IMPACT OF SOFTWARE APPLICATION ON CUSTOMER LOYALTY
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Software application has now been accepted as one of the main driving force behind organizational competitiveness in the present day business environment. Presently, Software application is having dramatic impact on almost all areas of human activities and one of the areas of economic activities in which this influence is most obvious is the customer loyalty. The use of customer-friendly software application plays a key role in improving retention capacity in an organization. Proper use of software application has become the primary driver of efficiency and monetary development in the world economy. Gartner observed that the worldwide Information Technology service market will develop consistently and reach about US$ 3 trillion by 2015 (Gordon, 2012). Software service innovation has turned into an urgent task for organizations to gain upper hand in an area of fast innovation advancement to aid better customer loyalty. Consequently, the management of software service innovation is a major challenge to software technology service providers in terms of formulating and deploying strategies. One particularly important strategic issue facing Information Technology service providers relates to building customer loyalty in a competitive market with rapid technology evolution (Rust and Miu, 2006).
An important mechanism underlying the impacts of software service innovation on customer loyalty is the formation of customer-based brand equity, defined as a consumer’s personal identification with the focal brand and the brand’s relevance to the consumer’s personal situation (Johnson et al. 2006). In the Information Technology service marketplace, consumers are users of branded technology services. Moreover, as software application services have become ubiquitous and integrated into every aspect of consumers’ personal and social lives (Hoffman et al. 2004), an Information Technology service provider’s brand bears personal and social meaning for consumers (Dobni and Zinkhan 1990, Escalas and Bettman, 2005). Information Technology service innovation can potentially generate impacts on more direct business outcomes, i.e., brand equity and customer loyalty, than technology acceptance and use (e.g., Venkatesh et al. 2003, 2012), which has been the focus of much prior information systems (IS) research.
Loyalty is developed over a period of time from a consistent record of meeting, and sometimes even exceeding customer expectations (Teich, 1997). Kotler et al. (1999) states the cost of attracting a new customer may be five times the cost of keeping a current customer happy. Gremler & Brown (1996) offers one definition of customer loyalty that is related to our purpose in this study: the degree to which a customer exhibits repeat purchasing behavior from a service provider, possesses a positive attitudinal disposition toward the provider, and considers using only this provider when a need for this service exists.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
There is no contradiction to the fact that Nigeria today experiences a challenge in the development of effective software application that can prevent customer’s credit theft. Software application is laced with so many challenges that have handicapped the smooth operations of the banking industry. The major challenge of software application usage in the Banks is security. Without great confidence in security, customers are unwilling to use a public network, such as the Internet, to view their financial information online and conduct financial transactions. Some of the security threats include invasion of corporate and individuals’ privacy; and theft of confidential information.
Information technology has also brought unintended consequences such as criminal activities, spamming, credit card frauds, ATM frauds, phishing, identity theft and other related cybercrimes. Consequently, the above-listed problems lead to:
The above statements constitute a major drawback in customer’s confidence in usage of software application thereby making this study a necessity. Hence, this study examines the impact of software into improving customer loyalty using “Access Bank” as a case study
The research’s major objective is to examine the impact of software on customer loyalty using a case study of Access Bank. Specifically, the following objectives will be achieved.
The definition of customer loyalty has evolved from a behavioral definition—e.g., repeat-purchase behavior (Brown 1952) to more psychological ones based on either the attitude-behavior framework (e.g., Day 1969) or the cognition-affect-conation framework (e.g., Oliver 1997). Day (1969) composed a brand loyalty index based on both probability of purchase and brand attitude. Oliver (1997,) defined customer loyalty as “a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronize a preferred product or service consistently in the future, despite situational influences and marketing efforts having the potential to cause switching behavior.”
This conceptualization was further extended to include the act of “repetitive same-brand or same brand-set purchasing” (Oliver 1999). Four phases of customer loyalty have been identified, namely, cognitive loyalty, affective loyalty, conative loyalty and action loyalty (Oliver 1999). Cognitive loyalty is a consumer’s preference for one brand over its alternatives and is based on information about the attributes of a brand, such as performance and price. Affective loyalty is consumers’ liking or attitude toward the brand and is formed based on cumulatively satisfying usage experiences. Conative loyalty is a consumer’s desire or intention to repatronize the brand—i.e., loyalty intentions. Again, action loyalty is the conversion of loyalty intentions into action (e.g., repeat purchase) with a willingness to overcome obstacles that prevent the act.