This project examined the role service delivery in accessing completive advantage in marketing – using specifically Airtel Nigeria Plc. Thus, the project had the following as object (i) to determine what constitutes effective customer service for a typical service – oriented telecoms company like Airtel Nigeria, (ii) to examine the roles that marketing strategies could play influencing consumer buying behavior in the modern telecoms industry, (iii) to determine the contributions of marketing research to the growth of Airtel Nigeria and (iv) to find out the role of effective customer relationship management as a competitive tool in the telecoms industry. In order to highlight the forgoing objectives, the survey method of research was employed in the study. Both primary and secondary sources of data were utilized in gathering information. The primary sources consist of questionnaires and oral interviews while the secondary sources were gathered from existing literature on the subject matter of the study. Tabular presentation of data analysis was used whereby the effect and relationship of one data with another was being quantified by simple percentile presentations, the study hypotheses were tested for validity using the chi – square technique. The study showed that it was critical that Airtel Nigeria Plc should acquire knowledge of customer buying behavior in the telecoms industry and seek customer delight with respect to its customer service. Additionally, the study revealed that the service quality was a critical success factor for consumer patronage in the telecoms industry and that the aim of product and service launch by organizations in the telecoms industry should be to satisfy customer needs and consequently, telecoms products and services should be designed to satisfy a wide range of customer types in the market. Thus, Airtel Nigeria Plc should deploy those marketing strategies backed up with marketing research that would positively influence consumer buying behaviour, Airtel’s product launch and product development must be up with the latest telecoms technology for competitiveness and effectiveness in the market.
1.1 Background of the Study
Telecommunications businesses exist basically to provide efficient and effective communications services to the public in order to earn good revenue, expand operations and operate profitably. To effectively achieve these business objectives, telecommunications organizations must re-strategize, re-engineer and re-focus – especially with relations to service delivery. The customer demands the best – at the shortest possible time, and at a reasonable price. In short, telecoms companies must deliver on promises made, imbibe the highest level of professionalism and competence in service-delivery show integrity, honesty and transparency in all their activities, and treat the customer with utmost respect, courtesy, and compassion in service-delivery to each and every customer (Kanter, 2003; 23, 58)
Thus, Woherem (2007) argued that it is obvious in the highly competitive telecommunications industry that service-providers must develop strong and attractive telecommunications products so that they can become highly visible and increase their income base – which would normally lead to increased profits. After such products have been developed, effective marketing strategies via service delivery must be developed and adopted in order to ensure optimal results for the company (Onyemenam, 2006). This project would set out to critically examine and analyze service delivery in telecoms industry and proffer solutions as to how Airtel Nigeria can utilize it effectively to ensure and guarantee customer-loyalty, retention and satisfaction at all times.
In the Nigerian market, there is a strong “thirst” for the digital mobile telecommunications products. There was thus much excitement in the land when in February, 2001, the Obasanjo civilian regime decided to fulfill its vision of bringing Nigeria into the mainstream of modern and mobile telecommunications by granting Digital Mobile Licences (DMLs) to three successful telecommunications companies to provide Global Satellite Mobile Telecommunications (GSM) services to the nation. Moses=Nwangwu (2007) listed the three companies as MTN, Globacom Nigeria Plc, and Econet Wireless Nigeria – now Airtel Nigeria.
While MTN Nigeria Plc was a South-African-based GSM operator, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe established Econet Wireless in partnership with three (3) Nigerian State Governments (and later on First Bank of Nigeria Plc). These were Lagos State, Delta State and Cross River State. However, Globacom Nigeria Plc was wholly Nigerian – being the brain-child of Chief Mike Adenuga, Chairman Equitorial Bank Plc and ConOil Plc (Moses-Nwagwu, 2007)
However, Globacom Nigeria Plc did not fulfill all the requirements set by the NCC (Nigerian Communication Commission). Thus, according to Moses-Nwagwu (2007), Globacom’s licence was eventually revoked; and the field was left open only for the two foreign-based GSM operators (MTN and Econet) to compete in the Nigerian market.
As observed by Akabueze (2007), Econet Wireless Nigeria was the first GSM operator in Nigeria – having been established in 2000. The company made history on August 5, 2001 by becoming the first telecoms operator to launch commercial GSM services in Nigeria. It immediately deployed its services and telecoms technology in many Nigerian cities, urban centers, and rural settings – in all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria (namely, South-South, South West, South East, North Central, North East, and North West)..
In its desire to become the telecoms company of choice for Nigerians, Econet Wireless Nigeria vigorously strove to become the first telecoms company to introduce: