The Role of Public Relations in Enhancing Customers Satisfaction in a Government Parastatals
The role of public relations in ENHANCING CUSTOMERS SATISFACTION IN A GOVERNMENT PERASTATTALS (A CASE STUDY) OF THE ENUGU STATE IDATER CORPORATION) is hinged on disclosing the necessity of applying public relations and the role public relations can play in rendering a satisfactory services which will not only retain customer but attract more customers to a government firm.
Accordingly, customer satisfaction has to do with serving the customers in a most respectable and satisfying manner as well as conducting such services in a way he customer like or want according to John Hoepers (1985) “in the free market economy, one gains wealth only through serving the customers best d determined by the opinion of the customers themselves. The researcher has investigated on how the management sees the public relations department of the Enugu state water corporation and what satrapies it has employed in including the satisfaction of the corporations customers and how these strategies have affected the relationship of customers with the government organizations Questionnaires and oral interviews were used by the researcher to obtain data. A total of 150 questionnaires were given to respondents comprising the employee, management and customers of Enugu state water corporation but only 122 questionnaires were returned. The researcher also make use of reluctant and reliable test books written by authors on public relations.
From the findings, the researcher was able to observe that the public relations department of the Enugu State water corporation is highly regarded and its action ties have contributed to the tremendous growth of the corporation and its suggestions also form the basis of their policies.
Another major observation is that the corporation through the role of the public relations department has adopted and implemented some suggestions made by customers to serve them better.
In ending this study, the researcher has made some recommendations both for the growth and progress of the corporation and also for further studies in this area.
The project, for the purpose of easy understanding is divided into five chapter. The first chapter entails the introduction of the topic under study and the second chapter deals with the review of relevant literature that has been used in this project.
Chapter three deals with the outline of the methodology used whereas chapter four contain the analysis and interpretation of the result.
The summary of this work is discussed in chapter five together with the conclusion and recommendations for further study.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In this are of multifarious organization for production, service or distribution and its subsequent watertight competition among the concerns, it has become germane for an organization whether profit-oriented or public service type to continually adjust themselves to the needs of the environment in order to survive.
“No man island”. The same applies to an organization because no organization can function in isolation from the public that constitutes its environment.
The public which constitutes the environment and forms the nucleus of any society has to be pleased and satisfied that an organization has its interest at heart for the organization to survive. There can be no escape in today’s world from the grinding wheels of public attitude. This is the era of “the public is pleased”. For the obvious reason that every organization is dependent on its public for survival. And public support can only gained of the public are satisfied.
The prevailing notion that “the customer is always right” therefore needs to be treated courteously and respectively has heightened and intensified the relevance of the public relations in to day’s business organization. Subsequently, business organizations should not keep away from the public but should maintain a progressive cordial relationship with them.
The public relations role includes how well an organization has been able to elicit the understanding of its customers, which it needs to survive and grow in business.
The nature this relations with customers depend very much on how well the customer are treated and how well they are satisfied with the services of the organization which will invariable affect the reputation of the organization public relations can play an important role in safeguarding a reputation or in establishing a new public image, it can also do valuable work in improving or enhancing methods of communication with existing and potential customers.
An organization needs to be understood so as to fare well in the midst of competition. One way of doing this is to map out a program of action that is customer-oriented and favorable to the general people. The idea is to establish a solid base and gain a competitive advantage over its competitions. This has given rise to a new business philosophy in which the orientation is to evolve a cluster and value satisfactions such that the targeted public would want to deal with an organization rather than its competitors. This marketing innovation strategy advanced by professor Theodore lavitt aids to form the pillar of public relations.
For threw to be cordial relationship and understanding, there must be communication which forms the main tools of public relations practice. Likewise for the comm. communication to be effective and profitable, it must be mixed with courtesy and politeness which is what public relations are all about. Effective communication plays a relevant part in an organization’s relations with its customers. An organization should endeavor to integrate the interest of its customers in its policy; to give them a sense of belonging through interpreting the objectives and activities of the organization to the most people are interested in what an organization is doing to meet their concerns and interest. It is the function of the public relations progression to explain the organization’s actions to various publics involved with the organization. As offonry Kanu (1985.25) succinctly and maintaining public goodwill is communication’; public relations communication is two-way communication. The public relations professional also pays close attention to the thoughts and feedings of the organization’s public. Some experts refer to public an organization and its public.
It is “public’s because the organization typically deals with many different several public in its day–to–day operations, several public relations scholars external publics. Internal public concludes employee managers. External public consists of customers, government, dealers, suppliers, members of the community, and the mass for all these various public serves as the link for all these various public.
Public relations is a management function it is designed to enable as form set its goal and adapt to a changing environment. It is easily identifiable.
That the basic philosophy underlying public relations practice is that people matter and that opinion is of prime importance in all spheres of activities. As put by Joseph R. Dominick in the dynamics of mass communication; “public relations is a management function that helps to define organization objectives and facilitate organization change” public realt6ions partitions communicate with all relevant internal and external publics in the effort to create consistency between organizational goals and social organization programmes that promote the exchange of influences and understanding among organization’s constituent parts and public.
Public relations by way of definition according to the British institute of public relations (IPR) “referred to it as the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its public’; The phrase “planned and sustained” portrays that PR practice is not a chance event or fire brigade approach to management.
Sam black (1982) defined public relations practice “as the art and science of achieving harmony with the environment through mutual understanding based on truth full information. Again the phrase “based on truth and full information should be noted because public relations practice is not based on half truth.
From the above definition, me can deduce that public relation refers to the management function that aims at making financials and building internal external goodwill on be reasonable assumption that these are strongly needed for the organization to remain in whatever business is engaged in as well as grow and prosper in it.
It is the theory of public relations that management shall plan, establish, sustain and maintain mutual understanding and goods will with its public based on truth and full information. However, it is the practice of public relations that these noble principles should not only be accommodated in the organization’s policy decision but must be impalement to the latter. The organization must be seen living up to its public relations principle, before talking much about it, because, it has been said with some truth, that public relations is 90% percent doing good and 10 percent talking about it.
In the case of Enugu state water corporation, a large percentage of the needs of the customer are administered by the employees. Only on rare occasion segments. Therefore the way the employees attend to these customers’ answers to their enquires etc. will ascertain the likely perception of the organization by the customer (whether positive or negative when services are rendered efficiently and promptly questions answered politely and customers treated courteously customers will most likely return to do business with the corporation.
Apart from containing to do business with the corporation, customers will also inform their finances and relations about the form and they will, in turn, patronize the corporation. Thus, the water corporation not only gains more customers, but its corporate image will soar as it will be perceived positively by as many as will hear about it. Besides, customers are potential applicants and jobs seekers. The relations organizations with its customers right reveal to the applicants whether the organization is a good one to work with. The way the public perceives an organization will determine how the public will respond to respond to the organization, either with hostility, apathy, prejudice, and ignorance. And since the organization cannot dot without their pubic threw is the necessity to not only build, but also to sustain and maintain good public relations, positive corporate image. As stated by George flakagan “if an individual’s contact and experience with an organization is extensive, his proposed image of the organization is likely to be strong, positive and relatively stable, if on the other and, the individual duel’s familiarity with the organization is slight, the image will probably be weak and negative. Thus, the degree of customer’s satisfaction in an organization goes a long way in effecting the image of the organization. If the satisfaction is high, the customer tends to maintain a more cordial relationship with the organization and vice –versa.
The Enugu water corporation is both public service and business organization and as such it requires to succeed. As a public institution, it is devoted to servicing the public interest, it must have its customer satisfaction as the prime motive to enhance its public image and gain public goodwill and acceptance.
As a business organization it must use business principles to operate in such a manner that it becomes economically viable enough to defend maintain its independence against crumbling.
Against this bank ground, Enugu state water corporation established the public relation of the organization’s object actives. this is so because no business organization can make any progress or headway without the service of public relations personnel.
1.2 BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ENUGU STATE WATER CORPORATION
The Enugu state water corporation metamorphosed from the state ministry of work through periods of creation of states in Nigeria, to its present formation its origin therefore started before the creation of old Anambra and Imo State ministry of works the them state ministry of works known as water supply division was created in the ministry to handle wear supply in the state.
In 1970. the two states Anambra and the Imo States were created along with another new state in Nigeria by the then federal government and this led to the formation of the then Anambra state water board in 1975 which was later renamed as Anambra state water corporation as a full government parastatal. In 1978, the state government established an edict know as Anambra state establishment of the state water board with responsibilities of provision, conservation, maintenance and distribution of potable water to the people of the state and in other hand, charge water users for the services rendered to them such charge known as water rates were based on the government’s approved subsidized Farris.
The Enugu state water corporation (ENSWC) was established by Edict No. 1 if 1997. the edict defines a Board, consisting of the director general of the ministry of public utilities (or his representative), the managing director of ENSWC, the executive director of the department of finance and department. In the amendment of 1999, the executive director for Engineering was added. In practice the executive director of Administration is also member. The Edict assigns to the corporation the task of water supply through the state, both in rural and urban areas. According to the edict, ENSWC shall “develop, provide conserve and distribute in the state water for the public, domestic and industrial purpose and charging adequate fees. “for this, all state assets related to water supply have been transferred to ENSWC.
Meanwhile daily maters, ENSWC is managed by the managing director, assisted a staff office for public relations and a staff office for internal audit.
To carry out its responsibility, the corporation has
– a finance and supplies department with an accounts and a purchasing section,
– a commercial department, responsibility for the billing and collection
– an administrative department for personnel management, transport and security;
– a department for engineering service sections
This is the biggest department. Apart from sections at HO, it includes the Ajall: water treatment plant and eight (8) Zonal offices: four in Enugu City:
G R A
And four throughout state:
9th mile (covering a part of Udi LGA)
Nsukka, which is recently in Nsukka North, Covering, Udenu, Igbo Eze North, Igbo Eze South and town, Nsukka, Igbo Etiti and Uzo – Uwani LGAs)
Network operation and maintenance (mainly in Enugu metropolis and Nsukka town) is completely the responsibility of the zonal oggices, as there are no distribution section vices at the jead Quarter (HO).
MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF ENUGU STATE WATER CORPORATION
The water corporation is seriously involved in the business of portable drinking water to the inhabitants of Enugu state and also keeping record of the money realized from such business for the maintenance well pay its staffs.
POLICY ON CUSTOMER RELATIONS
It is policy of the water corporation that they depend on the customer for survival and therefore the customer should be accorded due respect.
The water corporation believed the “customer is always right: and should be treated courteously. The corporation ensures that customers are treated equally and attended to in time and provides complaint boxes equally where customers drop their written complaints and grievances.
And they customer the satisfaction of their customers as the topmost priority.
1.3 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The Enugu state water corporation like any other organization has lately dabbled state and in another hand, charge water users for the services rendered to them, but such charges known as water were based on the government’s approved subsidized ferrets.
The Enugu state water corporation (ENSWC) was established by Edict No, 1 of 1997. the Edict defines the board, constituting of the director-general of the ministry of public utility (or reprehensive), the managing director of ENSWC, the executive director of the commercial department. In the amendment, if 1999, the executive director for engineering was added. In practice the executive director of administration is also a member. The edict assigns to the corporation the task of water supply throughout the state, both in rural and urban areas. According to the edict ENSWC shall: “develop, provide conserve and distribute in the state water for public, domestic and industrial purpose and charging adequate fees. “For this a;; states assets related to water supply have been transferred to ENSWC.
Mean which in daily matters; ENSWC is managed by the managing director, assisted by a staff officer for public relations and a staff office for internal audit.
To carry out its responsibility, the corporation has
– a finance and supplies department with an accounts and a purchasing section
– a commercial department, responsibility for billing and collection, and administration department for personnel management transport and security;
– a department for engineering services.
This is the biggest department apart from sections at HO, it includes the Ajall: water treatment plant and eight (8) zond offices : four in Enugu City:
G R A
And four throughout the state”
9th mile (covering a part of Udi LGA)
Nsukka, which is recently divided in Nsukka North, (covering Udenu, Igbo – Eze North, Igbo – South and Isiuzo LGAs) and Nsukka Etiti and Nsukka town, Nsukka Igbo
Net work operations and maintenance (mainly in Enugu metropolis and Nsukka town) is complete the responsibility of the zonal offices, as a department for Engineering services at a headquarter (HO).
MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF ENUGU STATE WATER CORPORATION
The water corporation is seriously involved in the business of portable drinking water to the inhabitants of Enugu state and also keeping record of the money realized and upkeep of the corporation and as well pay its staffs.
POLICY ON CUSTOMER RELATIONS
It is the policy of the water corporation that they depend on the customer for survival and therefore customers should be accorded due respect.
The water corporation believes that the “customer is always right” and should be treated courteously. the corporation ensures that customer are treated equally and attended to in time and provides a complaints box equally where customers drop their written complaints and grievances.
And they consider the satisfaction of their customer as the topmost priority.
1.4 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The Enugu state water corporation like any other organization has later dabbled patronizing the usually “tanker water sales “with untreated unhygnic water causing diseases. This condition found in water corporations has created an unfavorable image of the corporation to the public because sentiment and opinions have not been mounded to the advantage of the corporation. The only effect remolding public sentiment is through effective partial public relations in the water corporations which up till now has not been fully utilized in the water corporation.
1.5 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
According to S.T Harlow (1993:25), public relations is a distinctive management function that helps to establish and maintain mutual communication, understanding, and acceptance between an organization and its public.
As regards this, this is geared towards examining the necessity of public relations out in the water corporation into public relations by up public relation department.
However, unlike other institutions, public relations in Enugu state water corporation has not been given adequate attention and power to co-ordinate all the units in the corporation.
In most water corporations in the country, public relations departments are not filled with precise power in what to corporation not to do.
Most water corporation neglects them and relegates them to the background. Most of the corporations, infact not understand nor appreciate the management function of the public relations department. They ten to see it only as an image-making department fit only to carry out their public stunt.
There is a need in most water corporations for effective utilization of their public relations department and the corporation of public relations department into managerial cadre.
There is this general view that water corporation workers tend to treat people (customers) without any regard for elation.
This them has led people away to patronizing water corporation to ration more so to portray the roles this department play for the corporation. This task is its managerial function of establishing rapport and goodwill between the corporation and its various.
Some of the objectives are:-
a) To examine the relationship between the water corporation employees and the various public of the corporation whether the relationship is as it is supplied to be.
b) To discover the effects of this public relations role in achieving the organization objectives.
c) To find out the day-to-day activities of the public relations department in the water corporation.
d) To ascertain the level of customer contribution in the services rendered by Enugu state water corporation.
e) To make public recommendation based on observations.
1.6 SIGNIFICATIONS OF STUDY
Research on this topic is considered to be of great importance due to being the fact that it will necessitate the application of public relations in enhancing and boosting the satisfaction of customers.
The water corporation or other organization times are involved with the various public in the social, subsequently, this demands that the Enugu state water corporation endeavour to be in continuous communication and contract with their various public so as to quickly communication and explain the policies and activities of the corporation to their carious public, they should likewise represent fully the interest these publics during the formation of these public
1.7 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Enugu state public relations personnel of Enugu state water corporation satisfy their various customer through the communication function?
1. Are there any programs built particularly for the customer?
2. Is the policies and activities of the PR department in Enugu state water corporation oriented or not?
3. Is there any form for customer to air their views?
4. Dose and desires tarnish the image of Enugu state water corporation?
5. Could improvement in the services of Enugu state water corporation enhance customer satisfaction?
Based on these questions six hypotheses were formed.
Hi: the public relations personnel of Enugu water corporation satisfy their various customers through communication function
Ho: public relations personnel of Enugu state water corporation do not satisfy their various customers through the communication function
H2: the Enugu state water corporation’s public relations department builds a particular program for customers.
Ho: the Enugu state water corporation’s pubic relations department does not build any particular program for customers.
H3: the policies and activities of the PR department in Enugu state corporation is customer oriented.
Ho: the policies and activities of the PR department in Enugu state water corporation are not customer-oriented.
H4: there is a form for customers to air their view.
Ho: there is no form for customer to air view?
H5: the non – satisfaction of the customer’s needs and desires tarnish the image of Enugu state water corporation.
Ho: the non – satisfaction of the customers needs and desires do not tarnish the image of Enugu state water corporation
H6: improvement in the services of Enugu state water corporations in enhancing customer satisfaction.
Ho: improvement in the services of Enugu state water corporation does not help in enhancing customers’ satisfaction
1.8 CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
For the objective of charity in this project, the research adopts the use the these words with the following meaning:-
PR public relations, due to the length of the word, it has been abbreviated to PR and will be used in the course of the project.
PUBLIC/ CORPORATE PUBLIC: The people who are likely to be affected by the activities of the Enugu state water corporation and who activities will equally affect the operation of the water corporation.
CUSTOMERS: The people who patronize the services of the water corporation
ROLE: The refers to functions, duties which promotes progress or activity it can also be expected as the duty which one is supposed to perform at a given time
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: The extent to which the customer are pleased or satisfied with the water corporation’s services.
GOVERNMENT PARASTATAL: people working under the government’s directives.
Taking into account of the role of public relation in enhancing customer’s satisfaction the research deduced the following assumptions:-
That the exist areas of overlap between public relations and its role in enhancing the satisfaction of customers.
That public relations is imperative in boosting customer satisfaction due to the fact that PR is committed to the affairs of an organization’s public;
That customer’s satisfaction is a device for increase business profit as well as to establish good public image and subsequently public acceptance of the business organization and that the inability of an organization to detect its customer’s need and satisfy them could result to losing them
While carrying out this project, I met with scads of difficulties that limited the study.
Some of these problems are lack of found for transportation to and for Enugu Furthermore, some of the respondents were reserved in responding to the questionnaire. They were afraid they mighty be implicated.
Conclusively, the lack of the necessary test books in the library limited the scope of the literature review.
1.10 THE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theory chosen for this work is the effects of media on social institutions like the water corporation in view. As the media have developed they have incontrovertibly, achieved two things diverted time and attention from other activities, and between a channed for reacting more people with more information than was available under pre–mass media conditions. These facts have implications for any other institution’s attention and which requires allocation of people’s time, attention and which has to communicate information, especially to large numbers and in with other institutions and they offer new ways of reaching permament institutional objectives. It is the this which is responsible for the process of institutional effects.
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