THE IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AT SOCIAL SECURITY AND NATIONAL INSURANCE TRUST

ABSTRACT
The importance of Information Technology in any organization in this modern day cannot be overemphasized. Information Technology plays vital roles in data entry, data processing and security, and information distribution. For anorganization such as SSNIT, Information Technology is more than just a part of its operations. IT is needed to ensure that national pensions are administered with the highest form of integrity so that customers are duly satisfied during and after retirement. The primary aim of this research was toassess the impact of Information Technology on Customer satisfaction at SSNIT. 100 membersof staff and management with 400 customers were interviewed though simple random sampling. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed to seek the views of the respondents on the impact of IT in helping them on their job at SSNIT and in processing their social security as customers.

The findings were that IT does not only facilitate the work of the staff and management, but it also increases their efficiency and effectiveness in discharging their duties. Information Technology has reduced complaints of impersonation, identity theft, wrong payments as well as many other incidences. Customers also praised the role of IT in assisting them know more about their social security unlike in the past when they were in the dark over their contributions.

One major recommendation was that SSNIT should use this same Information Technology or acquire more to improve the good works they are doing. They should also educate the public more on changes in their operations and help the public know the distinction between challenges caused by IT or government policies, since many people get confused with both.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Insurance companies are investing an increasing proportion of IT budgets and resources on initiatives collectively described as IT transformation. And with these transformation efforts come a number of challenges around security, data management and new customer interaction channels. Around the world, a recent study on more than 1,100 executives, including CIOs, IT vice presidents, and IT directors found that the top five-major areas that present the most pressing challenge for Information Technology professionals include; Enhancing and protecting business value:- Aligning and integrating IT risk management and business continuity capabilities with broader, long-term business strategy,Cybersecurity:-Managing and strengthening security and privacy for the organizations' systems and data is now a top priority across all industries,Data classification:- Effectively organizing, managing, and securing growing amounts of data within the organization, IT asset and data management:- Improving data and information governance programs, driven by the growing use of mobile devices and applications and the continued integration of cloud computing into IT strategy and processes,Mobile platforms and social media:- Incorporating secure, integrated systems for mobile commerce, devices, etc., and addressing social media safeguards and strategy within the organization. These are challenges deemed global and therefore can affect any organization. It is therefore the responsibility of every organization to ensure that the right systems are put in-place to prevent cyber-theft and other forms of security breaches that can result in customers losing their life fortunes in an important industry such as the insurance industry. While trying to ensure the safety of customer investments, insurance companies must also ensure that their customers are satisfied and are provided highly resourceful services. Sawyer, Ebrahimi, and Luk (2003) reveal in their study done in Hong Kong and Nigeria respectively that there exist coexistence between perceived strategic uncertainty, scanning of environment, use of information source, and organizational performance.

Customer satisfaction also comes with enormous benefits to the insurance industry in general and to Social Security and National Insurance Trust in particular. Proper institution of customer service processes will enable the organization gain customer loyalty and respond to customer needs and feedback quickly and collaboratively. It will also provide clear visibility into enabling management identify which customers are dissatisfied and why, what actions have been or need to be taken and what appropriate responses have to be delivered. Furthermore it will facilitate concrete and actionable suggestions for improving performance, either overall or by segments. The bonding relationships between customers and organizations are hinged on trust which is aimed at achieving overall positive outcomes, and thus higher levels of trust and commitment in turn are attached with higher customer retention level, and this brings about increased organizational performance (Botha & Van Rensburg, 2010; Read, 2009).

The SSNIT Pension Scheme is Ghana's foremost pension scheme and is a social insurance scheme providing income protection for workers in both government and private sectors as well as for those in the informal sector (who voluntarily choose to join). These income earners, having signed on to the scheme, together with their employers, contribute 17.5 per cent of their declared monthly incomes to a common fund, the Social Security Fund. Contributions and returns on investments so received into the fund are then used to provide for members who fall due for benefits as prescribed by PNDC Law 247 (the legal framework by which the scheme operates) and general costs incurred in administering the scheme.

In return, contributors are rewarded with life-long part replacement of their lost incomes in the form of monthly guaranteed pensions when they grow old or are declared permanently incapacitated (by qualified health personnel) and in both cases, are unable to work to earn incomes anymore. However, one-time (lump sum) payments are made to dependents of members who die, while still working and pensioners who die before the age of 72. For now, it is clear that through SSNIT's financial contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), active contributors and SSNIT pensioners can enjoy an additional benefit from free medical care at designated NHIS health facilities.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
Identifying delays in the processing and payment of pensions is a serious drawback to the effective administration of the SSNIT pension scheme. First, it must be remembered that the scheme, being national in character, has a large membership (of over one million), with many having almost similar biological and financial data, i.e. names ,gender, dates of birth, parents' names, home towns, and income levels. Some have a combination of some of these data and work at the same workplaces at the same time and many other conflicting information. Again, it takes a long period of membership (except in some cases of death before retirement and invalidity), averagely 20 years, for one to qualify to access pensions, a period within which a lot of changes could have occurred in the life of a contributor. A combination of these factors demand that the information SSNIT has on the individual member at any point in time should be nothing but accurate and complete to enable prompt payment of benefits at the end of the customer’s period of contribution.

In 2002, SSNIT unveiled a strategic plan, in which it sought to address the problem. It tasked itself to reduce the time it took to process pensions from 46 days to 21, by the end of the plan period in 2006. To enable it meet this target, it introduced a number of measures, including cleaning up of data on contributors who were 54 years and above, mass distribution of contributors' statements of account, re-focusing its field operations to update of members' records (rather than collection of contributions from employers) and improving its information and communication technology (ICT) system. It also re-engineered its claim processing procedures through the introduction of information technology.

In many industries, firms have found opportunities to use Information Technology to reduce costs, improve quality and increase value to customers (Brian and Peffers, 2009). Recently, there have been many claims that investments in IT can improve a firm’s competitive position or allow a firm to become more vulnerable to competitive forces (Rockart, B.R. et al).

Various institutions are embarking on an aggressive drive to implement IT facilities to supplement and in some cases to revolutionize their operations. In spite of all these investments, there are divided opinions as to the benefits these technologies are having on the end users. Little has also been done to ascertain the relevance of these investments to customer satisfaction in these organizations. Customers of SSNIT are also not aware of certain vital extended services employed by SSNIT using Information Technology, and therefore have to troop to the office on daily basis to enquire about simple things which they could know by just a simple phone call or by the use an online service. The purpose of this research is therefore to examine the impact that Information and Communication Technology is having on customer satisfaction at SSNIT.

1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary aim of this research is to investigate the impact of Information Technology on customer satisfaction at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust. Other salient objectives will include;

1.      To determine the extent to which Information Technology has contributed to staff performance in delivering quality services to customers.

2.      To determine the level of customer satisfaction with SSNIT’s Information Technology services.

3.      To examine customer assessment of Information Technology use and their interaction with staff of SSNIT.

4.      To determine the Impact of Information Technology on customer satisfaction at SSNIT.

1.4 Research Questions
1.      Does the use of Information Technology positively affect staff performance in delivering quality customer services at SSNIT?

2.      What is the level of reliability and availability of SSNIT Information Technology services to their customers?

3.      How satisfied are customers of SSNIT with the processes involved in the processing of their social security benefits?

1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study
Regarding the scope of this project, every material presented in this study will be limited to the impact of information technology on customer satisfaction at SSNIT. The Social Security and National Insurance Trust has 50 branches in the nation. This study will focus on the Kumasi Area of the institution, which has 8 branches, due to limited time and resources. The proximity and time period allocated to this study didnot allow an extensive and detailed research into the topic. In spite of these limitations, it is hoped that this work would provide very useful insights into the topic. Limited time is identified as the main cause of these limitations. Nonetheless, the research will be conducted in such a manner that the researcher’s objective - the impact of information technology on customer satisfaction at SSNIT - will not be significantly affected. Conscious efforts would be made to gather all relevant information.

1.6 Significance of the Study
Advancement in technology has been a source of operational breakthrough for many large organizations especially when it comes to managing large amount of data. This study offers tremendous help to many companies especially the Management and Board of Directors of SSNIT. This study aids management in understanding the extent to which information technology has contributed to the timely, effective and efficient delivery of service to customers and enhancement of staff performance in the organization.

This project also adds to the existing literature on the subject of investigation into the impact of information technology on customer satisfaction at SSNIT in Ghana, as well as serves as a source of reference for further research in this subject area. Additionally, where the general public is concerned, the project will keep them up to date on issues regarding this particular subject.

1.7 Organization of the Study
This study is divided into five main chapters for the purpose of easy undertaking of the research and for standardization.

The first chapter which is the Introduction provides a detailed background to the study, the problem statement, research objectives, and the significance of the study, scope, limitation and organization of the study.

The Chapter One is followed by chapter two. The Chapter Two is the Literature Review. The literature review provides the detailed knowledge, conceptual and theoretical framework for undertaking the study. Relevant areas such as the importance of technology on service delivery, the measurement of customer satisfaction, etc. are covered in this chapter.

The Chapter Three which is the Methodology focuses on methods and techniques used in gathering and analyzing relevant data. The study population, the sample size, research instruments used, tools used in data collection and analysis, constraints and limitations of the research work are covered in this chapter

At the heart of this study is Chapter Four. The chapter four is the Data Analysis and Discussion of findings. This chapter gives a detailed analysis of the data gathered.

The study is climaxed by the Chapter Five which is the Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations. This chapter provides a summary to the findings, the conclusion to the findings and recommendations for advancement and further studies.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 65 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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