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SOCIETY –

240

SOCIETY – November/December, 2014

NIGERIA–NO. 1 IN THE WORLD IN GREETINGS
I AM TIRED at the proliferation of negative news, reports and findings about Nigeria by the world organizations.
Year after year, all the world bodies United Nations Development Programme UNDP, Transpaarency International TI, International Monetary Fund IMF, and even other UN Agencies e.g. Food And Agricultural Organization FAO have nothing but bad things to say about Nigeria. They would sit down in their offices in New York, London, Rome etc; set up their computers; feed in an array of figures and information, and of course, the gadget would throw its response back to them. And pronto! They have the results of examination for every country in the world in every subject. These results are not kept in their files for their information alone. They are announced from the roof-tops with loudspeakers that reach to the very extremes of the globe; broadcast over all the most powerful media that is heard worldwide – from America to Asia, Europe to Oceania, Canada to Japan, Brazil, Argentina to China and Australia – everywhere..
They have done the examination this year again, and have announced the results again over the loudspeakers: In the subject of Corruption, Nigeria, they have calculated, comes Second among all the nations of the world–(Nigeria is Second Most-corrupt). There are more than 200 countries in the world.
On the subject of Poverty, trust them, Nigeria comes First. And that is our position year after year. Giving further analysis, their computers revealed to them that 80 % of the Nigerian population live on less than $1 (about N150) per day. They and their large families. Less than One solitary dollar to feed, to pay for the roof over their heads, to clothe themselves, pay school fees for the children if they are in any form of school, to transport themselves to wherever they need to go for their daily chores, to pay hospital bills and buy medicines, etc etc– everything! Eighty per cent of Nigerians have just $1 for all that.
Just now, they have come out with the results in the subject of Corruption in the Oil industry. How did Nigeria fare? First position! na Nigeria carry First. The computers reveal to them that Nigeria’s oil industry is plagued with ‘magical’ practices – abracadabra
Other subjects on the international organizations’ curriculum include Suffering; Economic Malpractices (419 matter); Number of Child-birth Deaths; Illiteracy level; Hunger etc etc.
But enough is enough! These organizations should be ashamed of themselves for their one-sidedness. Why have they not done examinations in all the good subjects? Why have they not asked their computers to calculate the Country with the Most Hard-working people? Or the Most Spiritually Endowed?; the Most Enduring?;

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They have done the examination this year again, and have announced the results again over the loudspeakers: In the subject of Corruption, Nigeria, they have calculated, comes Second among all the nations of the world–(Nigeria is Second Most-corrupt). There are more than 200 countries in the world.
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MY OWN EXAMINATION
From my humble office in Lagos Nigeria, I have diligently carried out an examination in one subject. And I have seen the results. It is in the subject of Greeting – and out of all the nations on earth Nigeria comes a convincing First. Nigerians are the most prolific in greetings. And within the country, the Yoruba race that wins the first position for Nigeria.
The story is told of one Nigerian young man who went to England and came home with his fiancé, a white lady, to introduce her to his parents. When the lady met his aging mother, she simply stretched out her hand to her and said “Hi”
The poor woman was taken aback. She wondered why her prospective daughter in law would address her the way she did. The Hi sounded like “Kai” which she shouts at goats who seek to eat her yams.
But that is all about European greeting for you. “Hi”. Finish.
But in Nigeria, some Yoruba grass root tribes in Ilorin, Kwara State could stand or kneel down in front of each other for 15 minutes at a stretch just greeting each other. They will shake hand, touch their chest, shake hand, touch chest… And as they are doing these, they are greeting each other – asking about their well-being, their work and homes; they will ask about the well-being of their wives and their children; they will ask about the health of their fathers and mothers; about grandfathers and grandmothers; they will ask about the farm and the crops…

LAYER-BY-LAYER GREETING
Yoruba people take their greeting very seriously. The Greeting format is not unlike the process of building a multi-storey building. They set greetings as one sets brick upon brick; layer upon layer – beginning with the foundations and working upwards.
They start with the time of the day. When the Nigerian wakes up in the morning, anyone he meets, he greets: “E ku aro” (aro is morning). In fact, if two people meet in the morning and theey do not greet each other, then you can be sure that there is a problem (e.g. a quarrel) between them.
In the afternoon, its “E ku osan”. (E ka’san) In the evening, its “E ku irole”. For night, “E ku ale”. When the sun is shining, its “E ku oorun”. When it’s raining, its “E ku ojo”. When a person is sitting down, the Nigerian will greet him: “E ku ijoko”. If he is standing up, its “E ku iduro”. He is lying down, its “E ku idubule”. If you are on the move, walking, they will greet you: “E ku irin”. You are busy at work, its “E ku ise”.

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They start with the time of the day. When the Nigerian wakes up in the morning, anyone he meets, he greets: “E ku aro” (aro is morning). In fact, if two people meet in the morning and they do not greet each other, then you can be sure that there is a problem (e.g. a quarrel) between them.
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The greeting in the night depends on the stage of the night. When the sun has just gone down, its E ku irole as mentioned above. But if you are about to go to bed, you will be duly greeted: “O d’aaro” (See you safely in the morning). When you are just waking up from sleep (not necessary in the morning) you will be greeted “E ku orun” (Orun is sleep, the same word stands for the sun with a different accent though) or “E ku idaji”. If for one reason or the other something occupies you and you do not sleep when you should, you deserve to be greeted: “E ku aisun” (Aisun is lack of sleep).
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To the extent that if you are frolicking with your wife, they will not leave you alone, its: “E ku mukeke” (Mukeke has no translation. It encapsulates igbadun unqualified enjoyment).
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Market men and women and business people go greet you for your commercial activity. “E ku oro aje”. They will even greet you for yesterday’s activity at the markets: “E ku oro aje ana”. If you are pregnant, ha, you are a recipient of very special attention. You are greeted: “E ku ikunra iya beji” (Ikunra means you have added more body to your normal body; and for the Nigerian every pregnant woman is “Iya ‘beji” (prospective mother of twins a happy prayer for the expectant mother). When a woman delivers, she is greeted: “E ku ewu omo” (Ewu is danger. Greeting you for surviving the danger of childbirth). When you are taking care of the baby, its “E ku owo l’omi” (A nursing mother’s hands are always wet-changing nappies, cleaning babies etc). If a woman is having her hair done, its “E ku ewa”. You have a visitor in your house “E ku alejo”. You have lost someone in the family (bereaved), you are greeted: “E ku ofo” (Ofo is mourning). You are cooking, “E ku owo sibi” (Sibi is spoon).
When a Nigerian did not see you yesterday, he will greet you: “E ku ijo meta”. (it does not matter that ijo meta means three days) When it’s a long time he has seen you, its “E ku atijo”. If you are dancing, “E ku ijo”. You are in any form of trouble (police matter, quarrels etc), they will greet you: “E ku gbonmisi-omi-oto”. You are preparing for an occassion, its “E ku ipalemo”. You organized a ceremonial or social party, “E ku inawo” (Inawo is spending money). Somebody is giving you problems but you are taking it easy with him, you will be greeted: “E ku suru”. If you are mixing it up with the interloper, then the greeting you get changes to: “E ku wahala”. You are having personal adversity, its “E ku iroju” (Iroju is endurance). Your child is sick: “E ku oro imo”. If the child is not yours: “E ku oro enia”. If you hit any kind of jackpot or success, “E ku orire” (luck). To someone who has visited you before, “E ku idide”. When someone is ahead of you, Yoruba will salute him: “E ku iwaju”. For someone behind you, its: “E ku ehin”.
For some very special matters, trust Yorubas, they have greetings for them. For Christmas or any of the Muslim festivals, (Sallahs) its: “E ku odun”. When you are fasting, its “E ku ongbe”. (Ongbe is thirst). To the extent that if you are frolicking with your wife, they will not leave you alone, its: “E ku mukeke” (Mukeke has no translation. It encapsulates igbadun unqualified enjoyment).
So it will be appreciated if these international organizations, Transparency International (TI), UNDP, etc read this research findings of mine and take action. They should shout it from the roof-tops as is their custom, and broadcast it for the whole world to hear that Nigeria takes the First position in one good subject the world over – the subject of Greeting.

CHEERS!

The Saint

 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIP MARKETING

Kola Sonaike, Ph.D
(Professor at American Intercontinental University, Houston, Texas, USA)
BACKGROUND 
For many decades, the study and practice of marketing has revolved, to a very large extent, around the universal examination of concepts borne out of different analyses of what McCarthy (1960) referred to as marketing mix tools:  The 4Ps of product, price, place and promotion.  Marketers are interested in product variety, quality, design, sizes, and other features.  They are interested in product pricing, discounts, allowances, payment periods, and credit terms.  Marketers are interested in the channels, the location, the inventory and the transportation of products.  Further, marketers are interested in sales promotion, advertising, the sales force, public relations, and direct marketing.  The marketer’s task involves, to a large extent, an assemblage of integrated programs to create, communicate, and deliver value for customers.  In the classical model, the main goal of the efforts is to close a specific deal.
In the early 1980s, scholars like Berry (1983), Levitt (1983), and Rosenberg & Czepiel (1984) started looking seriously into the after-sale phenomenon and the art of customer retention.  Four scholars, Payne, Christopher, Clark, and Peck (1995) actually wrote a book titled “Relationship Marketing for Competitive Advantage: Winning and Keeping Customers.”  Since then, there has been a flurry of published articles in the general area of relationship marketing.  The principles are being tested globally and the results have been phenomenal.
CONCEPT
Beaton & Beaton (1995) submit that relationship marketing is concerned with the identification of a reliable predictor of stable long-term relationships between buyers and sellers.  Morgan & Hunt (1994) observe that the concept deals with the establishment, development, and maintenance of successful relational exchanges.  The scholars assert that although service value continues to be a pivotal concept in contemporary services marketing and management, the arrival of relationship marketing on the scene is surely leading to a paradigm shift in the study and practice of marketing.  The changes we are seeing are due to factors such as time-based competition, total quality management (TQM), Just-In-Time (JIT) management, early supplier involvement, cost pressures, globalization of markets, increased technical co-operation, downsizing of businesses, changes in production and operating structures, and the need for greater organizational flexibility
(Wilson & Mummalaneni, 1988).
According to Berry & Gresham (1986), companies that put in these extra efforts are able to translate their customers into clients thus fostering a more permanent relationship.  Although companies offering such personal services may look just like other businesses, they do not feel the same way to their customers.  Therefore, Reichheld (1993) declares that the true mission of the organization is to create value for the triad of customers, employees, and investors.  He noted that satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal.  Therefore, in a loyalty-based strategy, the goal of marketing is to manage toward “zero defection.”
Bowen & Lawler (1992), referring in particular to the empowerment of service workers, submit that managers need to make sure that there is a good fit between their organizational needs and their approach to frontline employees.  They assert that empowerment involves sharing with frontline employees, information about the organization’s performance, rewards based on the organization’s performance, knowledge that enables employees to understand and contribute to organizational performance, and power to make decisions that influence organizational direction and performance.
IMPLEMENTATION
Berry & Gresham (1986) proposed the following plan for general implementation of relationship marketing concept at the workplace:
1.    Establishment of standards for various facets of the service encounter.  This is similar to what McDonald’s does, with their efforts to maintain customer waiting time at their restaurants to not more than four minutes after an order is placed.  Employees must also be properly trained on the product knowledge they need to have in doing their jobs. Without benchmarks, performance will be very difficult to measure and improve upon.
2.    Hire helpful personnel.  Only personnel with the capacity to meet the set standards must be employed.  Contact personnel (that is, employees that meet directly with customers) must be carefully selected for their tasks.  The truth is that not everyone is endowed with such skills and this is very obvious when one compare services received from different waiters and waitresses in our preferred restaurants.
3.    Train Staff.  The staff must be trained both in knowledge and skills to meet the demands of contact jobs.  Phone courtesy, listening skills, cheerful posture are essential ingredients in courting long-term relationships with current and potential customers.  The best client-driven salespeople hear needs, and then find just the right merchandise to satisfy those needs.
4.    Monitor Staff Performance.  Staff performance must be monitored against the set standards.  Contact personnel need to know that management will know how they are performing.  Effective feedback mechanisms must be set up.  Random surveys, periodic customer interviews, and an ongoing “shopping program” are useful.  In the last case, researchers will pose as customers and rate the quality of their encounter.
5.    Reward Staff Competence.  Contact staff who perform well against the set standards must be rewarded.  That way, they know management is serious about the quality of services rendered to customers.  Client loyalty cannot be assumed; it cannot even be bought.  It can only be earned.  Employees must know that it is performance that counts.
SOME EXAMPLES
1.    Bowen and Lawler (1992) gave the example of Federal Express, which in 1990 became the first service organization to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.  The company’s motto is “people, service, and profits.”  They assert that behind its blue, white, and red planes and uniforms are self-managing work teams, gain sharing plans, and empowered employees seemingly consumed with providing flexible and creative services to customers with varying needs.  The scholars submit that empowered employees bring quicker on-line responses to customer needs during service delivery; bring quicker on-line responses to dissatisfied customers during service recovery; feel better about their jobs and themselves; interact with customers with more warmth and enthusiasm; are great sources of service ideas; provide great word-of-mouth advertising, and are committed to customer retention.

2.    The Japanese concept of kereitsu, is of essence here.  Rather than working with a large pool of suppliers, this concept involves focusing on a few suppliers who are nurtured and collaborated with closely on a long-term basis.  It is a form of partnering, a close-knit relationship that ultimately benefits both sides such that in some cases, it is hard to identify who is really the principal and who is the client.  As you probably have heard before, the Japanese classical model is to foster close-knit relationships with employees such that loyalty is ensured and life-long togetherness can be guaranteed.
CONCLUSION
Pels, Coviello, and Brodie (2001) argued that the environment, buyer and seller’s interpretation of their environment and their perception of their counterpart’s offer/need structure, will influence the exchange situation.  The scholars submit that the actor’s perceptions and therefore effects on the exchange situation are not necessarily constant over time.  The onus lies on management to fill the gaps in order to ensure continuity of the exchange relationship.  We want the customers to keep coming back!
Therefore, according to Schlesinger (1983), the linkages between job satisfaction, service capability, and customer satisfaction variables yields several interesting results basically supporting the notion of employees’ greater output with increased management support.  When management rewards adequately, empowers effectively, and embraces better employee quality of work life, there is greater service capability, higher job satisfaction, and increased customer satisfaction and retention.

References
Berry, L.L. & Gresham, L.G. (1986). Relationship retailing: Transforming
customers into clients. Business Horizon, Nov. – Dec. 1986
Bowen, D.E. & Lawler, E.E. (1992). The empowerment of service workers: What,
why, how, and when? Sloan Management Review, Spring 1992
Dess, G.G., Lumpkin, G.T., & Eisner, A.B. (2008). Strategic management: Text
and cases (4th ed.).  New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Grewal, D. & Levy, M. (2009). Marketing. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Iacobucci, D. (2010). MM. OH: South-Western
Kinicki, A. & Williams, B.K. (2008). Management: A practical introduction (3rd
ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Kotler, P. & Keller, K.L. (2009). Marketing management (13th ed.).
New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall
Lamb, C.L., Hair, J.F., & McDaniel, C. (2010). MKTG3. OH: South-Western
Morgan, R.M. & Hunt, S.D. (1994). The commitment-trust theory of relationship
marketing. Journal of Marketing, July 1994
Payne, A., Christopher, M., Clark, M. & Peck, H. (1995).  Relationship marketing
for Competitive advantage. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann
Pels, J., Coviello, N.E. & Brodie, R.J. (2001). Integrating transactional and
relational marketing exchange: A pluralistic perspective. Journal of
Marketing, Summer 2000
Reichheld, F.F. (1993). Loyalty and the renaissance of marketing. Marketing
Management, (10) Vol. 2, No. 4
Schlesinger, L.A. (1983). Job satisfaction, service capability, and customer
satisfaction: An examination of linkages and management implications.
Boston: Harvard Business School

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SHORT;  SHARP; SERIOUS

  • Have you noticed that you spend 18 months trying to get your children to stand up and talk; and the next 18 years trying to get them to sit down and listen?

 

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