Customer Relationship Strategies And Marketing Success Of Food And Beverage Firms In Portharcourt
In this study attempt has been made to investigate customer relationship strategies/management and its relationship to marketing success of the food and beverage firms in Port Harcourt. The relationship of customer relationship strategies dimensions that relate to the necessity of focusing on key customers, organizational efficiency, customer knowledge management and technology based customer relationship strategies were assessed using primary data through distributing close ended questionnaire in the form of like five scale and dichotomies questionnaires to 100 customer officers and 22 managers working in the food and beverage firms in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The spearman correlation and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the research question derived from the Literature on Customer relationship strategies and marketing success. The findings indicate that there are positive relationship between customer relationship strategies and marketing success. The findings also suggest some measures which can be taken into consideration in order to enhance customer relationship strategies and marketing success of the firms in Port Harcourt. The study contributes to Customer relationship strategies and marketing success literature by indicating a mediating role of customer relationship strategies for marketing success of the firms in Port Harcourt.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Purpose of the Study
- 1.4 Objective of the Study
- 1.5 Research Questions
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of the Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organization of the Study
Review of Related Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Review
- 2.2 Empirical Review
- 3.1. Research Design
- 3.2. Sampling Design
- 3.3. Methods of Data Collection
- 3.4. Sources of Data
- 3.5. Methods of Data Analysis
- 3.6 Instrumentation
- 3.7 Method of Data Collection
- 3.8 Reliability of the Study
- 3.9 Validity of the Study
- 3.10 Ethical Consideration
Data Analysis and Result Presentation
- 4.1 Data Presentation
- 4.2 Summary of Findings
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1. Summary of the Major Findings
- 5.2. Conclusion
- 5.3. Recommendation
- 5.3. Further research
1.1. Background of the Study
The efficiency of industrial industry has been one of the major issues in the new monetary and turbulent financial environment. The efficiency and competitiveness of financial institutions cannot easily be measured, since their services are an intangible in nature. Thus, the evolution of Customer relationship strategies is found in relationship marketing theory which is intended at improving long term customer relationship by changing from transaction based Marketing, with its emphasis on attracting new customers, to customer retention through effective management of customer relationships to cope up with unstable financial crisis Christopher et al (1991).
According to Reich Held and W.Earl Sasser (1990) those customers who have been around long enough to get familiar with the company’s rules and principles, will make more valuable business relationships, will acquire more products and will be less price sensitive on individual offers.
Berry, L.L (1983) stated CRS as attracting, maintaining and multi-service organizations increasing customer relationship stages. This relational concept has been explained in the forms of supplier partnerships, lateral partnerships, buyer partnerships, internal partnerships, as well as Business to consumer relationship. Relationship marketing received more attention from scholars and practitioners in the last decade of 20th century because of two main issues: vitals to organization and the involvement of generic service characteristics. This theoretical paradigm redefines the focus of transactional marketing from attracting new customers to retaining existing customers for the purpose of achieving greater long-term profitable returns.
Keeping long term customer relationships brings into higher opportunities to sharpen competitive edge and greater profitability from higher satisfaction, greater customer loyalty and lifetime value, lower customer defection rate, more revenue generated and lower customer attraction costs. Relationship marketing arise Customer relationship strategies (CRS) which occupies an enviable status in the process of the management of industrial institutions now days. Customers are highly regards the assets of the modern firms and other institutions.
The present age is also known as the age of the people who matter most in the business environment. No organization can achieve commendable business success in the absence of meaningful Customer relationship strategies practices. Firms are trying to win over the hearts and souls of customers who are the force to be considered with. Relationship between a firm and its customers involves continuous, two-way communication and interaction. Such a relationship on the part of management is not an activity only within a marketing department, but also involves continuous corporate change in organizational culture and process Bly R.W., (1993).The study tried to assess the relation between customer relationship strategies on marketing performance of industrial industry considering UAC Foods, Marto Foods and Integrated Services, and Rutts Ocean Foods.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The adoption of Customer relationship strategies as a tool of competitive edge is in ascendance worldwide. Yet there is no doubt that an effective and efficient practice of customer relationship management is important to the successes of a firm; Parvatiyar A. and Sheth, T.N.,(2002). They stated that most of the firms adopting Customer relationship strategies are yet to highly benefit of it, because there are no laid down guidelines and procedures on adoption; implementation and practices. Most empirical industrial systems experience some degree of inefficiency in utilization of their resources and, especially with regard to managing the quality of buyer-seller relationships andservices.
Many studies have concluded that these arise for the following major reasons: the Service is very complex and customized in the transaction process; the external environment isdynamic rather than stable; and the marketing is uncertain when sellers are not sure what the service buyers want. Firms have always focused on customers, but today the focus is much more of tension. In part it’s result of the fact that customers are better informed and more likely to analyze their options so far.
The introduction of company portals and e-commerce applications of various kinds have increased the focus on customers and provides new ways to assure the processes support customers. It also placed a new attention on integrated processes and thinking about how processes work together to satisfy customers Harmon; (2003). Customer oriented ebusiness. Patterns include all the e-business activities that aim at increasing relationships with new customers, providing them with information, providing services online.
Different companies with individual needs emphasized different reasons for developing customer relationship management. Some of the common reasons cited by companies are reducing time to market improvement, organizational efficiency, reducing the latency of business event, integrating multiple channels, and maintaining more customer data on customer interests Harmon (2003).
From a purely economic point of view, firms learnt that it is less costly to retain customer than to find a new one. For these reasons customer has started receiving high attention as a key industrial resource to gain competitive advantages. Firms are most important constituents of the financial infrastructure of a country. They play a vital role in bringing about desired change in the economic development of a country.
Even though many theories were discussing how clients are satisfied, they have not yet investigatedcustomer relationship strategies and its relationship to marketing success of firms. Besides, they have not yet assessed the association between customer relationship management and marketing success of the firms. The firms are unable to balance customer relationship strategies and marketing performance.
This is due to in Nigeria almost the past two decades has shown that there were high expansions of industrial industry throughout the country. Thus, there is high competition among firms in attracting the customers of one another and difficulties in retaining the lost customers one from the other. According to mini research done by the researcher it shows gap in handling customers(30 percent of respondents), lack of advanced industrial technologies (20percent of respondents), and the remaining respondents concluded less emphasis to customer relationship strategies in relation to marketing success in adding wealth to the shareholders of the selected three firms Will assessed.
This problem (less emphasis to customer relationship) motivates the researcher to undertake the food and beverage firms for the study to address the observed problems in relation with their marketing success and to solve relationship among their customers to be loyal for lifelong.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to analyse customer relationship strategies and marketing success of food and beverage firms in Port Harcourt
1.4 Objective of the Study
- To identify the relationship between customer relationship strategies and marketing performance.
- To investigate the concerns of focusing on key customers by analyzing their demand to minimizing customers’ turnover.
- To indicate the association of customer relationship strategies based technology and marketing success.
- To analyze the relationship of Customer Relationship strategies and Marketing performances for maximizing the profit of the firms.
- To forward possible recommendation to address the problems in relation to customer relationship management and market performance of the firms.
1.5 Research Questions
Considering the objectives of the study the following research questions are deemed value forthe study.
- What is the relationship between customer relationship strategies and marketing strategies of the Firms?
- Does focusing on key customers associate to marketing success of the Firms?
- What is the association of customer knowledge management to marketing success ofthe Firms?
- What is the relationship between customer relationship-based technology and marketingperformance of the Firms?
- What is the relationship between organizational efficiency and marketing success ofthe Firms?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The result of this study would expect to be taken up by UAC Foods, Marto Foods and Integrated Services, and Rutts Ocean Foods to improve their Customer relationship strategies and marketing success. Also, it helps to provide important information for decision makers of the Firms. Therefore, the findings of this study specifically significant for the following reasons.
The result of this study would provides valuable inputs and directions to the firms to consolidate their marketing strategy, organizational efficiency, and customer knowledge management.
It can also help the firms to identify the needs of their customers in delivering advanced technologies to improve the quality of their services.
The study also helps to maintain the existing customer and attract the new customer by providing technology based service in light of its competitors.
1.7 Scope of the Study
Due to time and financial constraints in taking large sample size, it is difficult and unmanageable to include all branches of the food and beverage firms in Port Harcourt. Thus, the study would delimited to collect data from UAC Foods and also Marto Foods and Integrated Services. Additionally, the data will collect from Rutts Ocean Foods(employees refers in this study, only managers and Customer Officers having two or more years of experiences) working in the food and beverage firms.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study covered employees (customer officers and managers) considering UAC, Marto Foods and Integrated Services, and Rutts Ocean Foods employees working in the Head Office and branch firms located in Port Harcourt. In Nigeria, there is lack of sufficient research conducted on the study. Thus, it is difficult to obtain adequate data from published articles; journals concerning the financial institution working in the country (Nigeria). As result of this, the study only considers from employees point of about customer relationship and marketing success.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Customer Relationship Strategy
Is the combination of practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. The goal is to improve customer service relationships and assist in customer retention and drive sales growth
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work
1.10 Organization of the Study
The study consists of five chapters. The first chapter deals with introductory part which consists of background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, significance of the study, delimitation and limitations of the study. The second chapter deals with review of related literature and empirical findings; the third chapter deals with research methods and methodology. The fourth chapter presents the analysis and discussions from assessment of customer relationship management and its relationship to marketing success considering UAC Foods, Marto Foods and Integrated Services, and Rutts Ocean Foods from where the data were gathered. After collecting the data, the results of the study were analyzed and interpreted. Finally, based on the analysis and interpretation, conclusions and recommendations would forward.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1. Summary of the Major Findings
The results of the study were obtained through a close ended questioners distributed to 100 customers Officers and 22 dichotomous questionnaires to managers of UAC Foods, Rutts Ocean Foods and Marto Foods and Integrated Services. The study tried to assess the relationship between Customer relationship strategies and Marketing success of the food and beverage firms in Port Harcourt. Based on the results of the study, the following conclusions were forwarded.
- The study indicated that there was no customer centric performance standard and supervision at all touches point of Rutts Ocean Foods.
- Majority of the firms are not solving problems in relation with technical support on utilization of computer technologies and industrial technologies.
- The study also shows, there are variations among firms in providing technical support on utilization of computers and industrial technologies
- Most of firms are exerted on increasing market share and sales growth to improve marketing success.
- The study indicated that, three firms paid attentions to establish customer centric performance standards and supervision in all touch points of the firms.
- The study indicated that, customer retention strategy of UAC is not clearly implemented to have lifelong customer relationship.
- Firms are paying relatively high attention on customer retention to reduce customer’s turnover and improving marketing success through providing quality services.
- The study also shows that there is positive relationship between customer relationship strategies and marketing success
Based on the findings presented in the previous chapter, this chapter provides the conclusions reached as extent of CRS application and forward prospective measures that are aimed at moderating the prevailing deficiencies and further promote CRS practices of the Firms.
According to literatures, CRS involves cross-functional integration i.e. the integration of marketing, sales, customer service, IT and supply –chain functions of the organization to achieve greater efficiencies and effectiveness in delivering customer value. To do so, organizing around CRS, focusing on key customers, utilizing customer data to build knowledge about them and enhancing technological capability as an enable is essential and imperative.
Based on this premises, the CRS practices of the three Firms have been assessed from four behavioral dimensions where both employees and customers of the selected sample grade IV branches are included.
Per the foregoing findings the following conclusions are drawn;
- In the CRS practices of the Firms technology-based CRS performance as observed from the level of automation in the service and other functions is low and in slack.
- In the Key customer focus dimension has been doing well in strengthening the emotional bonds with its customers, its practice in terms of applying differential pricing schemes and cross-selling products/services is low.
- Concerning the aspects of organizing around CRS, CBE`s performance is significant having a top management that believes in building and maintaining customer relationship and customer relationship employees that are well informed of their customer relationship responsibilities. In this dimension, the deficiency in performance is observed as to the handiness of the working procedures and the reliability of the services therein.
- Overall, UAC and Rutts Ocean Foods performance in the extent to which it apply the four dimensions of the CRS in deploying CRS is nearly at the average level as observed by its customers. However, it is perceived to be slightly above the average level by its employees.
- Hence, it is confident to conclude that CBE`s level of CRS application is at the average level; the extent of application of the CRS organization dimension being the highest in achievement while the technology-based CRS practices are highly inadequate.
Based on the conclusion of the study, the researcher recommended the relationship between customer relationship strategies and marketing success under this study; focusing on the key customers, organizational efficiency, customer knowledge management, customer relationship strategies based on technology and marketing success. The three firms in Port Harcourt should pay attention on customer relationship strategies as it was found to have a direct, strong, positive and statistically significant correlation with the marketing success. Therefore, the researcher recommended the three firms should apply the following recommendations.
Key Customers Focus:
- They should apply effort in order to discover the needs of the key customers by applying different marketing strategies such as collecting feedback from the customer before and after delivering the service so the company should follow pulling marketing approach.
- They should give attention to provide services in line with the needs and specializations of the key customers. This can be applied by providing special corporate branches for those key customers.
- The marketing department of the three firms should show coordinated effort together with the employees to modify the service that the key customers need. Meaning the firms should use an integrated marketing mix for those key customers because the survival of the company’s is dependent on by these key customers.
- The three firms should have dialogue with key customers in order to identify where the demand of key customers lies and offering customized services to them.
- It is important that all individuals in the three firms deal with great care with the main customers to gain their loyalty. In addition to this, the three firms should follow the 20% and 80% principles in order to give great emphasis for the key customers.
- The three firms should give attention to enhance employee performance measurement and to reward them on basis of their level of achievement in succeeding customer services.
- The three firms should provide the necessary resources to enhance the skills of the employees to obtain customers and building harmonious relationships with them by analyzing the training gap needs and implement cost effective training program for better competitive advantages.
- It is necessary to assign clear business goals related to obtaining and attracting new customers.
- The three firms should practice the necessary marketing experiences of industrial and succeeding marketing success.
- It is necessary to assign standards of customer centric performance and monitor them in all point of contact.
- The three firms should give more emphasis to time and other necessary resources to manage customer relationship.
Customer Knowledge Management:
- The three firms could provide ongoing two way communication to address different problems.
- The three firms should address problems related to the needs of the key customers.
- It is necessary to help customers exactly their expectation about the time of services’ when their service is performed.
- The three firms should provide continuous two-way communication channels between the customers and themselves.
Incorporating Customer relationship strategies based Technology:
- The firms should maintain comprehensive databases of customers to improve their services.
- The firms should have necessary hardware and software facilities to address the dynamic need of customers towards advancement of industrial technologies.
- The firms should be exerting more attention to provide individual customer information availability at every point of contact.
- It is necessary to adjust technical personnel support for utilization of computers and industrial technologies to improve the capability of employees about the technologies.
Firms should improve the marketing strategies to be profitable in the market since the industry is currently seeking stiff competition.
- Emphasis should be paid to the presence of industrial technologies, so that they are supported with all information related to customers in order to address the demand of customers.
- It is necessary to disseminate practices of marketing through harmonious relationships based on the presence of lifelong relationships with the customer through total commitment to satisfy his/her needs towards the concerns of quality on the part of each individual in the firms of Port Harcourt.
- Customer-orientation through building relationships and directing the resources of the firms in Port Harcourt towards achieving the objectives and the needs of the customers and measuring the ability to provide a value for the customer to develop marketing practices.
- Attentions should be paid in continuous supervision and monitoring the quality of services that the key customers need.
5.3. Further Research
- The study focused on three firms in Port Harcourt. Additional research is necessary to determine if the relationships identified can be generalized to other firms through comparative study.
- In addition to this, variables which are not included under this study such as enhancing the standard sales growth and adding the net profit standard to sales.
- Furthermore, further researchers can be conduct research as firms in Nigeria or regional wise.
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