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Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company Qualitative Research Essay


Nigerian consumers are reluctant to use online shopping carts for local purchases. The main reason for this is the fear of becoming victims of online fraud (Onaiwu & KPMG 2013). This means that any company in the country seeking to trade online has the uphill task of creating customer confidence before the successful deployment shopping carts.

An option in this regard is to use shopping carts as an online ordering system, and then to handle payments using mobile money. Mobile money is more reliable because it is possible to trace the owners of a local mobile money account, unlike online payment systems (Onaiwu & KPMG 2013).

Data Analysis Technique

A wide range of options exist for the analysis of qualitative data. The main data collection tool for this exercise was a semi structured questionnaire designed to collect quantitative data. The data collection took place via phone interview.

The researcher read out the questions and recorded the answers that the respondents gave. Since the interviews took place over the phone, the researcher could not gauge any element of body language. This means that the information gathered lacks the nuances associated with body language in qualitative research.

The data analysis method chosen for any research project usually depends on the nature of the project and the objectives of the research. In this case, the objective of the project was to uncover several issues regarding the use of websites as part of the customer care infrastructure for businesses based in Nigeria.

The research questions guided the development of the questionnaire and in turn, the specific questions in the questionnaire dealt with the issues associated with the project.

The quantitative data collection method chosen to analyse the data collected was induction. Induction is an application to qualitative data analysis where the researchers study the responses presented by the respondents and finds relationships in the data (Eriksson & Kovalainen 2008).

The number of respondents was not very large to justify elaborate coding (Creswell 2008). In any case, the researcher was open to limited coding in the interest of making the most sense out of the data collected.

The exact process applied in the analysis had the following steps. First the researcher studied all the responses presented by respondents to find an overview of the information contained. Unlike quantitative research, respondents participating in qualitative research are free to answer questions in any manner that is sensible to them (Eriksson & Kovalainen 2008). In addition, qualitative research is not hypothesis based.

Therefore, there is no fixed expectation regarding the specific facts that will arise from the research project. This fact makes quantitative research analysis more challenging. However, qualitative research makes it easier for researchers to pinpoint key issues from the responses provided by the respondents in regards to the research questions.

Coding is a very useful method of aggregating responses in qualitative research (Creswell 2008). It involves the categorization of responses into thematic areas, and establishing the relative importance of each thematic area. Criticisms against coding suggest that it is an attempt to turn qualitative data into quantitative data.

However, proponents argue that this is the only way of sifting out important issues from trivial ones (Onaiwu & KPMG 2013). Qualitative data do not give researchers a simple prioritised method of classifying information.

The decision to use coding sparingly in this project arose from the relative ease of analysing the data availed by the respondents. This situation arose because the number of respondents chosen for the project was small. In addition, the research project was interested in general trends, and not specifics of customer care.

Simply put, the ecommerce environment in Nigeria is changing very rapidly hence very exact measures will be obsolete in a very short time. The information needed at this point is only necessary to enable the company to design the website for current use. Anticipated future changes will depend on the dynamics of the ecommerce environment.

Additional Research Question

Is ecommerce a viable inclusion in the company’s customer service model?

Findings and Analysis

This section is divided into two main parts. The first part focuses on the answers given by the respondents during the interviews and their implications. The second part focuses on how those responses relate to the research questions.

Visibility of Igno Merchandise Company

The first question dealt with how the respondents came into contact with the Igno Merchandise Company. The purpose of this question was to find out if there is any correlation between how people find the company, and its current promotion efforts. The most common way of finding out about the Igno Merchandise Company was through fiends. More than half of all respondents mentioned their friends as the link persons to the company.

This shows that the strongest method of marketing of the Igno Merchandise Company has been through word of mouth. The implication of this situation is that the company needs to think about developing a robust social media campaign to take advantage of this phenomenon.

Other respondents said that they found out about the company through contact with its products, advertisements in mainstream media, and industry events.

One respondent found the company randomly while driving. While the company’s promotion potential is in the social media, it needs to maintain a broad based approach to ensure that it makes contact will all potential clients in its reach. A broad based strategy is what will guarantee future business for the company.

Perceived Competitors

The researchers asked the respondents to list three Igno Merchandise Company competitors. The data collected from this question was very specific hence the possibility of presenting it in qualitative terms. The graph in Table 1 below shows the companies recognised by the respondents as the competitors of Igno Merchandise Company.

From the frequency of mentions, it appears that Igno Merchandise strongest competitor is Fred Nature’s Company, followed by PSV Company and then Goodfellow limited. The implication of this finding is that Igno Merchandise Company should not relax. Rather, the company should keep in mind that it is in direct competition with many other companies of varying appeal to its own customers.

Perceived Competitor Number of Mentions
Fred Natures Company 4
PSV Company 3
Goodfellow Ltd 3
Max Power Ltd 2
Tony Best Musical 1
New Creation Electronics 1
Steve Com Musical 1

Table 1: The Perceived Competitors of the Igno Merchandise Company

Attractiveness of the Company

The researchers asked the respondents what attracted them to the company. The objective of this question was to determine what competitive advantages the company had in relation to its competitors. In addition this question was meant to find out whether customer care was a key consideration for the customers of the company.

The respondents gave several reasons to explain their interest in buying products from the Igno Merchandise Company. The reasons the respondents gave varied. Some of them came to the company because they were happy with the company’s interaction with its customers. Some customers said that the layout of the stores is what attracted them.

Others said that what attracted them to the company was the price of products relative to the prices offered by competitors. There was mention of the range of products offered by the company as well as the special offers given by the company. This analysis reveals that customers come to Igno Merchandise Company for various reasons.

While those who mentioned customer service as their main point of attraction were the majority, the company must ensure that all the business elements such as a range of products, shop floor design and a promotional strategy that resonates with the potential clients.

Popular Products

When asked about the products bought from the company, the respondents gave the responses as shown in Table 2 below.

Products Number of Mentions
Mixers 4
Megaphones 3
Wireless Microphones 3
Microphone 2
Speakers 2
Guitars 1
Public Address System 1

Table 2: Popularity of Products Sold by the Igno Merchandise Company

The most popular products sold by the Igno Merchandise Company were mixers. The product appeared four times from the answers given by the respondents. Megaphones and wireless microphones each mentioned three times among the most popular products.

One respondent mentioned “public address system” as his/her most popular product. It is unclear what the respondent was referring to because a megaphone is also a public address system, just like a unit consisting of microphones, a mixer, and loud speakers.

This demonstrates one of the weaknesses of qualitative research. In this case, it is hard to segregate the specifics associated with the public address system this respondent mentioned. The impact of this finding on the project is that it is sensible to have the items listed as the most sought-after products as part of a slideshow on the home page of the website.

Sources of Competitive Advantage

The researcher inquired from the respondents what the company should do to stand out from its competitors. This question sought to establish the sources of competitive advantage that the company needed to leverage in line with the demands of the website. The main issue raised by the respondents was advertising. In this regard, many respondents felt that the company was not doing enough to advertise the products it had on sale.

The correlation between this view and the previous question that asked the respondents how they heard about the company confirms that the advertising efforts of the company are not reaching the intended consumers effectively.

The specific ideas gleaned from the answers to this question on how to improve advertising include increasing the quantity of adverts, increasing the number of advertising media, and using offers and promotions to attract the attention of customers. This means that the website can be a useful tool for the company as an advertising avenue.

Other issues raised that can increase the competitive advantage of the company were increasing product quality, improving service quality (though there is satisfaction with the current levels of services), and making the sales process more convenient for the customers.

On this last point, there is little evidence to support robust ecommerce in Nigeria, especially based on first time buyers. However, the company needs to think about a small scale system that can handle small scale sales via the internet. The emergence of Mobile Money in Nigeria can help deal with the security concerns many people have when it comes to ecommerce.

Source of Credible Information

Credibility is the main ingredient of ecommerce. Clients try to establish the credibility of companies in the process of making purchasing decisions. In this respect, the researcher asked the respondents about the sources of information they find credible in order to determine the relative importance of the website.

The two main avenues that consumers use to establish credibility were company websites and mainstream advertisements. Table 3 below shows the sources of credible information by the proportion of mentions.

Sources of Credible Information Number of Mentions
Friends 1
Advertising 3
Company websites and online reviews 3

Table 3: Sources of Credible Information

Company websites play a very important role in establishing the credibility of a product. Consumers use them to find out what the company says about its own products before making buying decisions. However, potential customers also look at online reviews of the products from other customers in blogs, forums, and on social media. This amounts to electronic word of mouth (eWOM).

eWOM is the virtual version of word of mouth advertising. In a previous question, the respondents said that they heard about the company through their friends. This shows that eWOM can also play an important role in marketing the company to new clients. This finding shows that an online presence, based on a website and supported by a social media strategy will help to market the company.

Online Shopping Habits

One of the elements that arose during the literature review was the potential importance of fitting the website with a shopping cart. In markets where ecommerce is mature, online shopping is taking root very fast. When the respondents were asked whether they shop online, an overwhelming majority answered in the negative.

The ones who reported that they shop online do not shop in Nigerian websites. The reasons that they gave in this regard ranged from security concerns to obliviousness. The following table summarises the responses.

Reasons why Nigerians do not shop Online
1. Security Concerns (Online scams)
2. Unproven systems (Perceived poor reliability)
3. Obliviousness

Table 4: Reasons why Nigerians do not Shop Online

The main concern that the customers had in regards to online commerce was the potential to fall victim to online scams. Nigeria is infamous as a base for online scammers. This made the customers hesitant to participate in online commerce.

The second reason given by the customers was that the system is unproven. They have no proof that it will work as planned, or otherwise. Thirdly, some customers were oblivious to the possibility of buying products online. This means that customer education is needed in the country to build a critical mass for ecommerce.

This finding shows that there are good grounds for not including an online shopping cart on the website at the moment, until online shoppers reach critical mass. However, there is more promise in the use of mobile money to facilitate online transactions. The website can act as an order placement system with payments being handled via the more reliable mobile phone network.

In addition, the company can put up a small scale ecommerce platform to support early adopters. This system should be easy to operate, be secure, and should have minimal maintenance needs. Failure to have an ecommerce platform will be a strategic blunder because in time, ecommerce will become a prominent feature of Nigerian commerce. What is not justified at the moment is heavy investment in such a system.

Preferred Web Content

In order to find out the preferences of the clients regarding the content of the proposed website, the researcher asked the respondents to state the elements they would like to see on the website. The main elements mentioned by the respondents were as follows. First, the respondents would like to see information about the products available in the store.

In context, this was thought to be a more convenient way of finding out what the company had in stock, as compared to physically going to the store. Secondly, the responds wanted to see information about the company. The sense the customers seemed to communicate is that there is very little corporate information about the company. More information would make it easy for them to identify with the company.

Thirdly, the customers wanted to see a page with customer testimonials. This concept is very similar to a forum. The company has the choice of establishing a forum for the customers, or to collect and post testimonials from clients.

Forums that are user controlled tend to have higher credibility, but they also carry greater risks. On the other hand, company chosen testimonials may come off as self-praise and choreographed testimony. The final item that the customers would like to see on the website is company contact information to enable them to get in touch with the company whenever the need arises.

Top Website Features

The researcher asked the respondents to indicate the features that they would like to see on the website. The respondents gave the list of features captured in Table 5.

Preferred Website Features
Information about the Company’s branch network
Ease of contacting the company
Ease of navigation
Quick loading website
FAQ Page
Mobile friendliness

Table 5: List of Preferred Website Features

These features resonate well with the issues unearthed in the literature review. The specific issues tackled in the literature review section included the need to have mobile friendly websites. This arises from the fact that most internet connections in Nigeria are mobile based. Secondly, the slow speeds require design choices that will support the quick loading of the website.

The customers also mentioned ease of navigation. It is usually better to have an intuitive design, arranged in a logical manner for easy navigation. The presence of a FAQ page was also tackled in the review. This confirms that it is very important to include a FAQ page as an element of customer service. The customers also wanted the ability to contact the company easily.

This is where ideas like chat and VoIP come in. Finally, the respondents asked the company to consider listing all the store locations on their website because most people were only aware of their head office. A map, based on one of the free maps services can help to resolve this issue.

Analysis

Based on the findings and discussion presented in the section above, the following is the analysis of the research questions in light of the findings. The three main issues arising from this inquiry are as follows. First, Igno Merchandise Company customers want reliable services.

This deduction arises from the responses to the questions regarding their comfort levels with ecommerce, their response to how they found the company, and the features they want to see on the company’s website. The customers who do not buy goods online mainly cited cyber security and a perceived lack of reliability when it comes to Nigerian websites.

This means that if there was an ecommerce system that was reliable, the customers may consider buying goods online. On the question of how the customers found the company, it was clear that the customer felt that the company was not doing enough to reach them. While they all seemed happy with their purchases, there was an undertone suggesting that they wanted to hear about the company from the company itself.

This means that they did not find Igno’s promotional strategy reliable. On the questions regarding the features that they want to see on the site, their concerns were based on ease of use, ease of navigation, quick loading speeds and relevant content.

What all these customers are looking for is a reliable website, supporting a reliable customer service system. They want the assurance that they can get all the information that they need when they need it.

The second main theme underlying the responses given by the respondents was easy access to services. The customers want easy access to information about the company and its products. The respondents spoke of the little awareness among the general public about the locations of the company’s stores across the country.

What the customers were asking for was more convenience when dealing with the company. The elements they mentioned include listing all the branches of the company in the website, coming up a quick means of communication, and more contact with the customers through adverts.

The third main issue that arises from the analysis is the need to notify customers whenever there are promotions and offers. The customers are essentially looking for the best prices when they shop. This means that if the company want to grow its market share at the cost of narrower margins, the market is waiting.

A simple way of doing this would be by developing an email list and sending out information regarding available offers to customers. Email is personal and can support html newsletters. In addition, the company can collect phone numbers of customers whenever they shop at the company’s stores in order to send texts to them.

The viability of ecommerce in the current business environment is not high. Out of all the people interviewed, the only ones who buy things online do so in non-Nigerian websites. For purposes of strategy, it is not wise at this point to commit resources to ecommerce.

At the same time, it is strategically improper to ignore the potential. This means that the company must find an innovative model that will require fewer resources to set up an ecommerce platform. This will make it possible for the company to cash in on the early adopters when the Nigerian market starts accepting ecommerce.

In conclusion, this section has made it possible validate earlier design choices made after the literature review, and has also ensured that customer priorities form part of the final design of the company’s website. The following section will explore the features of the website arising from the design issues proposed above.

Website Design

The analysis presented in the section above formed the basis for the design of the website as shown below. The tool used to design the website is an online web editor available at www.wix.com. This tool allows users to develop websites using templates. The web design component of the project illustrated the ease of designing a website that can respond to consumer needs.

The use of the platform developed by wix.com shows that it need not be expensive to develop a website for a company. Wix.com has a free account with certain limitations. However, a paid account makes it possible to get a fully fledged account that has no branding from wix.com.

The limitation associated with template based design is that there is a limit to the number of features that someone can apply to a website. However, the range of options offered by wix.com rely more on the skill of the designer, rather than the limitations of the platform. These options make it possible to develop websites that have a professional appeal.

The guidance followed in the design of the website was the set proposed by Jakob Nielsen. The rules he proposed included the need to ensure that the language used is easy for users to understand, the need for consistency throughout the site and making it easy for users to see all the options available, rather than having to recall the options from memory.

The technical elements that could not be implemented in this project include error-handling, and error-recovery in a website.

The website designed for Igno Merchandise Company has five main pages. These are the Home page, About Us page, Products page, Stores page and a Contact Us page.

The Home Page

The Home page has a slideshow featuring three images of the most popular products. The research showed that the top three products sold by the company are mixers, wireless microphones and megaphones. This informed the decision to include the three products in the slide show.

Each of the photos is hyperlinked to the product page, on the section that shows the full range of products within the representative category. For example, clicking on the mixer as shown in Figure 1 below takes you to the page that has the complete range of mixers in the stores.

Screenshot Showing One of the Photos in the Homepage Slideshow

Figure 1: Screenshot Showing One of the Photos in the Homepage Slideshow

About Us

Research showed that customers would like to know more about the company. In response, the website design features an About Us page made to enlighten customers and other stakeholders about the history and operations of the company.

About us pages serve a very important function in many websites. It shows openness about the company, and it helps external parties to gauge what the company thinks about itself. The page also contains the vision and mission statements of the company. Figure 2 below shows a screenshot of the “About Us Page”.

About Us Page of the Igno Merchandise Company

Figure 2: About Us Page of the Igno Merchandise Company

Products

The Products page is the major page in the website. This page will require regular updates to reflect changes in prices, and availability of stock. On this page, all the products listed have a product description that allows customers to peruse the features of all the products in the range.

The inclusion of the description and pricing is in direct response to the demands made by customers in the research phase. Figure 3 below shows a screenshot of the products page

Products Page

Figure 3: Products Page

Contact Us

The Contact Us page gives the customers several options regarding how to get in touch with the company. This page has a form that customers can fill if they want the company to send them information. It works like the email system discussed in the literature review section.

The page also has the physical address of the headquarters as well as the phone number of the company that enables them to call whenever they need information.

These features appear as seen in Figure 4 below. This page still requires social media integration and the addition of a chat facility for instant communication. These two aspects should come into play when the company is ready and willing to commit resources to manage the two services fully.

The Contact Us page

Figure 4: The Contact Us page

In addition to the contacts, the page also contains a physical map showing the physical location of the company’s headquarters. This will make it easy for clients who want to visit the store to find it.

Stores Page

The Stores page was developed to answer the concerns about lack of information regarding the stores of the company in other parts of the country. This page will have a list of all the locations as well as their contacts to make it easy for customers to access the Igno Merchandise Company outlets.

Evaluation

This main achievement of this project was the development of a website that answers consumer needs and meets the business objectives of the Igno Merchandise Company. The entire project was developed as a means of improving the level of customer service provided by the company. The website will now answer the needs of the clients as unearthed during the research phase.

The second achievement of the project was the discovery and clarification of the company’s sources of competitive advantage. The company now has a clear idea regarding customer expectations and what constitute its sources of competitive advantage. The research was not geared towards analysing the business environment. Therefore, there is a need for more research into the competitive climate of the business.

The web design phase did not include social media integration and it also did not include ecommerce options for the company. Social media integration is not just a design issue. It requires careful development of a strategy to counter the risks that come with a social media presence. In addition, it needs full time monitoring and management to take full advantage of the opportunities availed by social media.

The company did not indicate whether it was ready to make this investment. On ecommerce, there is need to carry out further studies to find low-cost, or no-cost options that can position the company for ecommerce without unnecessary administrative costs.

Ecommerce is almost absent in Nigeria, but can become a force to reckon with at any time given the increasing uptake of the internet. It is strategically sound to develop the capabilities before ecommerce takes off in Nigeria.

The management of the company was very happy about the insights the whole project gave them in relation to the position of the company. However, they were reluctant to take up the site developed as part of the project citing the need for further thought into the issues raised in order to develop a more effective website. They also mentioned that the site was too basic in terms of graphic layout.

They felt that in general, the information provided to them through this project was invaluable, but the website component required a professional touch to ensure that they got it right. The management will use the site as the basis for discussions with a professional web developer to decide on the next step.

Conclusion

The objective of this work has been to investigate which aspect of customer service can be delivered by Igno Merchandise Company through an interactive website. The research carried out showed that customers essentially seek reliable services, ease of access to the services, and notification whenever there are special offers in place.

The project shows that a website can help to deliver these aspects of customer service. In addition, a website gives a company many choices such as social media integration, ecommerce options, and an extra avenue for running promotions. The web design component of the project illustrated the ease of designing a website that can respond to consumer needs.

The main limitation associated with this work is that the research was done on a subject that is very evolutionary. Before applying its conclusions to any other business, it is important to check the work for context as time moves on because of the rapid changes associated with the internet.

The researcher predicts that ecommerce will become an important part of the Nigerian economy based on current internet uptake trends. There is good reason for companies in the country to position their businesses in readiness for ecommerce. However, heavy investment in ecommerce platforms is not advisable at the moment. Companies should only aim for presence, not dominance.

Evaluation

This main achievement of this project was the development of a website that answers consumer needs and meets the business objectives of the Igno Merchandise Company. The entire project was developed as a means of improving the level of customer service provided by the company. The website will now answer the needs of the clients as unearthed during the research phase of the project.

The second achievement of the project was the discovery and clarification of the company’s sources of competitive advantage. The company now has a clear idea of what its customers expect, and what constitute its sources of competitive advantage.

However, it is important to note that the research was not geared towards analysing the business environment of the company. Therefore, there is a need for more research into the full range of competitive advantages of the business.

The web design phase did not include social media integration and it also did not include ecommerce options for the company. Social media integration is not just a design issue. It requires careful development of a strategy to counter the risks that come with a social media presence. In addition, it needs full time monitoring and management to take full advantage of the opportunities availed by social media.

The company did not indicate whether it was ready to make this investment. On ecommerce, there is need to carry out further studies to find low-cost, or no-cost options that can position the company for ecommerce without unnecessary administrative costs.

Ecommerce is almost absent in Nigeria, but can become a force to reckon with at any time given the increasing uptake of the internet. It is strategically sound to develop the capabilities before ecommerce takes off in Nigeria.

The management of the company was very happy about the insights the whole project gave them in relation to the position of the company. However, the management was reluctant to take up the website developed as part of the project citing the need for further thought into the issues raised in order to develop a more effective website. They also mentioned that the site was too basic in terms of graphic layout.

They felt that in general, the information provided to them through this project was invaluable, but the website component required a professional touch to ensure that they got it right. The management will use the site as the basis for discussions with a professional web developer to decide on the next step.

The specific issues that arose after showing the customers the proposed design for the website were as follows. The customers were pleased with the navigation elements of the website. They said that the navigation was simple to follow, which made finding information on the website relatively easy. The website’s navigation elements were made in a way that it was possible to access all the pages from the home page.

In addition the choice of names for the navigation bars made is possible for the customers to navigate through the site intuitively. The customers were happy with the fact that the arrangement of the website reduced the chances of confusion when visiting the site when looking for information.

The second area where the customers gave feedback was in the choice of a colour scheme for the website. The main colours for the website were white and red. In general terms, the clients were satisfied with the choice of colours for the website. Some of the clients attributed their satisfaction with the colour scheme to the fact that it matched the corporate colour scheme of the company.

The choice of red gave the website a strong brand attribution to the parent company. This consistency between the website and the company’s corporate colours gave the customers greater satisfaction with the work. While there was general agreement among the clients that the use of the red colour was good, some felt that the colour was too bright. They suggested that a deeper shade of red would be more appealing.

The customers found the “About Us” page very helpful. This page contained a brief presentation of the company and its operations. The purpose of this page was to meet the expectation of customers of interacting with the company in addition to the products it sold. This page gave them sufficient information about the company.

The information contained in the “About Us” page was designed to help customers who were seeking reasons to identify with the company to find these reasons.

The two main aspects of the “About Us” page that the customers found useful was the simplicity of the presentation of information and the sufficiency of the information. The language used to develop the content on the page was very simple English. In addition, the issues presented in the “About Us” section were factual and precise about the company.

The third aspect of the website that the customers gave positive reviews was the presence of a map. During the research stage, the customers noted that it was difficult to know the number and locations of the company’s stores around Nigeria. The map now shows exactly where the stores are located.

The map is based on the popular Google Maps platform which has other features such as showing the best route between two points. This can help a customer to find one of the company’s stores based on his/her location in Nigeria. The customers were happy with the addition of the map on the website because it improved accessibility to the company’s stores.

Customer opinions varied regarding the website. Some of them thought that it was good, while some were not fully satisfied with it in the overall sense. The main issues that were raised by the customers who were dissatisfied include the colour scheme. In their view, the colours were boring. They lacked appeal and needed tweaking in order to make the website more attractive. They also felt that the design was boring.

The flip side of this view is that the navigation of the site was simple and easy to handle. The customers who found the site boring could have been pleased by a more complicated design. In addition, some customers took issue with the fact that the site was not social media integrated. It lacked fancy graphics, and had very basic web design elements.

Conclusion

The objective of this project was to find out which aspects of customer service can be delivered by Igno Merchandise Company through an interactive website, and to develop a website based on the findings derived from interviews with the company’s customers.

In order to achieve these objectives, it was necessary to undertake a qualitative research exercise to find out the aspects of a website that the customers expect to find in the company’s website.

The research project was designed to reach a selected number of customers via phone interviews. Based on their responses, a website was developed using a web design portal found on wix.com. Wix.com provides an online web design suite that does not require coding.

Rather, it uses a graphical user interface where a web designer uses graphic elements rather than code to develop a website. After the design of the website, some of the customers were asked to review it to see whether it met their expectations. They gave very valuable feedback which can be used to enhance the quality of the site.

The qualitative research exercise that was carried out showed that customers essentially seek reliable services, ease of access to the services, and notification whenever there are special offers. The need for reliable services arises from the poor services offered by many Nigerian websites. The customers want to have access to web services on demand, and not at the convenience of the business entity.

The need for ease of access had two dimensions. First, the customers asked the company to ensure that the company had a website that was mobile friendly to ensure that anyone with an internet enabled phone can access the services. Secondly, the customers wanted all the store locations of the company to be listed on the website to make it easy for them to access the shops.

The third main need identified in the research project was that the customers would like the company to inform them whenever they have bargains or promotions. This can be done directly on the website and also via other IT tools such as email, short messaging or via the social media.

The project shows that a website can help to deliver these aspects of customer service. A website on its own may have limitations because visiting a website is initiated by individual internet users. The company needs to use other strategies of attracting traffic to the website to ensure that it gets the full benefits of the service.

Despite this limitation, a website gives a company many choices such as social media integration, ecommerce options, and an extra avenue for running promotions. The researcher learnt several things in the course of undertaking this project. The first lesson was that it is possible to use research to solve practical business problems.

The researcher successfully found out what customers needed from the company’s website via research, and then he made an attempt to provide it. Secondly, the researcher learnt that solving business problems require the work of several professionals.

The range of skills needed to solve problems effectively cannot be found in one person. In this case, the researcher was better at the research and evaluation, but was weaker on professional web design. Finally, the researcher learnt how to use wix.com to develop a website, a skill that now requires refinement.

The actual development of the website was done on wix.com. Wix.com provides a free online editor for web design. The systems rely on templates to enable designers to use a graphical approach to web design. The advantage of such tools is that they do not require someone to learn a programming language before building a website.

The main limitation associated with this work is that the research was done on an evolving subject. The development of ecommerce, websites and all accompanying platforms is a work in progress. The most influential social media site, Facebook, is barely ten years old.

This shows that it is very difficult to predict how the scene will change in regards to the use of the internet for business. Therefore, before applying the conclusions of this project to any other business, it is important to check the work for context as time moves on because of the rapid changes associated with internet technologies.

The second limitation was on the web design aspect. The project required the researcher to develop a website based on information received from customers. Web design is a technical skill developed over time. In this sense, it was not possible to develop a high quality website, in terms of graphical layout, on the first attempt.

This explains why some customers found the site unsophisticated. While the site was developed following research results, it met the needs of the clients in a technical sense, but without the artistic feel of web design.

If this project was to be done again, the main changes that the researcher would introduce would be to solicit for the help of a web designer on pro Bono basis, or with some arrangement with the company to help develop a more professional looking site.

Despite the strong grounding in research and theory, the site was not appealing enough for the company to be used as the official site. The alternative would have been to develop competency in web design using wix.com. The time available for the project did not allow for the development of such competency.

The researcher predicts that ecommerce will become an important part of the Nigerian economy based on current internet uptake trends. There is good reason for companies in the country to position their businesses in readiness for ecommerce.

However, heavy investment in ecommerce platforms is not advisable at the moment. Companies should only aim for presence, but not dominance. Failure by companies to position themselves in ecommerce early enough will impose a stiff learning curve on them which may rob them of competitive advantage in the ecommerce arena.

Reference List

Creswell, J. 2008, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 3rd edn, Sage, London.

Eriksson, P. & Kovalainen, A. 2008, Qualitative Methods in Business Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Onaiwu, E. & 2013, Mobile Money in Nigeria: Identification and Security. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, January 15). Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/improving-customer-service-in-a-nigerian-musical-instrument-company/

Work Cited

"Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company." IvyPanda, 15 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/improving-customer-service-in-a-nigerian-musical-instrument-company/.

1. IvyPanda. "Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company." January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/improving-customer-service-in-a-nigerian-musical-instrument-company/.


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IvyPanda. "Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company." January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/improving-customer-service-in-a-nigerian-musical-instrument-company/.

References

IvyPanda. 2020. "Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company." January 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/improving-customer-service-in-a-nigerian-musical-instrument-company/.

References

IvyPanda. (2020) 'Improving Customer Service in a Nigerian Musical Instrument Company'. 15 January.

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