Effect Of Public Relations On Customers’ Preference For Global System For Mobile Communications (GSM) Services
This study was intended to evaluate the effect of public relations on customers preference for global system for mobile communication services. This study was guided by the following objectives; To examine the effect of customer relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc. To examine the effect of community relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc. To evaluate the effect of corporate social responsibility on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc. To examine the effect of employee relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc.. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the correlation statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentages. The study findings revealed that public relations has an effect on customers preference for global system for mobile communication services.
1.1 Background of the Study
The purpose of public relations practice is to establish a two-way communication seeking common ground or areas to mutual interest, and to establish understanding based on the true knowledge and full information. The scale of activity to promote good public relations may vary considerably according to the size and nature of the interested parties, but the philosophy, and strategy and methods will be similar whether the public relations programme is designed to influence international understanding or to improve relations between a service-provider and its customers (Nwude & Uduji, 2013). Lenka, Suar and Mohapatra (2009) observe that public relations is a term that is wildly misunderstood and misused to describe anything from selling to hosting, when in fact, it is a very specific communication process. Every company, organization, association and government body deals with groups of people affected by what that organization does or says (Simeon, 2012).
Sharma and Rao (2010) observe that they might be employees, customer’s stockholders, competition suppliers or just the general population of consumers a company interacts with on-a daily basis, and these groups may be referred to as one of the origination’s publics and hence impact of are impacted by the organization’s activities. Sharma and Rao (2010) therefore maintain that public relations manages the organization’s relationship with these publics. Importantly, governments, companies and organizations know they must consider the public impact of their actions and decisions because of the powerful effect of public opinion. This is why Rehman and Ahamed (2008) suggest that in times of crisis, emergency or disaster, public relations is especially needed to handle public opinion and hence, limit the negative impact it could have on the organization. However, this is also true for major policy decision concerning changes in business management, pricing policies, labour negotiations, introduction of new products or changes in distribution methods. Each of these decisions affects different groups in different ways. In other words, efficient and affective public relations managers can use the power of these groups opinion to bring about positive changes. Similarly, Odu and Ihejiamiazu (2000) assert that it is crystal that the purpose of everything labelled ‘public relations’ is to influence public opinion towards building good will and positive reputation for the organization or company.
The service industry in Nigeria is increasingly becoming complex with emerging issues and challenges that require creative and imaginative solutions from those involved. With the ongoing process of globalization, access to information through the ever-dynamic communication technologies are exposing individuals to new realities that promote new tastes, expectations and demands on product and services providers in p laces like Nigeria (Odu & Ihejiamiazu, 2000). Nwagbara (2001) opines that for the business sector competition is getting stiffer by the day, the challenges to remain profitable in business with appreciable public support and understanding are indeed enormous due to growing national and international competitions complex and challenging operational climate, hostile surrounding communities, growing expectations, security issues, depressed nature of the economy, increasing rates of poverty among the general population, rising costs of production, unending demands from labour, unpredictable government policies, expensive media services etc. These and many more, Nwagbara (2001) identifies as issues that continue to chalets the performance of companies and other private sector concerns in Nigeria. In other words, management of business has to deal with complex environmental issues that affect their business in continuously changing and challenging circumstances like what we are currently experiencing in Nigeria.
Thus, multiple institutional strategies that include effective public relations are evolved and implemented to ensure that their businesses succeed and the public understands and appreciates their existence. Among the most effective and highly reliable options for achieving such objectives, as contained in Anyim, Chidi and Badejo (2012), is the public relations units. Such units, they asserts, facilitate an organization’s capacity to anticipate and adapt to societal demands and trends that positively impact on company’s image and reputation that result in better environment; and which can lead to increase in sales.
Though, many marketing practices have been adopted to help a company cope in volatile markets like Nigeria, this study will seek to investigate the impact of public relations in the service industry as it related to MTN Nigeria Plc.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is often said that public relations is a link between an organization and its various publics and is one of the important tools to communicate with than in order to advance goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. As a result of this inherent importance of public relations, it has received considerable attention from researchers like Lenk, Suar and Mohapatra (2009); Sharma and Rao (2010); Rehman and Ahmed (2008); Odu and Ihejiamiazu (2000); Nwude and Uduji (2013), Broom and Smith (1999); Grunig and Grunig (2000) and a host other. However, it has been observed in the existing literature that most of the scholarly work on the impact of public relations in the service industry were conducted in developed countries of the world, especially in the European and Asian countries. Only a few have been made to cover developing countries in Africa. This had created a gap that needs to be filled by research on the subject matter.
That gap, therefore, is what this research attempts to fill and to add to the available literature, by providing empirical data on the impact of public relations in Nigeria’s service industry as it relates to MTN Nigeria plc.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research has the broad objective of investigating the effect of public relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc, and the following specific objectives:
- To examine the effect of customer relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc.
- To examine the effect of community relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc.
- To evaluate the effect of corporate social responsibility on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc.
- To examine the effect of employee relations on customers’ preference for GSM services of MTN NIG Plc.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
- H0 There is no significant relationship between public relations and customer preference
- H1. There is significant relationship between public relations and customer preference
1.5 Scope of the Study
The area of coverage of the study focuses principally on customer’s preference with the services of Global System Mobile Telecommunication (GSM). Definitely, there are more than three leading telecommunication operators in Nigeria but the study has decided to focus mainly on one big GSM service provider of the Telecommunication Industry. MTN. The study will analyze and evaluate the extent of customer preference of the services rendered by the operator. The study equally conduct independent investigation into activities of MTN, to measure the magnitude of contentment of customers with the services of MTN. This study is interested to note if the erratic boom that has been achieved in the telecommunication sector has equally translated into significant customers’ satisfaction. This will be measured by evaluating the quantity [number of subscribers], quality and accessibility of the various services of telecommunications industry before the new emerging markets and the period of this GSM revolution.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research work also deal purposively and significantly with the following:
- Improvement in the service quality of MTN
- Fostering development in the economy.
- MTN is a telecom firm that renders services to over a million Nigerian citizen, this research work aims to enhance the adoption of a strategic tool or mechanism to facilitate customer retention and loyalty.
- Re-structuring relationship between MTN and its customers.
- Exposure to innovative services for contentment.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
It’s a second generation telecommunication technology, otherwise referred to as international System for Mobile Telecommunication.
Customer preference as a ‘person’s feeling of pleasure or disappointment which resulted from comparing a product’s perceived performance or outcome against his/her expectations’.
Performance of duties or provision of house and instrumentality useful to others
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter presents an overview of the study, summary of the major findings, conclusion, recommendations and suggestions for further study.
5.1 Summary of the Study
This study was structured into five chapters, Chapter one gave an insight to the background of Global System telecommunication service relating to the historical background of how telecommunication came into Nigeria and different telecommunication companies arose from the fall of NITEL due to lack to satisfy telecommunications wants of the country. MTN was the case study based on the satisfaction of their customers and it was viewed from within the context of public relationss, network quality and the satisfaction at which the customers get from the telecommunication provider. This chapter started with the background to the study, identified appropriate problems related to the study, outlined the objectives of the study, formulated appropriate research questions, hypotheses and examined the rationale for the hypothesis. . Also highlighted were the scope of study, significance of the study, operational definition of terms used in the study.
Chapter two concentrated on establishing a detailed explanation of the conceptual review on ten variables(customer preference, importance of customer’s preference, customer services, service quality, dimensions of service quality, customers loyalty, factors influences customer preference, factors influences customer loyalty, relation between customers satisfaction and loyalty, measuring customers satisfaction), the theoretical review laid emphasis on Assimilation theory and Equity Theory . An empirical review of related literature and identification of gaps were also undertaken, as well as the formulation of a conceptual framework. The methodology used in the research is presented in chapter three. The research design, study population, sampling unit and sampling technique, method of data collection, research instrument, research tool validity and reliability, data analysis and ethical factors were presented. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, survey method was used and a sample size of 400 was drawn from a population of 5,405,703 using Taro Tammane formula. The sampling technique used was a multi-staged sampling technique which involved various other techniques in an interdependent manner. Under, the multi-staged sampling the purposive sampling was employed which involves the selection of only MTN subscribers for study and then the stratified sampling followed suit where the sample were developed into various strata and the respondents were chosen through simple random selection. A structured questionnaire was designed and structured into two sections. The first section solicited for the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents, while the other section were made up of selected question towards respondent’s perception. The instrument was then administered to the general public. Data collected were analyzed through descriptive statistics which included frequencies and percentages distribution tables and also diagrammatic representation through respective bar charts. For inferential statistics, chi square test method was used to analyze data.
According to the research findings, the public relations of MTN has a positive relationship with customer preference meeting the significance threshold. The time taken to respond to a call and the time taken to resolve complaints are prompt, ability to get attendant quickly, attitude of the attendant, and ability of the attendant to provide a solution are the parameters in form of statements used to the service of public relations to satisfy customers. This study shows a significant relationship between customer preference with both network quality and public relations which strongly indicates to network operators that the two latter variables should be handled strategically so as not to miss out in current world of dynamism and stringent competition.
5.3 Policy Recommendations
As competition is increasing among the companies especially in the mobile market, the market has become more extremely competitive and the service providers are moving aggressively in attracting customer via offering attractive promotion and services. Therefore, the service providers should take the necessary action for them to know the effect that will make customers more satisfied in choosing their services and also retain the existing customers and attract new customers into their company. The findings in this study are very informative for mobile network operators which indicates that quality of services, customer services, billing and price and network connectivity have high impact on customer preference. Therefore the companies should look back at their services whether are compatible or not with the price, the quality and also the attitude of the staff that handling their customers. In motivating the customers of mobile telecommunication, the mobile network operators or providers should continuously satisfy its customers by improving all the factor that being analyzed in this study especially the quality of services in ensuring the customer intention to buy their product is achieved.
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