THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SERVICE QUALITY AND PROFITABILITY IN FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA PLC
Banks competition for customers has become aggressive over the years. It is no longer the norm for banks to wait for customers to come to them as this used to happen when there were few banks and it was a sellers market. With the post Structural Adjustment era, the number of banks has increased with each bank adopting its own strategy to jostle for customers and retain them. Nearly all banks offer the same products; banks must find a way to distinguish themselves in the eyes of the customer and clearly, a distinction in the total package of the offering lies in service quality. This is the ability to delight the customer by meeting and continuously exceeding the expectation of your customers. Satisfied customers have a tendency to use the bank that they are most comfortable with. This study seeks to find out if improved service quality in banks would result in increased profitability because customers are happy with the services offered by the bank and thereby tend to use the bank more often. First Bank of Nigeria PLC (FBN) was used in this study as they have demonstrated a remarkable difference in their total offering in the last six (6) years. To test for how satisfied the FBN customers are, a questionnaire reflecting a varying degree of responses, from “strongly agreed” to “strongly disagree” were administered on respondents of the bank customers within the Island, irrespective of the type of accounts they operate. A sample of 388 was drawn from a population of 13,000 of which responses were obtained from 380 respondents. Hypothesis was tested to find out if adopting service quality initiatives would bring about customer satisfaction and loyalty. The results indicate that, once the right and consistent quality of service was delivered, the customer will make repeat buys and stay loyal. Another set of questionnaire was administered to Management Staff of FBN to find out what they were doing to improve service quality and if improving service quality would result in increased profitability. The researcher used all members of Management, from, Assistant General Managers to the Managing Director, numbering 46. 42 responses were obtained. Results indicate that FBN Plc, is doing a lot to improve quality service, they are aware of the importance of service quality and indeed profitability has improved over 300% since they adopted service quality initiatives. For banks to achieve a high level of service quality, they must first, appraise where they are, what they hope to achieve and how they would get there. Once this is identified, strategies would be mapped out as to how to achieve this objective. It is a continuous process, as banks must constantly improve on their processes and offerings to continuously delight the customer and remain competitive in a crowded market place.