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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a broadly used and accepted strategy for nurturing a firm’s relationship with clients and business prospects. It involves the use of globally accepted technological tools to technically organise and synchronize work procedures, especially in the area of sales and marketing and technical support. The principal aim of CRM is to search, attract, and keep customers, grow and retain already existing ones and try to win back lost customers as well as cut down on costs of business service. For any firm to start, grow and remain in business the customer is vital and as such CRM is of key importance. Business success means that firms must see CRM as an area to invest in it is an investment and not be counted as a cost. However, if CRM is not handled properly it can be costly and detrimental to any firm. On the other hand, if well applied it will go a long way to enable any firm retain its clients base and subsequently grow its business.
CRM to a very large extent affects the movement’s rate of customers in any industry, for the purposes of this research; the banking industry will be examined. Attrition rate is hugely dependent on CRM; customers in the banking industry have grown in terms of choice and control. A company therefore needs to strategise critically in its bid to retain customers. Of key importance in CRM is not just smiling faces but value in service delivery or superior product, leading to customer satisfaction and therefore customer loyalty and retention, which is the pivot of financial performance (Reichheld et al 2000; Hesket et al 1997, Reichheld, 1994).
1.1 GHANA’S BANKING INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
The Banking industry is highly competitive industry with 26 Banks currently competing for Corporate and Retail Clients. The industry is vastly capitalized with a total share holder’s fund of over One billion, Eight hundred thousand (GH¢1,854,648,000), culminating to an average of over seventy one million of share holders fund per bank (GH¢71,332,620.00). This may seem adequate per bank, regarding the upward adjustment of the Stated Capital by Bank of Ghana by 2012. The average share holders fund is however misleading as a number for banks are still struggling to even meet the twenty five million minimum capital requirement by 2010. In reality, it is only just about eight Banks whose capital is meets the Sixty million required by 2010. The Regulation to increase the minimum capital requirement of the banks comes on the back of the discovery of Oil in Commercial Quantities. This is required to position the banks strongly to take be able to take up larger transactions. While only four (SCB, BBG, GCB and EBG) banks control almost 50% of the total assets held by the banking industry, the other twenty two banks are competing to increase their asset base to enable them compete with the larger banks. Profitability in the industry is quiet competitive as only four banks (BBG, FAMB, UTB and BSIC) made losses. The rest of the Banks made profit. With the developing new oil economy and the resulting expansion in the Ghanaian Economy, Banks are faced with a better opportunity to increase their profitability and consequently, their asset base. They are however faced with loan recovery difficulties resulting in an average of 18% of loans disbursed going bad. The Continual reduction of Inflation to 9.44% and the Policy lending rate of Bank of Ghana, has forced the base lending rate of the Bank Interest rates downwards. This however has ignited a price competition in the industry culminating into a debate on whether interest rates should reduce any further than it has, especially when loans default rate remains high (www.ghanaweb.com,www.b&ft.com)
1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON BARCLAYS GHANA
Barclays Bank Ghana is one of the biggest and first foreign banks to enter the Ghanaian economy at a time in which the three major banks namely Barclays, Standard Chartered and Ghana Commercial Bank and enjoyed oligopolistic positions before other banks entered the industry. Barclays has operated in Ghana for ninety four years. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC. Its vision is to become the best bank for every customer, in every branch, for every product and every time. Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited has an expansive retail and commercial banking network in the country with 92 branches and over 130 ATMs in all regional capitals and major towns. Its products and services are targeted particularly at the business and corporate, as well as retail customers. Barclays offers a wide range of commercial, Retail and Treasury products and services. It also offers local business banking product and services for Small Medium Enterprises and indigenous businesses (http://www.barclays.com/africa/ghana/barclays_in.htm). The Bank of Ghana in February, 2010 named Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited the biggest foreign bank and also the largest bank in terms of capacity to handle transactions in Ghana. In June 2009, Barclays launched its Bancassurance proposition in partnership with Enterprise Life Assurance Company Limited (ELAC) to enhance our product range with insurance product such as Term, Family Funeral Plan and Education Plan for the convenience of its customers.
The Bank’s Premier Banking offers tailor made solutions and one-on-one banking to its high net worth. The Premier proposition amongst others offers; dedicated banking suites, financial planning, lifestyle alliances, global access to Premier lounges (airport) etc. In addition Premier Life, a new service proposition to replace Prestige Banking has been introduced. It is targeted at customers who require convenient banking, quick and efficient service as well as a level of privacy and recognition. The Barclays Offshore Banking Unit, the first of its kind in Ghana and indeed Africa South of the Sahara, continues to offer world class banking service to non-resident private clients and corporate. Industries financed by Barclays include cocoa, the backbone of the country’s economy; timber; gold and other minerals as well as business in the manufacturing sector and commerce. The bank’s sustainability programme focuses on three pillars. Banking for brighter futures; Looking after local communities and Charity begins at work. Barclays uses these key pillars to support developmental projects across Ghana. More than 80% of staff are involved in voluntary community programmes annually. Dubbed “Make a Difference Day”, it is the biggest corporate voluntary activity in Ghana. Barclays Bank of Ghana Limited is part of the Barclays Africa Group comprising ten (10) African markets under Barclays PLC(http://www.barclays.com/africa/ghana/barclays_in.htm)
1.3 RATIONALE OF THE STUDY
In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift from transaction focused policies to customer relationship focused policies. This is because the fundamental task of business is to create and keep a customer in a sustainable way and at an acceptable return to a shareholder. Levitt, Marketing Myopia. Majority of industries all over the business world have made varying efforts to go along with this shift in order to be able to retain the largest customer base possible. Some have managed it successfully whiles others are still woefully behind, and as such unable to break even. This dissertation is therefore aimed at examining the impact of CRM on customer attrition and also uncovers most appropriate methods of application. As a matter of fact it has become necessary to pursue this field as research to boost efforts of industries in their bid to uphold CRM in their business operations in order to retain and grow their customer base. An in depth knowledge of CRM and its appropriate use reveals that it reduces attrition. Thus the aim of this research work is to critically investigate the strategies of CRM and how it can be used to boost customer retention. The outcome of this research will establish CRM as the lifeline to any industry and hopefully get firms to adopt to it and grow their business.
1.4 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Based on previous study, it has been established that bad CRM practise can be very damaging for any business. A recently released Harris Interactive study confirms that a bad customer service experience with your company is enough to make a majority of consumers run for the hills. The study reported that 80% of 2,049 US adults surveyed decided never to go back to a business/organization after a bad customer service experience. The study clearly indicates that an organization’s customer service level is a defining factor that will make or break a company (www.crm2day.com/library/50483.php). Thus it is no doubt CRM is one of the main factors contributing to the rise or fall of an industry.
2.0 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research work is to;
Understand clearly the concept of CRM
Provide reasons why industries need to invest in CRM
Explore the extent to which industries focus on CRM
Establish the merits and de-merits of CRM
Suggest the methods of application of CRM
2.1 RESEARCH QUESTION
As a follow up to the aims and objectives of this research, certain questions will be examined using the findings and suggestions of some experts in this field as background. Jankowicz (2000) advocates strongly that knowledge does not exist in a vacuum, thus the present research only has value in relation to the work already done by other people. With the above as a basis, this research work will aim at finding answers to the questions below;
A definite description of Customer Relationship Management( CRM)
How does CRM boost business success?
What are the various ways of CRM application?
Is CRM a field to invest in at all?
How important are customers to any industry?
Why do banks need CRM?
2.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
With recent developments in the concept of CRM and its impact on business industries Huber et al.(2001) state that many marketing strategists and industrial-organization (IO) economists emphasize that creation of superior customer value is a key element for ensuring companies’ success ; it has become crucial to re-examine by research work the whole area of CRM establishing its importance and highlighting reasons why industries need to give more focus to this area. The results of the research will significantly achieve the following:
Contribute to the knowledge providing good understanding of the key factors in CRM
Establish CRM as a field to be invested in
Assist industries that want to adapt CRM strategically
Constitute a useful addition to work already done in the field
Provide a basis for further research
2.3 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This research will be limited to the banking industry with specific focus on Barclays Bank. It would have been profitable to include other service industries but this will not be possible considering the broad nature of CRM and the costs and time constraints which relates to the time frame within which this results needs to be submitted.
3.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
Customer relationship management (CRM) is bringing together of people, processes, and technology seeking to provide understanding of customer needs, to support a business strategy, and to build long-term relationships with customers. Successful usage of the integrated technology requires appropriate business processes and organizational culture to adequately address human behavioural elements. Because it is not simply a technology solution, success in CRM business is largely dependent on people. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a combination of people, processes, and technology (Chen and Popovich, 2003) that seeks to provide understanding of customer needs (Stringfellow et al., 2004), to support a business strategy (Ling and Yen, 2001; Bull,2003), and to build long-term relationships with customers (Wayland and Cole, 1997). Although enabled by information systems, CRM is not a technology solution (Rigby et al., 2002; Chen and Popovich, 2003). The core processes are handled by people and requires clear understanding of the goals of key decisions and system-people interactions. To appreciate the concept of CRM an evolution of it needs to be highlighted.
3.2 EVOLUTION OF CRM
From the 1980s to the 2000s the research of CRM have progressed tremendously (Ling and Yen, 2001; Goldenberg, 2006). The evolution of CRM started from target marketing (Prabhaker, 2001) and sales force automation (West, 2001) to relationship marketing (Gronroos, 1994) and has increased the demand for customer information management. However, as the scope of CRM grew, comprehensive emphasis on technology has become the focus. At the same time, the increased interest in CRM technology management has downplayed the importance of people issues, which are intimately responsible for successful CRM implementations (Goldenberg, 2006). New forms of competition and structural modifications of exchange processes have led to the emergence of the relationship paradigm for creating long-term relationships among customers and suppliers. This is partly due to the globalisation of business, internationalisation, deregulation, information technology advances, shorter product life cycles, and the evolving recognition of the relationship between customer retention and profitability (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Zineldin and Jonsson, 2000; Chandra and Kumar, 2000; Sahay, 2003; Stefanou et al., 2003). “Relationship paradigm” refers to all activities directed towards establishing, developing and maintaining successful relational exchanges (Gro¨nroos, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997; Gummesson, 1994; Morgan and Hunt, 1994, cited in Donaldson and O’Toole, 2002; Sahay, 2003). Through out the 1990s, in many organisations’ strategies, there was a shift from the need to manage transactions toward relationship management (Light, 2003). While enterprise resource planning (ERP) packages dominated the transaction management era, customer relationship management (CRM) packages lead with respect to relationships. The relationship between marketing strategies and performance has been studied from numerous theoretical perspectives, for example, transaction cost economics (Williamson, 1985, 1993; Park and Kim, 2003), market orientation (Jaworski and Kohli, 1993; Harris and Piercy, 1999; Martin and Bush, 2003; Nielsen et al., 2003; Stefanou et al., 2003; Shapiro et al., 2003; Bigne´ et al., 2004), and profit impact of marketing strategy (Kumar et al., 2000). The focus on the content of marketing strategies has been valuable in identifying performance-enhancing strategies (Goodhue et al., 2002; Plakoyiannaki and Tzokas, 2002; Chen and Popovich, 2003). While the concepts presented and discussed in the above perspectives are clearly valuable and have clear meaning, they also reflect a lack of accurate operating elements. Efforts made in this direction have failed to provide the concepts with sufficiently accurate and indicative operating elements (Grisi and Ribeiro, 2004). It is our view that past attempts of extant literature on implementation of customer relationship strategies have been insufficient and not gone far enough in the transition from the old to the new. According to Narayandas and Rangan (2004), empirical research in relationship management has tended to take a snapshot of a relationship at a given time and then attempted to project its trajectory (Croteau and Li, 2003). This gap has prompted researchers such as Anderson (1995), Jap and Ganesan (2000) and Lambe et al. (2001) to call for more field-based research based on case studies that draw on material from the multiple exchange episodes that constitute relationships and that offer insights into the processes of relationship initiation and maintenance (Narayandas and Rangan, 2004). Work on implementation of CRM strategy has focused on database management, direct marketing techniques, e-commerce and customer relationship mechanisms (Ling and Yen, 2001; Winer, 2001; Shoemaker, 2001; Gefen and Ridings, 2002; Fjermestad and Romano, 2003; Apostolou and Mentas, 2003; Croteau and Li, 2003; Bull, 2003; Park and Kim, 2003; Chen and Popovich, 2003; Kotorov, 2003; Scullin et al., 2004). This has been most noticeable in business to consumer markets, and in services and financial services in particular. Donaldson and O’Toole (2002), indicated that though not all, many schemes are little more than sophisticated selling. According to Hertz and Vilgon (2002), many CRM implementation projects are fraught with difficulties in terms of technically not delivering the anticipated business benefits. Hertz and Vilgon (2002) indicate that up to 60 per cent of CRM implementation projects fail to live up to expectations. The study reported in this paper aims to contribute to the existing literature on the relationship marketing paradigm and the implementation of customer relationship strategy by examining both of these issues. This is accomplished by providing a better understanding of the components of CRM on the one hand, and the implementation of CRM strategy on the other. CRM systems have been used for a long time to automate processes (Ngai, 2005). However, the system process cannot manage customer relations (Rigby et al., 2002; Chen and Popovich, 2003) because customer knowledge needs to be comprehended by business managers (Bueren et al., 2005), the face-to-face communication needs to be performed by front-line operators (Stringfellow et al., 2004), and a customer-centric culture needs to be formed by organization architects (Oldroyd, 2005). Although critical to the firm and dynamic in nature, the human side of CRM processes has gained little attention in CRM studies. Indeed, superior value of products/services delivered to customers leads to customer loyalty, the real driver of financial performance (see Reichheld et al., 2000; Heskett et al., 1997; Reichheld, 1994). Reichheld and Sasser (1990) show that, on average, a five percentage point’s increase in customer retention leads to between 40-50 percent increases in net present value profits. A few years later, Reichheld (1994) reports that a decrease in defection rate (or an increase in retention rate) of five percentage points can increase profits by 25-100 percent and that this result is consistent across a wide array of industries. Satisfaction is a state of mind and it is only important as an indication of the intention of the most important behavior of repeat purchase, favorable word-of-mouth, and referrals. Reichheld (1994) states that customers who describe themselves as satisfied are not necessarily loyal. A cost benefit analysis reveals that huge resource allocation to CRM by businesses world-wide (estimated at $100 billion to date at the time of writing, see www.CRM-forum.com) has been primarily IT driven, not marketing driven. While CRM is meant to be about enabling a customer orientation, often it is not marketers pulling the strings: The serious question for the marketing profession is whether to respond to the challenges raised by new technology. The authors are not suggesting that one size fits all. The assertion by O’Malley and Mitussis (2002), that where the ethos of relationship marketing does not exist in an organisation, it may be prudent for marketers to limit their CRM ambitions to advanced database marketing, is very sensible. But the disruption of new technology gives marketers, at the very least, opportunities to improve their internal influence. Many respondents in this research doubted whether CRM can control attrition rate in the business industry. My hypothesis suggests that CRM powered by technology and human involvement can control attrition rate in the business industry specifically banking where fierce competition is fuelling switching from bank to bank by customer. Are switching costs too low to dissuade clients from staying loyal to a particular bank?
The research seeks to explore the topic through the use of qualitative data. The choice of methodology will give the researcher an in-depth view, Easterby-Smith et al (2002), (Deshpande´, 1983) on the extent to which CRM could go to control the attrition rate in the banking industry. This section extensively considers the research methods, tools and techniques available to achieve the aims and objectives and also to justify the use of the research method that will be employed in this study. Jankowicz (1995) describes methodology as the analysis of and justification for the part method(s) used in undertaking research. Furthermore, methodology seeks to explain the research procedure adopted by a researcher and should consist of the following: research design, data collection methods, sampling, field work, analysis and interpretation of data (Boyd, 1981). As asserted by Oppenhein (1992) for every social research there is the need to examine appropriate methodologies necessary for conducting a particular study. As further stated by Oppenhein (1992) it is often seen that as research takes shape the aims of the research undergoes a number of subtle changes as a consequence of greater clarity in thinking, such changes may require a new or better design, which in turn will lead to a better specification for the instruments of measurement. Sources of data are the carriers of information and basically there are two sources of data- primary and secondary (Ghauri et al., 1995). Saunders et al, (2003) identified a third source as tertiary. However, it must be emphasised that while tertiary and secondary sources of data form the basis of the literature review, primary data sources are linked to the empirical research. As suggested by Kinnear and Taylor (1996), when research objectives include identifying problems or spotting potential opportunities, the use of exploratory research is the most suitable method. Easterby-Smith et al. (2002) argue that the knowledge of different research traditions enables one to adapt a research design to cater for constraints. A qualitative research approach is used because it is a valuable means of finding out ‘what happened; to seek new insights; to ask questions and assess phenomena in a new light’ (Robson, 2002). It great advantage is that it is flexible and adaptable to change, as in conducting exploratory research the researcher must be willing to change direction as a result of new data that appears and new insights that occur to the researcher (Saunders et al., 2003). As further reinforced by Adam and Schvaneveldt (1991) flexibility is inherent in exploratory research which does not mean there is no sense of direction to the enquiry but rather that the focus is initially broad and becomes progressively narrower as the research progresses. However, qualitative biases can also occur and result in inaccurate measurement and findings.
4.1 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION/ SOURCE
Both primary and secondary data will be used in this research. The primary data will be obtained from the semi-structured telephone interviews with some Barclay’s customers in Ghana. A semi-structured interview is suggested so as to obtain relevant information through the use of open-ended questions thus encouraging the interviewee to emphasize his/her point of interest (Easterby-Smith et al., 2002; Healey, 1991; Jankowicz, 2000). Individual in-depth interviews are deployed to provide the anonymity essential in allowing sensitive internal material to be revealed. It is also the most practical way of getting participation from busy Barclay’s customers. The interviews were semi-structured with a topic guide to provide some structure and consistency to the interviews, as advocated by a number of researchers (Miles and Huberman, 1989). The secondary data will be obtained from the company’s website, published materials such as, academic journals, newspaper articles, search engines and books. Ghauri et al, (1995) says it all that the purpose of secondary data is to “frame the problem under scrutiny, identify relevant concepts, methods and techniques and facts to position the research”.
4.2 SAMPLE FRAME AND STRATEGY
There will be sample size determination on the data collected. A total of 100 Barclays Bank customers will be interviewed. Also, due to time and budget constraints involved with the research, the sample would be a convenient size. Indeed. The interviews will be transcribed and analyzed with the use of a simple median. Thus the software Microsoft Excel will be used to calculate the percentage and numbers to clarify the data. It is worth emphasizing that due to the small size of the study, a deviance may appear in the result.
5.0 DATA ANALYSIS AND SAMPLING PROBLEMS
As said above, there are limitations associated with the data collection through the means of semi-structured interviews. It is necessary to consider data quality issues such as reliability, bias, validity and generalizability which are seen as important to any qualitative research. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002) reliability in qualitative research is concerned with the probability of whether another researcher who has the same research will come up with similar information and findings. According to the authors (pp 53) reliable research tries to find answers to three questions. The first is ‘will the measure yield the same results on other occasions? Secondly ‘will similar observations be reached by other observers? Thirdly ‘is there transparency in how the raw data will be analyzed? Thus for this study the researcher believes that reliability will be dealt with as previous research has been carried out on the small business sector which the researcher will be making use of including some materials through secondary data. Also, with the use of qualitative, non-standardised research, the result of the study implies that findings are not intended to be repeatable, as they reflect the reality at the time of collecting the data, which might be subject to change (Marshall and Rossman, 1999).
In addition, bias on the side of the interviewee or interviewer can also affect the quality of the research; hence it should be noted that being aware of this, the researcher will ensure in the design of the interview questionnaire and also in terms of asking the right questions to get the required answers in line with the aims and objectives of the research. The researcher at all times Endeavour not to use any verbal or non-verbal behaviour that could affect the quality of the interview. Also a lot of readings will be undertaken in terms of text books, as well as obtaining guidelines from a professional interviewer and through practice. According to Saunders et al. (2003) validity is concerned with whether the results are what they appear to be. Oppenheim (1992) also notes that sample accuracy is more important than its size, in that there is a compromise between the theoretical sampling size and practical limitations such as time and costs. In terms of validity the researcher deems this to be high as the method used, that is, the in-depth interview will give the researcher a hands-on experience and the ability to see the reactions of the respondents through their interactions. The last issue will be the generalizability which according to Saunders et al., (2003) is the situation whereby findings of a research are applicable to other research settings.
5.1 ETHICAL ISSUES / CONSIDERATION
Ethical issues occur when undertaking any kind of research and these have to be taken into consideration. Research ethics refer to the acceptability of a researcher’s behaviour towards the rights of subjects of research. To ensure this, researcher’s behaviour is guided by the code of ethics appropriate to academics and the profession or association of the researcher (Saunders et. at, 2003). The goal of ethics in research is to ensure that no one is harmed or suffers adverse consequences from research activities (Cooper and Schindler, 2003). According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002) the ability to explore data or to seek explanation through qualitative methods will require a greater scope for ethical issues. This is particularly important when the data collected during interviews for example concerns sensible subjects or private stories, etc (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998). This issue is relevant in this research, as Barclays Bank customers will be asked about their finances and other private issues regarding possible attrition. The researcher however, is aware that when it comes to issues about finance, people are reluctant to give information. Hence the researcher will take the necessary action to avoid any such issues. Thus this research will consider the anonymity and privacy of respondents and accordingly would be based on the consent of respondents who will be provided with a cover letter, informing them of the purpose of the research and also providing assurance of the confidentiality of information given. Also, the name of the researcher as well as the University will be given in order to avoid any ambiguity. As a result, the researcher will be conversant with ethical considerations and both the researcher and respondents will be protected.
5.2 RESEARCH TIME TABLE
Identification of research area
Formulation of research questions
Formulation of research strategy,
research design and selection
Writing of the research proposal
Negotiation of access
Writing the first draft
Writing the second draft
Writing the final draft
Dissertation due date
Rafaeli, A. and Sutton, R., (1987) “Expression of Emotion as Part of the Work Role,” Academy of Management Review, pp. 23-37
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