Abstract: The study impact of indigenous language in telecom customers care on customers satisfaction among Osun State University Students Osogbo. The rationale for carrying out this study is to investigate the degree to which telecommunication service people in indigenous language and the extent to which people also prefer to be served in indigenous language among other objectives. This research was anchored on Grunig and Hunt Model of Public Relations, Integrated Marketing Communication Theory and Accommodation Theory respectively. The survey research method and questionnaire were used as a research instrument to gather the required data. Accidental sampling technique was used to select 100 respondents across the faculties in Osun State University Students Osogbo. The data collected in this study were analysed using frequency and percentage tables. Findings show that many of the respondents call customers to care unit of their service provider mostly because of the issues associated with SIM retrieval, recharging issues, browsing issues, SIM registration and wrong deduction of credit/data issues. It is obvious that the majority of the respondents (50%) speak English to the customer care unit followed by the Yoruba language. Although, many preferred to be served in the Indigenous language while calling customers to care unit because it affords them to freely ask and express themselves. It is recommended that telecommunication companies should increase their response rate at least they should pick calls within 30 seconds and not less than a minute ring. Also, more people who can effectively speak in indigenous language should be employed to effectively bridge the communication gaps.
1.1 Background to the Study
There is considerable evidence that there are lots of factors affecting customers satisfaction in numerous ways, few of them include but are not limited to the following: there is widespread dissatisfaction with the general telecommunication development in Nigeria among users from the poor network service, unsolicited SMS, unsolicited subscriptions, over deduction of data, high call tariff, high data tariff, illegal deductions etc
However, customer satisfaction and loyalty have been identified as critical success factors in any business organization. Recent developments in the Nigerian telecommunications industry indicate that the operators engage in several marketing activities to ensure that their subscribers are satisfied and brand loyal. However, most subscribers complain about the quality of services and some port from one operator to the other or use several lines (Oghojafor, Ladipo, Ighomereho and Odunewu, 2014).
Similarly, the world’s current population is estimated at about 7.3 billion people. Out of this figure, about 6.8 billion have been verified to own a mobile phone. This is a staggering 98 percent of the human race. Samuel and Olatokun (2014). The mobile phone has been said to be the fastest diffusing innovation of all time, taking just a few years to reach the furthest part of the world. Mobile phones have out-diffused virtually every prior technology including; bicycles, radios, television sets, wallets, and wristwatches, and has done so in twenty-five years. At the moment, China, India, United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Pakistan, Germany and Nigeria are reported to be the top 10 countries in the world with over 100 million mobile subscriptions. Out of the global 6.8 billion subscribers’ figure, the total corresponding to the developed world is estimated to be 1.6 billion while the remaining 5.2 billion-plus, belong to the developing economy (Samuel and Olatokun, 2014).
Of the figure corresponding to the developing world, subscribers on the African Continent are estimated to be 545 million. Nigeria with an estimated population of 162.5 million according to The World Bank, is reported to have an active mobile subscribers base estimated at about 106.9 million out of the total subscribers of 143 million people. Nigerian active mobile subscribers hence represent about 65.8 percent of the entire population. Samuel and Olatokun (2014).
Furthermore, Nigerian subscribers also constitute about 19 percent of the total mobile telecom subscribers on the African Continent, a feat that has earned the country the first on the African continent and the 10th place in the entire world. Mobile telecommunications service provision in Nigeria is currently shared among four companies that include; MTN, GLO, AIRTEL, and ETISALAT. Samuel and Olatokun (2014).
Also, Statistics showed that among the subscribers of mobile services in Nigeria, MTN subscribers top the list with over 47 million subscribers constituting about 43.3 percent of the total GSM subscribers in the country. GLO is the second with a subscribers’ base of over 24 million which represent about 22 percent of the total market share and it is followed by AIRTEL with over 23 million constituting about 21.1 percent of the total market share. ETISALAT currently has the least subscribers of about 14 million-plus, representing about 13.6 percent of the total market share.
However, the essence of being in business by any commercial organisation is to produce for sales and profits. For an organisation to continue to be in business such organisation must generate enough sales from its products or services to cover operating costs and post reasonable profits.
For many organizations, sales estimate is the starting point in budgeting or profit planning. It is so because it must be determined, in most cases before production units could be arrived at. In sales and customer service, the ability to conduct business in a local language is becoming increasingly crucial to the success of companies in multiple industries. It is not only a kindness but a holder of true business value. Whale Path (2014).
Therefore, consumers or customers satisfaction is a hallmark of a successful business whether the company is offering tangible goods or services, it needs to satisfy the interest of the consumers for such company to grow and wax stronger because an organization must be seen as a good community citizen and should have the goodwill of the community and people in which it operates.
Communication and interaction are one of the means to satisfy customers interest, especially in a telecommunication company where the literates and the illiterates, highly social and less social, high income, middle income and low-income earners form the major characteristics of their clients who may want to complain, seek help and need clarifications.
Since indigenous language is a native language spoken by a particular people in a particular community. From a customer care perspective, a company or private customer must be able to talk to his customers in the language with which they feel most comfortable. Unless the customer care and billing system can cope with that language.
Telecom providers need a customer-focused system in which information about a customer always remains with that customer, even if he moves from one location to another, and the customer details are kept in his or her preferred language. It is against this background that the study impact of indigenous language in telecom customers care on customers satisfaction.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Previous researches and observations show that consumers get motivated and influenced by messages or conversations in their native language especially among the less educated and adults in the society because it gives them free room to express themself.
It is also believed that using indigenous language to serve the people is an amount to social responsibility to the customers by identifying with them, this gives them a sense of belonging.
Therefore, if the representative and consumers are not on the same frame of reference there cannot be effective communication because the nature of the feedback may not be adequate to satisfy consumers need. Also, some even feel ashamed to call customer representatives when they have problems because of the language barrier. It is against this background that the study investigates the impact of indigenous language in telecom customers care on customers satisfaction among Osun State University Students Osogbo.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine whether customers’ care unit of telecommunication companies are serving subscribers in Osun State University Students in an indigenous language.
- To examine the language(s) that subscribers in Osun State University Students prefer to select when speaking with customers’ care representative.
- To ascertain the effectiveness of telecommunication services in indigenous language compared to the English language.
1.4 Research Questions
- Does the customers’ care unit of telecommunication companies serve subscribers in Osun State University Students in indigenous language?
- Which of the language(s) do subscribers in Osun State University Students refer to select when speaking with customers’ care representatives.
- How effective is telecommunication services in the indigenous language compared to the English language?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Telecommunication Industries and other multinational companies: The research will be of significance to telecommunication companies and other big companies that tend to enhance their customer service satisfaction because it will keep them aware of the benefit of using indigenous language in relating with indigenous people in order to satisfy their communication need.
Researchers: Researchers and scholars interested in indigenous language usage as a tool for effective customer satisfaction research find the materials useful as it will provide them with a clue to their own research.
Contribution to academic: It forms part of academic materials that students, lecturers, researchers, the company can turn to when looking for materials or existing literature on this concept or related once.
Consumers: It offers consumers the confidence to speak their language by requesting the rep to transfer them to those who can speak their language for better communication and interaction.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigates the impact of indigenous language in telecom customers care on customers satisfaction among Osun State University Students Osogbo. has been narrowed in scope to Osun State University Students due to its proximity to the researcher and the difficulties to study all subscribers if telecommunication companies in Nigeria to inadequate time, material, fund and other logistics.
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Impact: This refers to the holistic appreciation of the indigenous language in enhancing customers service satisfaction of telecommunication companies.
Indigenous language: It refers to a language of particular native or people such as Ibibio, Anang, Igbo, Yoruba that is accepted as the language of communication especially within their cycle.
Customer care: It refers to the ability of telecommunication companies to be able to assist, solve problems and relate with subscribers towards satisfying their needs.
GSM Firms: These are the telecommunication companies offering GSM, data and other services to subscribers in Nigeria.
Subscriber Service Satisfaction: The ability of the telecommunication company to address, solve, guide and suggest meaningfully on what a subscriber could see a problem or need clarification and so on.