THE IMPACT OF CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN THE BANKING SECTOR OF CAMEROON
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The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of CRM on customer satisfaction (CS) in SGC and Ecobank in the Buea municipality. The total population of the study was made up of 10450 customers from which a sample of 400 respondents were selected using multi-stage sampling. Applying proportionate sampling, 280 respondents were drawn from Ecobank and 120 respondents from SGC.
The primary data was collected through questionnaires from customers of SGC and Ecobank in a five point Likert scale ranging from strongly agree (SA) to strongly disagree (SD).
Based on multiple regression analysis, this paper finds these results that the regression indicated these four predictors: customer acquisition, customer retention, customer value increase, and complain handling when applied altogether, explained 43% of the variance (R2 = 0.43, F=5.21, P< 0.05), to customer satisfaction in terms of security, 59% of the variance (R2 = 0.59, F =10.09, P<0.05), to customer satisfaction in terms of convenience, 63% of the variance (R2= 0.63, F= 49.201, P<0.05), to customer satisfaction in terms of service charges,50% of the variance (R2=0.50, F= 17.57, P<0.05), to customer satisfaction in terms of credibility.
Percentages were used to present descriptive findings. Hypotheses were further tested using the calculated t-values in the regression tables to provide answers to specific research objectives.
The researcher found that customer value increase practice by banks, and customer retention significantly predicts customer satisfaction as did customer acquisition and complain handling. The study proposed that there is no impact of CRM dimensions on customer satisfaction.
The regression analysis revealed that there is a statistical positive relationship between CRM dimensions and customer satisfaction.
Finally, this research recommended keeping effective contact to increase familiarity between banks and customers will enhance customer relationship management.
Today, there is fierce competition in the banking sector of Cameroon due to the influx of new commercial banks and micro-finance agencies such as the cooperative societies not leaving out telecommunication companies like MTN which also offers banking services.
From 1990 to 210, the banking sector of Cameroon had experienced bank liquidation, acquisition, and mergers due to the high competitive forces arising from globalization of the economy and the frequent changing of monetary rules in Cameroon impose by World Bank, the bank of central African States (BEAC), the banking commission for the six central Africa states (COBAC), and parliamentary enactments.
For banks to cope with these pressures, they need to secure reasonable profits that will ensure their sustainability through the creation of a larger customer base. As a result, banks in Cameroon in general and those of the Buea municipality, in particular, are setting themselves strategies to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty to raise reasonable profits that will ensure their sustainability (Mohsan et al., 2011).
The bank’s vision is to achieve profitability, and a highdegree of customer satisfaction is a necessary condition for achieving this lofty objective in the face of competition. This is why banks listen to customers’ requirements and complaints to provide them with the quality of products and services that will meet their satisfaction (Haridasan and Venkatesh, 2011).
Commercial banks offerings to their customers are similar and customer satisfaction remains the sole tool that differentiates between one bank market share and another, as such measuring customers satisfaction is important (Zopounidis, 2012, Beard, 2014).
For financial institutions to fulfil their primary objective of profit maximisation, banks ought to have a large pool of reliable customers who can stay with the institution for the near future. To maintain these customers, customer relationship management is the bond that keeps them together to improve business relationships with customers better, specifically focusing on their satisfaction.
Customer relationship management plays an essential function in driving customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are profitable to the firm not only because they are likely to make repeat purchases but because they promote the firm through words of mouth. Therefore, customer relationship management improves the firm’s market share by bringing in more customers (Urehman and Jam, 2010).
However, proper implementation of customer relationship management is a must for customer satisfaction. For customer relationship management to be implemented successfully, the policies of the firm’s strategy structure ought to be flexible and explicit particularly the pricing policies. These are vital issues that increase customer satisfaction and firms profit (Khaligh et al.2012). Customer relationship management prescribes that to satisfy the customers, it is essential to understand the customers.
Customers should be well understood for their tastes, attitudes, preferences and decision making factors. This helps the firm in identifying their target customers and coin out measures to provide them with the quality of services they desire thereby leading to satisfaction. That is why this study tries to assess the impact of customer relationship management on customer’s satisfaction in the banking sector of Cameroon.
Moreover, the customers of each bank constitute one of the most important assets that a banking institution should preserve and continuously expand on. As customers are of such significant importance, it is necessary for banks to satisfy their needs and wants so as to establish and maintain long term relationship with the customers to enable them to combat the increasing competition in the global market. As a result, customer relationship management has become a fulcrum in the programs and practised of banking services (Tamilarasan, 2011).
Customer satisfaction is an important tool in all marketing activities. This is critical for long term success and sustainability of any organisation (Peppers & Rogers, 2012; Hansenmark & Abinsson, 2014). Globally, businesses are focusing on customer satisfaction to improve products and services and increase customer loyalty in the face of rising competition (Turkyilmaz & Ozkan, 2009).
This continued focus is encouraged by the fact that increased customer satisfaction increases retention and loyalty, competitive advantage, market share and profits as well and improved organisational performance (Carter, 2010; Voss & Voss, 2011). Customer dissatisfaction, on the other hand, leads to switching, complaints and consequently reduction in profitability, market share and competitiveness (Munari & Manrai, 2013).
To keep customers in the highly competitive and changing market arena, most companies are emphasising on maintaining and expanding their customer base using customer acquisition marketing strategies for survival aimed at maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers (Krishnamoorthy & Srivasan, 2013). Firms have realised the need for creating and maintaining long-lasting relationships with the existing customer base than attracting new customers and providing customised services preferred by customers through customers lifetime value (Ampofu, 2012).
Globally, banks are faced with a highly competitive environment as they progress from product and sales focused practices to a marketing orientation where competition is based on customer centered strategies that enhance customer satisfaction (Godson, 2009).
To maintain lifetime relationships with customers, commercial banks have adopted customer relationship management (CRM) practices such as value based CRM strategy, customer acquisition strategy, customer retention and complain handling CRM strategy (Sin, Tse & Yim, 2012).
These CRM practices enable banks to enhance service delivery and the resultant customer satisfaction (Chan & Ahmad, 2013). Banking is a customer centred service where CRM, and customer satisfaction have become essential differentiating factors in the dynamic financial environment (Sadek & Tantawi, 2009).
Hence the financial services industry in Africa, as well as Cameroon and the Buea municipality, in particular, is continuing to experience challenges such as achieving financial targets and satisfying their customer base.
These developments have made the banking sector more competitive as banks strive to meet customer demands through the development of a variety of services and quality initiatives that aim at customer satisfaction (Long, et al. 2013).
To remain competitive, commercial banks in Cameroon have to understand their customers’ financial needs because their fulfilment is critical to customer satisfaction and long term customer relationship management (Sin et al., 2009).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Commercial banks offer similar services to their customers, and this always lead to tight competition to acquire and retain customers. As such, banks are faced with the tax of providing goods and services that meet their customer’s needs, because satisfied customers exhibit high level of loyalty and retention thereby increasing the customer base of the bank which have a positive impact on bank revenue (Kotler and Keller,2011).
However, in Société Générale Cameroun (SGC) and Ecobank of the Buea Municipality in the banking sector of Cameroon, there is a constant formation of long queues at the banking halls of the respective banks resulting to delay in crediting and debiting of accounts and the rendering of bank statements.
This has gradually developed a feeling of discontentment among customers of SGC and Ecobank which if care is not taking might switch to telecommunication companies like MTN that renders fast mobile money account services.
Moreover, the initiation of accounts in SGC and Ecobank is expensive with a minimum account rate of one hundred thousand francs. This might cause prospective customers through referrals (negative words of mouth recommendation) to switch to other micro-finance agencies like cooperative credit union with a base amount of fifty thousand francs for account initiation.
Further, the process of granting loans in SGC and Ecobank is too procedural, slow and expensive. It requires a series of documents like the collateral security asset document, certificate of residence and nationality all of which requires money to be done. The loan if granted, the charges that accrue to it are worth a problem to customers with an interest rate twice that of savings account.
Furthermore, in SGC and Ecobank, the rate at which the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), gets block is becoming boring and unreliable. Cash withdrawers cannot meet up with arrange programs because of “Horsepower out of use”.
At times in SGC and Ecobank internet unavailability leads to the shutdown of activities in the banks thereby failing customers’ transactions for the day.
Exceptionally in SGC, the bank menus are not easily understood by customers in the Buea municipality because they are written in French. Because of this language barrier accessibility to bank information becomes a problem. Customers cannot easily meet up with current changes.
Given all these discontentments among customers of SGC and Ecobank, if care is not taking to redress the situation, the banks might suffer from loss of customers to competitors like the telecommunication companies (MTN) and micro-finance institutions like the cooperative societies and insurance companies. When customers switch to other competitors, the customer base of the banks will be reduced leading to a decrease in profits.
When profits are low, dividends to shareholders will drop which might lead to the withdrawal of shares from the companies thereby jeopardising the state of the banks. To keep these customers in tact with their banks and prevent them from defecting to rival competitors, customer relationship management comes into play as the sole marketing tactic and strategy.
As such, this research moves to assess the impact of customer relationship management on customer satisfaction in the banking sector of Cameroon.