ASSESSMENT OF CUSTOMER RELATIONS PRACTICES IN NIGERIA BANKS WITHIN UYO METROPOLIS
1.1 Background to the study
The contribution of banking industry to the national economy is increasingly phenomenal in Nigeria. This is not only visible in the prominent role the sector plays in stabilizing the money market and trade transactions, but also in the efforts to increase public awareness of it activities. With public awareness of what and how the banking industry operates as well as contributes to their personal and group well-being, the confidence of the public toward the sector, as custodians of their micro and macro economics is at stake.
The banking industry is therefore sad steel with the big task of creating and sustaining the image of reliability, good service delivery and innovativeness. The image building task therefore rests not with the mainstream banking activities, but with the field of public relations. The custodians of image making and reputation management business.
As Jeff (2007:121) notes, most business concerns today are tied to efforts to maximize profit by lowering cost and sustaining customer’s satisfaction, through consistent routine and loyal patronage. In response to the increasing interest in creating and maintaining good customer patronage and satisfaction, the public relations business has extended its focus by adding a fresh and specially called customer relation. Although the practice of customer relation is not entirely new to most sectors of national life, it has, in recent time become a major tool of competition in the Nigeria baking sector (Simeon 2005). This trend is not surprising. Because, all the banks appears to offer similar services under different packages to customers. So customers do not necessarily have to patronize a bank because of the range of services but must consider how such services are rendered. Among the range of complaints that customers seem comfortable to talk about banks in Nigeria include: lack of prompt attention survey responses to customer’s enquiries; hoarding of information meant for customer’s enlightenment staff resentment toward how depositors, stringent and almost impossible response process toward customers complaints.
These and many others unstated observations have created the need to study the customer relations practices of the baking institutions from the view point and perceptions of the public and the customers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is no doubt that, the Nigerian banking industry is experiencing the best of time in its history, giving the confidence, the public appears to have towards them in recent times. There is also no doubt that, such public confidence and trust are made possible by the recent consolidation policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which has helped to strengthen their capital base up to 25 billion naira.
What however seems doubtful about the present sate and future of the banks, in relations to public patronage, image and confidence use is the worry about first, how the 25 billion capital base can be sustained without public patronage and satisfaction and how the banks can keep pace with the changing taste and composition of customers, especially as bankers are controlled by strict professional cultures.
Against this background the question is: Can customer relations practices affect the performance of banks in Uyo metropolis.