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In Nigeria, commercial banks in the past were not market oriented; all their efforts were directed at selling what they (the commercial banks) can offer rather than what the customers actually needed. This insensitivity to the need of the customer (market) was what Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN Governor (2011) was referring to when he said” even now many Nigerian banks still fail to appreciate that the market may be less” turned on” and may even moving in a different direction. He went on to say that they (the commercial banks) cling to this “marketing myopia” and undue concentration on the offering rather than consumer needs and assume that they are offering the right services, even as customers are complaining.
However, with the trend of competition as a result of the deregulation, the banking industry has witnessed a rapid transformation in recent years, “The degree of competition within the industry has been pushed to the highest level such that banks have had to look for alternative ways of competition” (first bank Business and Economic Report October, 2010).
According to onyebuagu (1995: p.43) “All organizations must stimulate or create utility if they are to survive”. The survival of any commercial banks in the environment will therefore require the provision of service that satisfy its customers. Commercial banks in Nigeria serve two broad groups of customers the individual customers as well as the corporate customers, and the need of these two categories of customers differs significantly. The operating philosophy of the banks should be to identify the needs of these customers and to seek the satisfaction of the ever increasing population of sophisticated clientele. This of course is the concept of marketing. Onyebuagu of (ibid) contented that the satisfaction of customer demand is therefore the justification for the establishment and operation of business activities and therefore the marketing efforts. In realizing this fact, commercial banks have begun to
appreciate the need to employ strategies that seek the satisfaction of customers in marketing their various services.
According to (mark E stern, in a Hand Book of modern marketing, 2011, Edited by victor P. Buell) “strategy” was originally a war term indication, the art of employing armed strength to secure the objective. Convenience as a strategy has a positive effect on patronage as potential customers can easily identify the presence of a bank with the availability of sign board. Apart from that, customers can conveniently stop at a bus stop or along the street and walk into his banks with ease. Customer with car can drive right in and pack his car within the bank premises and transact business with his bank.
Convenience therefore enhances the satisfaction of customers and this increase their loyalty. Although very effective convenience as a strategy is very expensive and since the cost of building and operating a branch had to be carefully weighed against the revenue derivable from the particular branch, couple with the increasing cost of construction, fewer branches had to be established. As a result, commercial banks have developed their environment. One of such strategies according to (Swayne et al (Ibid, p.174) is the development of new product/ services
and the improvement in the service delivery which are made possible through the use of modern technology and increased automation of the banking services .
Infact, one is not aware of any bank in Nigeria today which does not introduce automation into its operation because that is about the only way they can stay a float in the fierce competitive banking environment.
Commercial banks have also realized that it require substantial promotional campaign to sell their various services. In this regard banks have adopted several strategies in promoting and advertising their services. Some innovative banks have developed a retail sales force whose responsibilities are to identify affluent citizens in the community and market the bank’s product to them. Experienced sales persons generate more business in this regard (Swayne et al (ibid p. 175) Also a good office structure has been identified as one of the corporate image building strategies.
Strategies can therefore been seen as management devices employed by corporate organization such as banks, manufactures and such others to wade of competitors, intrigues and make for increased
customer patronage. Most commercial banks who fail to employ
strategist or intrigues or devices to project the image status of their
banks would scarcely have much patronage and therefore, low returns
in revenue growth for example.
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