise Life Assurance Company Ltd also provides high level of physical and ethical excellence in terms of the provision of proper drinking water and sanitary facilities and visually appealing signs, symbols, advertisement boards, fliers, and other artifacts in the branch offices. Key among the recommendations are further improving the customer care practices of the company, training of staff on customer care practices, awareness creation about the products and policies of the company and customer segmentation.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the study
Excellent, quality, efficient, competent and exceptional customer care is paramount in any viable establishment. It is therefore not surprising that, customer care remains as the essential and most deliberated subject in the public or private business environments. This is expected because customers in the twenty first century are and will continue to be elegant and value cognizant. In the context of marketing, customers will have preference for certain kinds of product or service and these preferences, attitudes and among others can affect consumption (Brassington and Pettitt, 2003). Customers have less time but want to purchase products and services worth paying for.

The lifeline of any firms depends solely on its customers, therefore the relationship between the firm and its customers should be the first on its list of preference. Establishments will only succeed when its goals of attracting, building and keeping loyal customers is a topnotch otherwise will be a failure. Therefore, meeting the needs of customers through excellent service delivery on the part of the firm cannot be overlooked in any organization that seeks to succeed. This is what (Timm, 2008) rightly put it as “organization serves, and succeed through service”. In support of the argument (Swanson & Hsu 2009) opined that customers are considered a real asset to firms. Customer care undoubtedly plays such a significant part in a company‟s capacity to increase productivity. In this regards, financial institutions (Life Assurance companies) cannot afford not to include customer service in their overall operations in an attempt to improving its business outcomes, and consistency should be key. Negative customer service is more likely to trigger equally negative feedbacks since customers mostly pass on these information to friends, family and relatives (NIC, 2008). It is imperative, therefore for businesses to strive for an outstanding customer service to avoid the negative image which has a potential of reducing their outcome.

“A consumer‟s buying behavior is influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological factors, most of these factors are uncontrollable and beyond the hands of marketers but they have to be considered while trying to understand the complex behaviour of the consumers” (Brosekhan, and Velayutham, 2013). Studies on customers‟ purchasing behaviour place a lot of value on customers and have maintained that they play three different roles: as users, payers and buyers (Ibid). Understanding consumer behaviour can be helpful in the Life Assurance industry in Ghana. To appreciate how clients think, feel and purchase a products, brands among others over some and how they are influenced by cultural, social, personal, psychological and customer care services and salespersons and so on (Ibid). Swift delivery and efficient services are vital when it comes to payment of claims, responsive team of workers that are ever ready to offer help or assistance upon request and consistent feedback and many others are some of the expectations of a twenty first century life assurance consumer (Amartey, 2007). These concerns do not operate in a vacuum rather in a well, efficient and proactive consumer relation services and satisfaction.

The competitive nature of the life assurance industry in Ghana and the ease at which life assurance policies are cut-and-pasted gives the consumer a lot of option to select from. The challenge this present is the „conflict‟ among assurers to amass “customers share” and the need for reliable customers base through efficient customer care, which is a very essential for service providing entities to be successful (Sweeney and Swait, 2008; Bowen and Chen, 2001). Loyal customers in the service industry (Life Assurance industry) have a habit of remaining faithful to their client and tend to pass on positive feedbacks which mostly favour their ideal assurer (Sweeney and Swait, 2008). In an emerging economy like Ghana, where most people are becoming more enlightened through education and becoming more informed of their rights as consumers, they are able to complain and demand better customer care. On one hand, many past studies in customer care and customer purchasing behaviour in the African context in general and Ghana in particular are very scanty. Much of the empirical research on customer focused on American, European, and Asian consumers. Therefore, a study on customer care and purchasing behaviour in Ghana would increase the body of knowledge in this thematic area within the African and Ghanaian context. The study therefore seeks fill this gap by assessing customer care and consumer purchasing behavior based on the educational background of the consumer.

1.2 Problem Statement
The Ghanaian financial sector has been penetrated by many private ones which is not bad in itself but the critical question is; are they offering different services and products since their inception in the year 2000? The industry base has widened but in terms of products and services they offer much needs to be done. This presupposes that the Ghanaian financial industry (Life Assurance firms) has attained the maturity phase of the „product lifecycle‟ which makes products and services provided by these firms more commoditized as a result of the identical products. The danger therefore, is the competition for “customer share” (Mendzela, 1999). Firms therefore remain profitable and viable when they manage to keep as many as possible loyal customers in the mist of this competition.

In the life assurance industry in Ghana, customer service has become a pivotal aspect since the sector has seen significant growth and transformation since the introduction of private life assurance firms both within and across regions. Swift delivery and efficient services are vital when it comes to payment of claims. Responsive team of workers that are ever ready to offer help or assistance upon request and consistent feedback and many others are some of the expectations of a twenty first century life assurance consumer (Amartey, 2007). However, the Life Assurance industry is besieged with several complaints from customers. Deficiency in life assurance claim settlement is one of the issues pointed out by researchers concerning life assurance consumption in the industry (Omar & Owusu-Frimpong, 2007). In assessing consumers‟ outlooks with regards to life assurance consumption Omar & Owusu-Frimpong (2007) pointed out that there is absence of reliance and assurance with the life assurance firms. People reject life assurance on grounds that assurers do not pay when it comes to claims settlement and that the bureaucracy is cumbersome. Customer satisfaction become paramount in this regards. The challenge for life assurance industry is to “attract” customer‟s, build a base of satisfied clients, and create good relationship with customers through the provision of quality services that will satisfy customers which can also build their trust step by step hence retaining clients for a long period of time.

Though there are volumes of literatures assessing the relationship between customer care and consumer purchasing behaviour, the majority fail to examine the possible effect of moderators. The limited number of studies that examined the effect of moderators between this relationship failed to look at the possible moderating effect of moderators and hence the necessity for the current study. Moreover, the limited literatures on the moderating role of constructs between customer care and consumer behaviour are concentrated in the developed world and hence largely ignoring developing countries including Ghana. Therefore, the current study examines the moderating effect of education in the relationship between customer care and consumer purchasing behaviour from an African context.

This study intends to throw more light on the impact of customer care and consumer purchasing behaviour in the Life Assurance Industry in Ghana of course modeling that through customers‟ educational background which the researcher believes it can unpack some of the distrustful issues and encourage people to patronize life assurance.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 90 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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