Customer Service and Its Improvement in the Nigerian Commercial Banking Industry

Customer Service and Its Improvement in the Nigerian Commercial Banking Industry

Customer Service – It is necessary to take passing glances at other write-ups of other researchers whose work preceded this one. This is because poor performance and low quality of services of commercial banks (UBA) not excluded, have generated so much controversies that on attempt to explain their operations services towards economic development is needed.

The review of the related literature was possible through the use of conceptual and researches literature. This helps to formalize the research with problem.

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There are two main classifications of commercial banks in Nigeria. They are the indigenous banks and mixed banks.

Indigenous banks which are wholly owned and managed by indigenous Nigerian interest, while the mixed banks as its name implies, are banks jointly owned and managed by Nigeria and foreign interests.

Indigenisation is an evaluation process by which the natives of a country are enabled and are seen to acquire ownership, control and management  of the economy of their country. The federal and state government collectively owned the bank of the equity capital of the commercial banks. In Nigeria, the indigos banks are law when compare to the expatriates banks. The indigenous banks are owned predominantly by the state government, while federal government equity interest are limited to 60% participation in the expatriate banks.

The federal government made its prurience felt in the banks sector following the acquisition  of 40% share of the expatriate banks in 1973 and 60% share and subsequently control of management in 1977. These banks are now referred to as mixed banks.


Customer’s service is a concept that is easy to conceptualize but difficult to specify. If appears as all arms of business have something to do with it. Customers services has been defined as “ connection of activities performed in keeping customers happy”

Randal Hanna in annual processing of NCPDM raw customers services as “creating in your customers mind the perception of an organization” that is being easy to do business with.

The specific elements of customer’s services are;

(1)  Speed delivery.

(2)  Consistency of delivery.

(3)  General working with customers towards mutual services.

Positive realization of the above customer service element will undoubtedly engage customer good feeling towards an organization.

Bank service is a professional service, professional service includes all organized activities and programs by professional service designed to retain customers and attract new ones by servicing and satisfying their needs through the delivery of appropriate services on a paid basis in a manner consistent with creditable professional goals and norms. This is the view of Lynn shustak in the journal of marketing “planning the service encounter” customer service management is necessary in the marketing of service.

Michael J. Baker in on introductory text of marketing of the Macmillan press LTD defined customer services as a system organized to provide continuity link between the time the order is placed and the time service received with the objective of satisfying customer needs on a long term basis.

In the banking service, the placement of order is surpposed to be simultaneous with the receiving of service or at most the time gap should be minimal. The duty of a firms management therefore is to see that no gap exist between customer expectation and the firms performance. This could be done by regular monitory of customers complaints and suggestions and addressing customers needs;

A satisfied customer not only comes again but also spreads the new of his satisfaction to others. A customer therefore, deserves to be well thought by every organization, this satisfaction is of prime importance.


This is another factor that has been shown by research and experience is the important of communication to staff-customer relationship, from research it can be seen that no organization can function property without effective communication.

Internal communication is a basic relationship in an organization, reaching the entire public is not difficult, the working relationship brings daily communication. Before there can be effective employee communication, there must be a climate of trust.

Communication must be viewed as a tool of leadership in UBA Plc. The most pressing is for more adequate upward communications, a management that operates from bottom to up. Feedback channels must be provided. Such feed back invariably shows that members of an organization desire more information.

It is also shows repeatedly a disparity in the views of management and staff in a duty carried out by cultic and center. This was surely of supervisors and employees in twenty-four industrial plants revealed that good wages were what employees wanted most, the employees said that full appreciation for work done was what the wanted most.

Public relation practitioners in UBA Plc need to know about the kind of working relationship that exists. External communication is therefore influenced by the internal communication.

The cashiers are the image and the first representative of the bank anybody meet as entering into UBA Plc. Whatever impressing given to the customer by these set of staff last as long as the customer can ember their made of dressing, their cheerful attitude, their diligence in attending to the customer and above all, their duties matters much.

Consequently in any approach to me literal public the social needs as well as the economical needs must be acknowledged and satisfied. A pay cheque fall for short of being the only thing on employee wants although its importance should be recognized.

According to M.C Guire (1969) many reasons can be given to explain the apparent superiority of personal communication, because is a face to situation attention is likely to be higher than with the media, and the message can be given at an appropriate moment and planned to be relevant to the recipients motives and attitudes.

Because such communication is two ways, feedback from the recipient can be used to increase comprehensive, counter any objective and select particularly effective arguments.

The personal by expressing an opinion aloud. relationship may cause the recipient to relax any defenses against being influenced and it may encourage yielding, complaints in the interest of maintaining smooth social relations.

Finally, if the recipient is also participating actively in the conversation, the may occasionally make a public communication

In any branch, almost every member of staff does interact with customers at one time or the other. If not in the office, during social gathering outside the office, for e.g. UBA organizes customers quest night, which creates a forum for informal and personalized, setting. Through such controlled interaction it is expected that a morte congenial climate would be forget which would endanger better understanding report between customer and staff which will help it to realize its objectives of providing efficient courteous and satisfactory service to its customers.

This means that bank services can be treadle anywhere and anytime and that is why the management of UBA Plc at times pays for club membership for managerial staff and also pays entertainment allowance to certain categories of senior staff.


A review of the literature shows that there is a clear relationship between public relations and bank staff-customer relationship in this organization. The reason is simple. In today’s inter-dependent society, all institution are vested with public responsibilities. The must accept accountability for all their obligations to those section of the public who they serve or affect but the trend in this direction in clear.

As cultic and center 1971 rightly observed in their major work on this issue. We know perfectly well that business does not function by divine right but like any other part of our society exists with the sanction of the community as a whole. The interests of the community are in turn expressed through it may become tomorrow’s legislation for better or for worse. Therefore, a wise firm makes public relations a function not simply of staff deportment, but to top management, so that every major business decision is considered from the stand paint of its public impact.

Ralph Nader (1965), is another export who seems to be agreeing with cultic and center in the success advocacy of national automobile safety legislation.

In two excellent articles on public relations dancordtz and Robert Bishop review the efforts of the well-known American consumer advocate according to them, Nader was able to illustrate that public opinion is very vital in any organization since its establishment is mainly to satisfy the public that utilizes their goals and services.

PERHAPS, NO ONE HAS BETTER DESCRIBED PUBLIC OPINION THAT DID LORD Bryce (1921) who defined the concept as a congeners of all sorts discrepant nations beliefs, fancies, prejudices, varying form day to day and week to week. But on the midst of this diversity and confusion, every question as it arises into importance is subject to a process of consolidation and clarification until there emerge and take shop certain view or sets of inter-connected views each held and advocated in common by bodies of citizens.

It is also the power inverted by any such views when held by an important majority of citizens that when we talk of public opinion. This is why some organization like UBA Plc, adopts an internal public relations department that performs the following functions;

Organizing special events, conducting research, organizing healthy employee/employee. Communications, advising management on issues above all promoting sound community relation and ensuring smooth relations with all the relevant public that relate to the organization in one way or the other and so many others.

UBA Plc, for this reason, denotes to charitable organizations, home for handicapped and motherless babies. Humanitarian organization like the Red Cross society as well as socio-cultural clubs and association and state development funds. They also sponsor sporting activities like football. They also support the development of the Nigerian theatre and encourage artistic talent. The bank actively supports the development of our rich heritage by boosting the nation tourist industry, through its contribution to the Agungu annual fishing and cultural festival.

These make the bank take considerable pride in its achievements concerning it social responsibilities objectives which aim to identify with the aspirations of the community in which it is represented and to contribute to their welfare, their overall socio economic purposes, in addition to the satisfactory services of the bank staff which will uplift the staff-customer relationship of the4 bank.

Burleigh and David (1955) said, ‘Every organization is within itself a productive or service unit with production or service responsibilities. It is also a social unit, with social responsibilities.

Public relations is as old as mankind and as new as today’s newspaper (Dr. Robert P Cavalier 1979) Robert P. Cavalier of the American Institute of bankers went on to define public relations as programs and activities carried out among the many sectors of the public by banking institution to create goodwill and an understanding of the banks role in their lives.

Ikechuwu Nwasu (1990) in his bank “mass communication and mass development stated that the public relations refer to that as management function that is aimed at making friends for an organization.

Although the planned practice of public relation is relatively recent development in banking, it has come to recognized as in the bank operation and element without which individual bank and indeed the entire banking structure as we know it cannot endure.

The international public relations association defines the practice of public relation in this way ‘public relation is a management function of continued and planned character through which public and private organization and institution seek to win and retain the understanding, sympathy and support of those with whom they are or may be concerned by evaluating public opinion about them-selves in other to correct, as for as possible their own practice and procedures to achieve by planned and widespread information more productive co-operation and more effective fulfillment of their common interests.

The British institute of public relations defines the function as “the deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between organization and its publics.

Implore in this definition is the three-fold function of the professional practitioner who is employed in the UBA Plc.

(1)  To ascertain and evaluate public opinion as it relates to his organization.

(2)  To counsel executives on way of dealing with public opinion as it exists.

(3)  To use communication to influence public opinion reduced to simple terms. The practitioner is the middleman in a continuously circulating patter of communication.

Each relationship with the public over-time are compounded of performance that satisfies the customer and communication of such satisfactory performance. Fundamentally, it is the performance of those identified with an organization as they carryout the organizational objective that eventually culminates in public attitudes towards the organization.

Public relations, therefore is concerned with creating, promoting and selling bank services. UBA Plc exists at the sufferance of people they have no vested right to existence as private institution. They operate under low but can therefore, apply public relations to ensure that they perform to the satisfaction of people and persuade people (customers) that are on essential part of a free enterprise economy, operating for the greatest good number of customers.

In any business where products or services are sold, the customer is the key to success. Many years ago, one of the American’s greatest merchants Marsha field, expressed the whole principle of customer relations in a few words “customer is always right”

Customer can make or break or commercial enterprise. If they are pleased with what the buy and happy about their treatment, they will continue to buy and tell their friends. If the product, service or treatment is unsatisfactory, the customers will not only stop buying but also will tell friends and acquaintance about the unhappy experience.

Relations with customer are often as much as marketing problem, good salesmanship and good customer service go hand and hand.

In UBA Plc, the public relation manage does tell the banking people what to do but in most cases the bank manage, is more then willing to receive suggestion, he know that anything that improves customer service will make his job easier.

The objectives of customer relations are to retain old customers to attract new customers to get a bigger share of the customers many to reduce complaints and to reduce costs and their make customers like the staff.


Abraham Maslaw was the foremost management scientist was able to relate much behaviour to his needs. The needs in turn were classified into wings in a lodda of hierarchy.

Lawrence W. nolte (1976) has pointed out that building good customers relations can be attained by the following essentials; Attitude, policy action and two-way communication.

In social science, the term attitude has come to mean a posture of the mind rather than of the body.

Altitudes are acquired during the course of socialization and these have been seen as capable of influencing the customer wants or the banks staff service to customers.

While Maslow treated motivation of work, Nolte dwelt on the attitude of the work, very many factors motivate or demotivate a worker, the status of a worker should reflect in the importance of his role in the organization as a system. The different in status should be clearly defined so that the works appreciate that their roles do not make the less important as person.

Status and function require that each person have importance and dignity in his or her job despite the necessity for the jobs to be subordinated. This means that the cleaner in UBA plc realizes and feels sure that his job is worth while in the overall scheme of thins. The same is true for the clerk in the banking section of UBA.

Provision for the satisfaction of equal opportunity requires that each person’s capabilities be known and measurable. It is not required nor is it desirable that all persons have equal opportunity for advancement regardless of their capabilities. It is not require or desirables that opportunities be opened in directions were people have unequal aptitude or training. An effort should be made to help the individual advance as far as possible in directions for which he is qualified. He cannot have a lasting working satisfaction if he is denied avenues of advancement or the hope of advancement, either socially or economically.

Giving the individual staff status, function and opportunity established a whole working relationship. It satisfies the needs of everyone for security, importance, individuality and the friendship and esteem of others, which automatically brings cordial customer services. The environment in which the staff performs their daily assignment should be such that facilitates printing solutions to the problem. In this regard, enough and adequate working tables, seats, working space and operational machines, interaction and external telephone and any environment should call for mention. The provision of staff canteen or recreation should also form part of this. The UBA Plc in this regard provide canteen services for both the senior and junior staff. They also give them lunching vouchers to subsidize the cort of lunch each working day.

They go further in motivation the staff by giving scholarship to qualified children of staff to cover part of their post-primary education. The bank also operates of staff-retirement benefit of all staff. All these will raise the staff attitudes towards work.

There are also socio-economic factors that affects both customers and staff to their disservice’s. In certain parties of the country as in Enugu where the case study is based, people are generally always in a hurry. The enterprising attitude as it is seen by the indigenous is often carried too far and the result is that they thrive on organization disorder rather than order. It is believed in many fields that this cultural background contributes significantly to the inefficiencies of the banking system.

Some quarters believe that the economy, with its perennial anemic forces the workers to despondence and therefore open to undue influence or gratification. Staff therefore generally gets the impression that doing the job well according to the text is all that matter and not necessarily to satisfy customers wants. As Professor G. Nwankwo recognized in his words Bank management that human resources are truly the most important and critical assets of the bank. Without human beings the organization are no more than a mere assemblage of building, plants, and equipment’s. He consequently extolled the needs and advantages of good industrial relationship.

The precondition for this, which he gave, includes reorganization and appreciation for ensuring and maintaining good industrial hormony. He also advised the human resources management. Reorganization of causes and sources of harmony for appropriate address is also important. He also required the importance of understanding the terms of condition of work by all employees / manager communication gap also featured in the threats to industrial harmony.

It is also very important to note that motivation can influence the work attitude of staff-thereby affecting their relationship with customers. Ikechukwu defined motivation as “the driving force that stimulates on individual to action. Ajiyola described motivation as “a process of stimulating people action to achieve desired goods on accomplished tasks. Yroom H. (1962) gives a more conceptual definition of motivation as “a process governing chances made by a person or lower organisms among alternatives forms of voluntary action.

The finding of a research conducted by Oloko in (1977) suggested that Nigeria worker does not perceive that his advancement depends much on his hard works. The above shows that the extent on individual staff is motivated affect his / her work attitude and this go a long way to affect the staff customer relationship. But Ikechukwu Mou (1985) rightly said “it is an act of Intellectual dishonesty to isolate one unit from the society and compared them without taking the organic whole into consideration”. This means that UBA Plc.

Might not be doing too badly considering the banking age; structure and regularly framework within which it operates and technological development when compared with other banks in a developed nations that are for ahead of Nigeria. He finally concluded that bank staff service to customer is not cordial but depended that with our age and level of all round development the relationship is not operating below far.

Conclusively while not exhaustive the four ms “mistakes, misunderstanding, misinterpretation and misrepresentations” summarize the major causes of distrust and disputes between management and labour and therefore tend to pollute the industrial relations atmosphere. Obviously the need to recognize that the psychological happiness of the individual is strongly influenced by his experience at work and that his strongly influenced his productivity is not for fatted.

Managers have therefore sought ways of promoting the workers happiness in other of promoting the workers happiness in other to secure maximum output and strikes are some of the probable. In other term frustration could be said to get in with it attendant apathy reflecting in the services that are being giving to customers. It is true that hard work handling kills but bank eschew slavery.

In a condition where obsolete equipment are being used whereas modern one are known to be available to competitions can give workers frustration. The adequate number of staff to excellent services as they will enjoy doing their work.


Dr. A.F. Ndubisi attributed the fall in standard of bank services to greed, corruption, lack of confidence and distrust in his paper presented at the union bank of Nigeria Plc. During the 1991 Enugu Area conference in October. He  proceeded his main work with definition of terms like organization, management, confidence, greed etc.

Then he went ahead to show their relationship in the banking industry. His perceptive lead into re-examination to some bank slogans and jingles says he “we set the pace” who are we? Bank employers and employees not their customers set the pace. Am I right? One would like to know what pace is adversely set, it in greed or in confidence or in excellent services or in disservice’s to their customers. He went further to advocate certain virtues that extol good customer service.

In conclusion we urged the management to analyze synthesis and evaluate “the negative effects of corruption of the banks role in arresting the prevalent disservice and consequent disharmony.

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