THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON CUSTOMERS PATRONAGE OF NEW GENERATION BANK IN NIGERIA A STUDY SELECTED, COMMERCIAL BANKS ABSTRACT: The research work focuses on the public relations influence on customer’ patronage of new generation banks (NGBs) in Enugu . four banks were selected Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank. United Bank for Africa (UBA) and ECO Bank .The main problem talked by the study is what public relations could do in retaining customers of NGBs IN SPITE of the problems bedeviling the banking industry IN Nigeria. Some of the objectives which the study set to achieve include: i To ascertain the influence of public patronage needed to enhanced the profit motives of new general banks (NGBs).ii To determine whether customers are sensitive to the attitude of bank workers toward themiii To determine customer’s perception of NGBs and how such perception affect their patronage vis-a –vis the profit margin of the selected banks.iv To find out what informed customer decision to patronize of the NGBs literature on punlic relation principles , cutomer relations and perception of the banking indutrsy were extensively reviewed . both primary and secondary data were used for the study. Initially some high ranking ground office staff were interviewed and the information obtained from them were quite useful in pursuing certain are of inquiry and which later formal the basis for the construction of the questionnaire and formulation of hypotheses. At last some finding were made and conclusions reached some of the findings are that:i Customer are sensitive to bank workers attitude towards them ii Customers have favorable image rating f NGBs studied iii Customer will encourage others to patronize NGBs because of nice treatment they receive from bank workers etc. TABLE OF CONTENT Title page iCertification iiDedication iiiAcknowledgement ivAbstract vTable of content viiCHAPTER ONE 1.1 Background of study 11.2 Statement of problem 41.3 Research objectives 51.4 Hypotheses formulation 61.5 Significance of the study 61.6 Scope of the study 61.7 Limitations of the study 71.8 Definition of operational terms 7 References CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Modern philosophy of public relation s 102.2 Public relations and Banking in Nigeria 122.3 The Role of public Relations in the management of finance 142.4 The structure and the Role of public relations department at corporate level of Banks 172.5 Doing public relations at the branch levels of banks 192.6 Tips for frontline officers on How us Relate with the customers and other key publics at the Branch level 232.6 (b) Selection and Training of frontline people in the Art of Quality customer service 242,7 Customer Relations 282.8 Objective of customers Relations 292.9 How to plan a customer Relations programme 302.10 Who are the customers 312.11 What the customers perceive is Reality to Him 322.12 Key to shaping customer perception 342.13 Review of ethical imperative and social responsibility 39References 41 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Research design 443.2 Population of the study 443.3 Sample and sampling technique 443.4 sample size determination 453.5 Research instruments and procedure 463.6 Reliability / validity of research instrument 473.7 Method of data analysis 47References 48CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS 4.1 Introduction 494.2 Allocation of questionnaire and rate of returns 494.3 Analysis of relevant questions 54 4.4 Test of hypotheses 63CHAPTER FIVE : SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION 5.1 Summary of findings 705.2 Conclusion 715.3 Recommendation 725.4 Suggestion for further studies 73Bibliography Appendix (Questionnaire ) CHAPTER ONE 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY To survive in the banking business effective public relations is inevitable. Gone are the days when some banks thrived because the customer had no choice. The situation today is that the bank must convince the customer, to attract his patronage. In other words, customer satisfaction has become a basis for attraction. Also in the banking sector, public relations are most needed to boost customer relations, financial relations and shareholder relations which in turn will help to build a sustainable corporate image. However, at the close of last millennium two major contradictory phenomena occurred in Nigeria banking sector. The older banks in the sector were not really performing their financial intermediation roles to expectation . some of these older banks that were deemed to have grown solid in every confidence and credibility . this was largely kue to liquidity problems or what has been referred to as financial distress in the industry or better put banking in business for ages and are still strong to survive whatever vicissitude this millennium might bring to the industry .The issue of public relations was regulated to the background by some banks prior to (during) the distress era of the banking industry. What informed these banks attitudes is largely due to lack of proper understanding of what public relations stands for and its principles. Another glaring factor that has been ascribed to this ill attitude is that PR is being misconstrued to mean the same thing as advertising , publicity or marketing. And because f this misconception, public relations activities are not giving adequate attention where they exit in such organization. It is unfortunate thing that some claim that they do not use public relations, some even pride themselves on the fact they do not need public relations though in such banks its easy to spot public relations in their daily operations. Consequtly a number of banks dubbed ‘New Generation Bank (NGBs)” sprang up within the same period when the majority of the old generation banks were distressed o meet the banking needs of the masses and have remained on the scene till date. The contradiction here stems from the fact that while the distressed banks could not survive the stiff central bank guidelines and the ever rising inflation in the amid acutely low customer patronage, the NGBs have managed to remain afloat even in the face of more stiff operational climate. The advent of new generation banks and finance houses and the consequent cut- throat competition call for effective public relations as an augmentation strategy. Otukere Ubani (1996: 201) remarked that “this competition grows keenest as the banks make planned efforts to day off the central bank’s list of distressed banks, which may sign at the end of the road for them”. Adikwu (in Nwosu, 1990:265) may therefore be right when he muted the idea that “the continued success of commercial banks will reflect broadcast range of profitable financial services to the greatest number of people”.Comparatively, there is a big gap between the way the old generation banks and new generation banks understand and apply public relations. The customers relations, financial relations and shareholder relations practices./strategies of the old generation banks are weak compared to the new generation banks give their liquidity rations, customers patronage and innovativeness in product conceptualization and product/ service delivery, we should remember that it is the good will of the customers that keep the banks afloat, . the question now is, “how do banks apply customer public relations in the major industry” Nwosu (1996:124) has an answer. He asks: How are your customer alter-market service ?Are you a ‘kick and go” entity or do you have “after sales” or follow up polices in the Interest of your customers? How are your Trade relations ? Are you a cheat or swindler ? The way customers are treated matter a lot. The pre and post service attitude should not dffe. It is detrimental to maltreat the customer just because you have got what you wanted from him. What about tomorrow ? the trade character and the method of doing business must be positive. Infact the post market service attitude should encourage the customers to come bank by giving an impression that lasts. The information the banks transmits to the customer and the manner of doing so, must communicate concern for the customers. The concern must infact start at the reception and security points. In trying to achieve all these, salesmanship skill is necessary. Defined by Ifezue (1999:31) “as the ability to interpret product and service features in terms of its benefits and advantage to the buyer, to persuade and motivate him to buy the right kind and quality of product, “it can be used to inform and educate the market”. This is the only way to clear the negative perception, which many people have about the banking industry. With the emergence of many new and sophisticated banks there is no doubt that the stake is high for operators in Nigeria . but with good customers public relations, the fear of survival is allayed. 1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS It is n established fact that public relations pervades all sphere of bank business, but how the principles, strategies are being used to achieve corporate goals especially customer’s patronage agitate our minds . the concerning point in public relations is that it involves building and maintaining public confidence in a organization by so doing achieve corporate objective through sustained customer patronage. The fact that the banking business in Nigeria and indeed, elsewhere, is highly competitive today more than ever, therefore, it is imperative therefore, that operators in the industry should perceive public relations as “ a social philosophy of management” which according to Edeani (Ibid: 265) “assigns pride of place to the needs and well being of the organization’s public , with the understanding that when first consideration is given to the interests of the public in this way, the organizations own interest will ultimately be fully and satisfactorily served”.In the light of the highly competitive commercial climate and given that bank’ prospects are not only adequately informed but also actively involved in whatever decisions they have about choice of banks, it is germane that bank operators should remain in business by striving to first , win customer’s sympathy through effective public relations .Based on the problems of our research, the following questions arise: 1 Are there any positive differences in NGBs performance as compared to the older banks; is it as a result of PR inspired patronage ? 2 How do the public relations initiatives of the NGBs determine whether they are patronized by the customers or not ?3 What is the specific influence of the public relations on customers patronage ? 4 Does good cashiers/ customer relations influence good customers disposition towards banks. 1.1 RESEARCH OBJECTIVE The objective of the study include:1 To find out if there is a positive difference in NGBs performance compare to the older banks as a result of PR inspired patronage. 2 To determine whether NGBs are patronized by the customers or not because of their public relations initiatives.3 To determine whether good cashier/ customer relations influence good customer disposition towards banks.4 To ascertain customer’s perceptions of NGBs and how such perception affect their patronage in terms of the margin of the selected banks 1.2 HYPOTHESES FORMULATION1 Good cashier/ customer relations influences good customer disposition towards banks 2 Customers will patronize NGBs if they perceive that they have effective customers relation programme. 3 Customers will encourage other to patronize NGBs where they are satisfied with bank’s services.1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF HE STUDY The study is significant , as it will benefit the entire banking sector, especially commercial banks and customers. The banking sector through the findings of the study may be able to determine better ways of adapting their products offerings to the perceived needs of the customers by adopting sound customer relations strategies . The banks used in this study as well as other will by findings of the study develop better customer service that help in reducing the incidence of bank failures. Consumer confidence in the banking industry will also be restored.1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The scope of the study is centered within the confines of the influence public relations has on customer’s patronage of new generation banks in Enugu. Therefore, the study researcher may not go beyond studying banks in Enugu metropolis .1.5 Limitations to the study To do adequate justice to a research of this nature would have required enormous expenditure of time and money on the part of the researcher, at least to be able to visit the major NGBs in Enugu and environs. Both time and financial resources were limited, thereby constituting a major constrains on the execution of the project.1.6 DEFINITION OF OPERATIONAL TERMS In course of this study terms will be used and they require operational definition to suit the context in which they are used. Some of these terms include: Financial products: These are products / services banks offer to their customers some of them have no physical attributes unlike tangible. They come in different forms/categories namely savings, loans money transfer categories , etc.Product offering: The benefit to be derived form the product being offered to the market. Competition: Existe4nce of rival products or service within the same market (direct competition) Consumer satisfaction: Satisfaction of a consumer’s want is an essential part of the marketing operations. Fundamentally, a person buys (acquires) a product or service for the satisfaction it will provide. This means tangible or intangible ( as indeed will be the want’) providing a product that gives consumer satisfaction is the aim of the marketing concept .Public relations: This means winning friends , keeping them, and influencing them, as well as other. It also the process of assessing consumer wants, establishing communication, fostering good will so that the consumer wants or needs can be profitably satisfied. REFERENCESAdikwu, M.A (1990) “improving Banks’ profitability through public relations And marketing in Nigeria” in Ikechukwu E. Nwosu (ed) mass communication and National Development perspective on communication environments of development in Nigeria, Aba: frontier publishers .Ltd.Benett, Peter D. (ed) 1998) Dictionary of Marking Terms .Chicago American Marketing Association Edeani, David O. (1996) “public relations as an intrinsic part of marketing management” in Ikechukwu E. Nwosu and Uchenna Ekwo (eds). Mass media and marketing communication: principles, perspective and practices, Enugu : Though communications publishers Kotler, Philip (2000) Marketing management, New Jersey: prentice Hall inc.