African Journal of
Marketing Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Mark. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2421
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMM
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 153

Full Length Research Paper

Analysing the moderating effect of customer loyalty on long run repurchase intentions

John Olotewo
  • John Olotewo
  • Girne American University Turkey.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 08 September 2016
  •  Accepted: 15 November 2016
  •  Published: 30 April 2017

 ABSTRACT

One of the controversies in existing marketing literatures is on how to retain existing and new customers to have repurchase intention in the long-run; however, empirical answer to this question is scanty in existing studies. Thus, this study investigates the moderating effect of consumer loyalty on long-run repurchase intentions in telecommunication industry using Lagos State environs. The study adopted field survey research design using questionnaire to elicit responses from 250 respondents who were selected using random and stratified random sampling techniques from the telecommunication industry in Lagos State, Nigeria. The internal consistency of the research instrument was verified using the Cronbach’s alpha, the result of 0.89 implies the acceptability of the internal consistency of the survey instrument. The test of the research hypotheses were analyzed using Pearson Product Method of Correlation (PPMC), simple regression analysis and inferential statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Science version 20.0 (SPSS). The study confirmed that customer satisfaction has a significant relationship with customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry. Furthermore, service quality has a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a brand; loyalty programs have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a network operator in Nigeria and customer loyalty has a significant effect on the long run repurchase intentions of the customer. The study concluded that one of the determinants of long term profitability of a business entity is the long run repurchase intentions of its customers which hinges on the level of brand loyalty of the customer. Thus, it was recommended that service providers in Nigeria should improve on factors like customer satisfaction, service quality, and loyalty programs in order to increase the loyalty of their customer to their brands thereby increasing their repurchase intentions.

Key words: Customer loyalty, long run repurchase intentions, brands, service quality, customer satisfaction.


 INTRODUCTION

One of the determinants of long term profitability of a business entity is the long run repurchase intentions of its customers which hinges on the level of brand loyalty of the customer (Yusuf, 2014).  Customer loyalty implies theintrinsic decision made by the customer to consistently purchase a particular product from their preferred brands regardless of the availability of substitute (Ogwo and Igwe, 2012).  Customer loyalty is an expression of the future patronage of a brand by the customer and one of its determinants, which determines the level of
 
satisfaction of consumer about the brand that is currently patronized.
 
Customer loyalty is often polygamous because a hundred percent loyalty to a particular brand is rare considering time and place factors. A customer who found himself in a particular location where his preferred brand is unavailable will go for closest probable alternative. Customer loyalty motivate consumers to favor the product of his preferred brand over other close substitute and purchase its brand consistently over a long period of time. Customer loyalty may be short term or long term depending on the perceived value and cumulative utility consumer derives from its preferred brands.
 
The continuity of a business entity depends on the number of loyal customers it possesses (Ali Kazemi, 2013).  These set of customers are net promoters of the product through their word of mouth to their friends, relatives family, and social network. Through their personal advocacy for the product, more consumers are attracted to the brands regardless of the prevailing competition in the market. Loyalty is often based on upon perception, that is, the value for money and the perceived benefit accruing from the usage of the product. This perception becomes the reality through which the consumer views the product in comparison to available alternatives.
 
One of the benefits of customer loyalty is the increased probability that such customer will purchase the product again (Abiodun, 2014). Other benefits include recommendation of the product to their kin and kindred, reduced advertising cost for the company and more importantly increase in the sales volume which invariably leads to increase in the profitability of the firm. In order to increase the number of loyal customer, companies have adopted different strategy, which includes brand ambassadors, incentives, loyalty programs, and festive promos. These strategies have helped to improve customers’ attitudinal and behavioral tendency toward the particular brands.
 
According to Brand Keys’ 19th Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement index, Apple, Hyundai, AT&T, Ford, Domino’s, Avis, Dunkin’, Google, Discover Konica Minolta, and the NFL maintained their number one category positions in very challenging category environments. These brands have been able to meet their customer expectation despite the increasing competition and needs from the customers.
 
Problem statement
 
One of the marketing challenges of most organization is how to design appropriate strategy to improve the perception of its product by the customers. Likewise, creating a value for money for its consumer and increasing the utility of  its  product  becomes  paramount because these factors increase the loyalty of the customer to the product. Lack of many loyal customer signal a bleak future for the organization because other brands in the market are vigorously competing to win more customers. Therefore, customer loyalty becomes the ingredient that boost the probability of repurchasing the product after use and this has implication for the profitability and sustainability of the business.
 
Objective of the study
 
The study aims to analyze the effect of customer loyalty in long run repurchase intentions. Specifically, the following objectives will be achieved:
 
1.Evaluate the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty,
2.Assess the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty,
3.Investigate if there exists a significant relationship between loyalty programs initiated by telecommunication companies and level of customer loyalty to the brand.
 
Research hypothesis
 
The following are the research hypotheses for the study:
 
H0: Customer satisfaction does not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry
H1: Customer satisfaction has a significant relationship with customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry
H2: Service quality does not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a brand
H3: Service quality has a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a brand
H4: Loyalty programs do not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a network operator in Nigeria
H5: Loyalty programs have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a network operator in Nigeria
H6: Customer loyalty does not have a significant effect on the long run repurchase intentions of the customer
H7: Customer loyalty has a significant effect on the long run repurchase intentions of the customer
 
Justification of the study
 
This study is motivated by its empirical contribution and policy implication for telecommunication operators in the Nigeria market considering the spate of technological innovation and the need to deliver quality service that meet consumers’ expectation. Empirically, different studies   have   been    conducted    to    underscore    the relationship between customer loyalty and their repurchase intention in the context of the telecommunication industry. Notwithstanding, this study transcends existing literature by focusing specifically on professionals and corporate subscribers of telecommunication industry in Nigeria. Approaching this study from the angle of professionals will enable the research to make a comparative analysis of its findings with existing studies that survey different respondents entirely. 


 LITERATURE REVIEW

Overview of Nigeria telecommunication industry
 
One of the development indicators in any nation of the world is the extent of the development of its telecommunication industry because of the pivotal role the industry plays in improving the standard of living of the citizens and integrating them into the global sphere especially in this era of civilization and globalization. Globalization has lead to the integration of trade, financial markets, labour markets, and different economies of the world. In other for a country to fully integrate itself and benefit from the gains arising from globalization, its telecommunication industry must be effective and efficient in service delivery.
 
Historically, the year 1886 marks the year when telecommunication service was introduced into the Nigeria market by the colonial administration before the independence year of 1960. With a population about 40 million at independence, the total number of telephone lines in the country was below 20,000 mainly because of the huge capital outlay required for the purchase and installation of telecommunication facilities in the country. After independence, the government established the Departments of Posts and Telecommunication as well as Nigerian External Telecommunication which were assigned with the responsibility of overseeing internal network and external network respectively. By the year 1985, the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) was established from the amalgamation of NET and Telecommunication department of department of Posts and Telecommunications. NITEL was established for the purpose of correcting the gross inefficiencies and underperformance of both P&T and Nigerian External Telecommunication. With this reorganization, there was high expectation that the country’s telecommunication industry will performed and deliver quality service which will transform the economy of the country. However, the performance of NITEL was worrisome because the noticeable problem grew worse. There was low investment in telecommunication facilities and the service delivery was poor, the area of coverage was likewise low.
 
Considering this reality of poor performance, the government  took  a   giant   stride   by   establishing   the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in the year 1992. With the establishment of this agency, the country witnessed gradual improvement in the telecommunication sector but the transformation was inhibited by the political instability arising and pandemonium in the country due to military involvement in politics. With the global clamor for a democratic government, which led to the introduction of a democratic government in 1999, the government emphasized information and communication technology and this led to the liberalization of the sector and the resultant introduction of Global System of Mobile (GSM) communication service in 2001. This was immediately followed by the privatization of NITEL to M-tel and the issuance of operating license to Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) and Econet Wireless, which is presently known as Airtel. Other networks providers that are granted license up to date include Glo Mobile, Etisalat, Multi-links, Starcomms, Visafone, and Spectranet. With the astronomical growth rate of different network providers in the market, competition is increasing likewise the need to retain existing customers. This arises because of the complexity of consumer behavior as regards to the telecommunication industry. For instance, a customer may decide to use a particular network provider for making voice call while he uses another network provider for browsing the internet. This type of behavior is uncommon and this makes it difficult for a network operator to really ascertain customers that are loyal to its brand. Globalization and technological advancement has necessitated telecommunication companies to effectively manage their customers in order to gain their loyalty and ultimately to maximize revenue. Considering the competitive nature of the telecommunication industry in Nigeria and in the rest of world it is imperative for network operators to have a robust understanding of factors that boost customer loyalty and their subsequent patronage. Gaining competitive advantage hinges on customer loyalty which is stimulated by the service quality and satisfaction derived by customers by using provider services.  Having identified the intense competition existing in the market, various marketing initiatives and loyalty programs have been adopted by GSM operators in order to retain their customers and attract new ones who may be willing to switch because of the low switching cost. Considering the foregoing, there has been a drastic reduction in the tariff charge by different operators which led to a reduction in the profit generated by these firms.
 
Customer loyalty
 
Various scholars have attempted to define customer loyalty with emphasis on how it impacts an organization’s product, promotion, and performance. From the different definitions of customer loyalty that abounds in the literature, certain keywords and phrases are recurrent such as commitment, repurchase, investment, frequency, and substitution. For example,  (Ibok, 2015) asserted that customer loyalty is an unwavering commitment to repurchase a brand continuously regardless of available substitute of the brand.
 
Some determinants of customer loyalty
 
Customer satisfaction
 
Conceptually, customer satisfaction can be defined as the level of utility derived by consumer from the use of a particular service or product (Oyeniyi, 2011). It is the level of happiness displayed by customers when they use a product or service. Satisfaction can be measured by the actual experience a customer has and his expected experience when he uses a product or service. Satisfaction is the actual difference between customer expectation and reality. Satisfaction is usually a comparative analysis of the post-purchase experience of a customer and his prior expectation and it is a strong covariate of repurchase intention, loyalty, and product advocacy.
 
Considering the level of competition in the telecommunication industry in Nigeria, satisfying the consumer is a foremost objective of the network operators because of the benefits associated with customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are not prone to switch brand and they are ready to purchase service at an affordable price. In the telecommunication industry where customers’ dissatisfaction is not openly displayed, it is important that telecommunication firms meet the expectation of their customers in terms of service rendered because dissatisfied customers can easily port to other network providers as low as N50.  But if the performance of the network operator meets expectation of the customers and give them a pleasurable fulfillment, the customer can repurchase the service again and again.
 
Price, trust, and commitment
 
Price refers to the sum charged for a service by the suppliers. It is defined as the amount customers are ready to offer for the value, benefit or utility they derive from the use of a service. In the telecommunication industry, price includes the sum of money customer pays for recharge voucher, SMS charge, data bundles, call rate, and other charges. Since it is difficult to actually differentiate the service quality of different network operators in the country, lower prices remains the marketing strategy employed by these firms to attract and retain large subscribers so as to boost their financial performance and have a larger market share.
 
Trust on the other hand refers to the innate confidence customers demonstrate in regards to the reliability and integrity of the supplier to deliver optimal service. There is no organization that can progress without developing mutual trust with customers, which is dependent on the ability to deliver exceptional service. Trust usually results from continuous delivery of excellent service, which actually forms a bond that culminates in long run relationship between the customer and supplier.
 
Trust usually culminates into long term commitment between the customer and network operators in the telecommunication industry. Committed customers are willing to be identified with a particular brand and even recommend the brand strongly to the society because they believe in the uniqueness of the brand over other brands in the market. A committed customer shows dependability and assurance of excellent service delivery from the network providers.
 
Service quality
 
Because of the intangible and elusive nature of services, it is quite difficult to present a definite definition of service quality. In the case of tangible product with physical features that can be examined, it is easier to define quality in line with the expectation of the consumer. Notwithstanding, service quality can also be defined as the comparison of perceived performance and expected performance of customers. Service quality enables the firm to retain its existing customers, retain good employees, and reduce internal and external costs. Over the years, service quality has been measured by the SERVQUAL instrument developed by Parasuraman et al. (1985) (Akinyele, 2010). It has five dimensions, which are reliability, assurance, responsiveness, tangibles, and empathy. In extant literature, service quality is found to increase repurchases and decrease customer tendency to switch to other brands. Service quality is a strong advertising cliché for telecommunication companies in Nigeria because a firm with the ability to deliver quality service is positioned to have a larger customer base compared to other competitors in the market.
 
Switching cost
 
Switching cost is the amount customer will expect when he decide to contact the service of another network provider in the market. A customer switch brand when the performance of his current brand fails to meet his prior expectation. In addition, when the current brand fail continuously in a particular service area, the customer are prone to switch to other brands. In Nigeria for instance, the cost of switching to other network is as low as N50 because the cost of purchasing a new SIM card is such low. Switching from provider A to B has a noticeable effect on provider A because this reduces its market share, lowers its profitability, and increases negative word of mouth.
 
Empirical evidence
 
Research attempted to analyze the nexus between brand identity and customer loyalty in Nigeria using four Nigeria telecommunication companies which are MTN, Etisalat, Airtel, and Globacom. Two hundred and forty respondents were sampled in the study and simple regression method was used to analyze the data. Findings confirm a strong and positive relationship between customer loyalty and brand identity in the context of telecommunication industry in Nigeria (Ibok, 2015). 
 
Research tested the hypothesis of no correlation between service quality, customer satisfaction, and loyalty in Nigerian telecommunication industry using a survey research method. The hypothesis was tested using Pearson Product Moment of correlation and findings showed that quality of service and image of the brand are strong determinants of customer loyalty in the telecommunication market. The tariff of the telecommunication companies was found not to significantly influence customer loyalty to these telecommunication companies because majority of the respondents reveal that the tariff doesn’t commensurate with the service rendered by the telecommunication companies (Adepoju, 2012).
 
Research investigated how customer’s satisfaction impact on the direction of customer loyalty in Nigerian banks. The level of satisfaction determines the retention of customers which invariably influence their loyalty to the organization. A dissatisfied customers cannot be loyal to the particular brand because his expectation was unfulfilled but satisfied customers can easily discuss their memorable experience with other people. Using a simple regression analysis, Ibojo reveal that there is a significant relationship between customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty at 1% level of significance (Ibojo, 2014).
 
Research analyzed the nexus between sales promotion and customer retention using the MTN and GLO as a case study. This was motivated by the perceived importance of sales promotion in boosting customer loyalty to a brand especially in the telecommunication industry (Oyeniyi, 2011). Using Pearson Product Moment of Correlation, the study detected positive relationship between sale promotion and customer retention in the two telecommunication companies in Nigeria. Specifically, the study asserted a direct and positive relationship between sales promotion expenditure and customer loyalty in telecommunication industry in Nigeria. Research reviewed the impact of customer satisfaction on their patronage, retention, and loyalty in sampled eateries in Cross River State, Nigeria using Product Moment of Correlation (PPMC). This stems from the significant role customer satisfaction plays in their overall perception and evaluation of a brand, which affects their subsequent loyalty to such brands. A customer is regarded to be satisfied when the  product  meets  his/her expectation. Based on this premise, the study employed Product Moment of Correlation (PPMC) to test the hypothesis of the study and findings reveal that customer satisfaction has significant impact on customer patronage, retention, and loyalty, which encourage the customer to repurchase the product in the long run (Kwabena, 2014).        
 
Research examined how customer satisfaction and service quality affect customer patronage in the restaurant industry in Nigeria. Product Moment of Correlation (PPMC) and multiple regression analysis was employed to confirm the relationship among customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer patronage. The result confirms a positive correlation between service quality and patronage intention likewise between customer satisfaction and customer patronage intention. The multiple regression analysis reveals that customer satisfaction strongly predicts customer patronage than service quality. This implies that restaurant needs more improvement in the quality of service rendered to their customers in order to increase their repurchase intention in the same restaurant (Richard, 2013).
 
Research assessed the determinants of customer loyalty among mobile telecom subscribers in Ghana employing a correlation analysis to identify the significant determinants. From the different determinants of customer loyalty identified in the literature, only three determinants were found to be significant and this included network coverage, sales promotion, and call rate quality while brand image and prompt customer service were found to be insignificant determinants of customer loyalty in Ghana (Richard, 2013).
 
Research hypothesized that service quality has a significant relationship with customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and choice of network provider in the Nigeria telecommunication industry. Sampling two hundred and fifty undergraduate students, the study employed one sample T-test to confirm or refute the hypotheses. Result indicated that service quality has a significant and positive relationship with customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and choice of network provider among the four network providers (MTN, AIRTEL, GLO, and ETISALAT) sampled in the study (Kwabena, 2014).        
 
Reference asserted that customer satisfaction, level of trust, and loyalty are strong predictors of their repurchase intention in South African retailing industry (Ali Kazemi, 2013). Using a Structural Equation Modeling, their findings revealed that these three variables are significant predictors of customer repurchase intention in the retailing industry.
 
Another research found out that value equity, brand equity, and relationship equity have positive effect on customers’ repurchase intention in fast food subsector in Iran (Abubakar, 2014). Research concluded that increase in the level of customer loyalty and satisfaction decrease switching intention  from  a  particular  brand  in  Pakistan  (Abubakar, 2014). Research analyzed factors that significantly affect brand loyalty among consumers in Nigeria and factors revealed from the findings included product involvement, product quality evaluation, customer satisfaction, and brand trust (Saidu, 2014). Similarly, analyzed factors that determine customer loyalty to Nokia brand in Pakistan. Findings indicated that customer satisfaction, utility derived, and value of the brand are significant factors influencing customers’ loyalty to the brand which enhance their repurchasing intention (Saba, 2014).


 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Primary research methodology is adopted to underscore the moderating effect of customer loyalty in the long run of repurchase intention. The study employed simple random sampling technique to select two hundred and fifty respondents that subscribes to any network provider in Nigeria. A structurally designed questionnaire was administered to these respondents in order to collect information on their preferred brands and their long run repurchased intentions. The research hypothesis is tested using range of statistical analysis such as Pearson product moment correlation coefficient and regression analysis.
 
Choice of research area
 
This research was carried out in Lagos state, Nigeria which is the economic hub of Nigeria with a population over 20 million. Lagos state generates its revenue largely from internal sources especially through taxation and is regarded as one of the fastest growing state globally. Because of the wide range of professionals working in Lagos state and their availability, this study preferred to take its sample from the state. Politically, the state has been relatively stable since the advent of a democratic government in the year 1999.
 
Research design
 
The survey research method is employed for this study because of the type of data required for this study which is both qualitative and quantitative. Since the objective of the study is to gather data from professionals that subscribe to different network operators in the country, survey method will enable the researcher to gather the data within a short period of time from the respondents. The questionnaire is divided into two sections: section A is the demographic information of the respondents while section B is the research instrument. The research instrument is structured on a likert-scale metrics where SA implies strongly agree, A implies agree N implies neutral, D implies disagree, and SD implies strongly disagree Participation was voluntarily and the researcher was meticulous in administering the questionnaire through the help of a research assistant.
 
Population and sample
 
The term population ordinarily refers to a group of people inhabiting a specified geographical location (Leedy, 2005, 8th Edition). In research, the term is used in a more general sense to include “all members” or  “elements”,  be  they  human  beings,  trees,  animals, events, etc of a well-defined group (Leedy, 2005, 8th Edition).
Therefore, the population is the set of people or entities to which findings are to be generalised. Sampling is a process of selecting/ drawing data from many sources, i.e. from a variety of people, objects, textual materials, audio-visual and electronic records. It can also obtain a representative set of data and information, which can be extrapolated to the total population. The selection of participants in this study is done randomly to ensure that everyone within the jurisdiction of the study and who meets the criteria have equal chance of being selected. The study population for this study includes all professionals working in Lagos state while the sampled population is two hundred and fifty who are randomly selected (Leedy, 2005, 8th Edition).
 
Reliability test
 
For a research instrument to be reliable, it must ensure consistency of measures. Reliability includes the internal consistency of the survey instruments, test-retest reliability, and split half reliability. For this study, the internal consistency is verified using the Cronbach’s alpha. The result of 0.89 implies the acceptability of the internal consistency of the survey instrument to be reliable. This exceeds the recommended minimum acceptable limit of the reliability alpha of 0.7 (Sekaran, 2013).
 
Estimation procedure
 
After collating and organizing the data, the demographic information of the respondents are presented using descriptive statistics while the research hypotheses will be tested using inferential statistics. The first three hypotheses are tested using Pearson Product Method of Correlation (PPMC) while the fourth hypothesis will be analyzed using simple regression analysis. The analysis will be perform using Statistical Package for Social Science version 20.0
 
Demographic information
 
One hundred and fifty respondents (60%) are male while one hundred respondents are female (40%) which shows that the male respondents are more than the female respondents (Table 1). The percent of single respondents is sixty-five (26%), married respondents is one hundred and eighty (72%) and divorced respondents is five (2%) (Table 2). Fifty respondents (20%) are OND/NCE that is, Ordinary National Diploma and National Diploma holders while eighty are HND that is, Higher National Diploma holders. Ninety-five have their bachelor degree while twenty five have their master degree (Table 3). The respondents who are thirty years below are sixty (24%) while respondents with age category 31-40 are fifty (20%) (Table 4). The respondents that are 41-50 years are one hundred (40%) while respondents that are 51years and above are forty (16%) (Table 4). Medical professionals sampled in the study are eighty (32%) which include doctors, pharmacist, nurses, and midwives. Lectures sampled are seventy (28%) while bankers sampled in the study are fifty (20%) while other professionals are fifty (20%) (Table 5).The number of respondents using MTN only are twenty (8%), GLO only FIFTY (6%), ETISALAT only is five (2%), AIRTEL only is ten (4%) while those using more than one network provider are two hundred (80%) (Table 6). 
 
 
 
1. Hypothesis One
H0: Customer satisfaction does not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry
H1: Customer satisfaction has a significant relationship with customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry.
 
The Pearson correlation coefficient shows the rejection of the null hypothesis and acceptance of the alternative hypothesis (Table 7). This implies that customer satisfaction has a strong and positive relationship with customer loyalty in Nigerian telecommunication sector. This is widely supported by the previous findings of (Osotimehin, 2015) and (Nsobiari, 2014).
 
 
2. Hypothesis Two
H2: Service quality does not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a brand
H3: Service quality has a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a brand
 
The Pearson correlation coefficient shows the rejection of the null hypothesis and acceptance of the alternative hypothesis (Table 8). This implies that service quality has a strong and positive relationship with customer loyalty in Nigerian telecommunication sector. This is widely supported from the previous findings of (Osotimehin, 2015) and (Nsobiari, 2014). 
 
 
3. Hypothesis Three
H4: Loyalty programs do not have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a network operator in Nigeria
H5: Loyalty programs have a significant relationship with customer loyalty to a network operator in Nigeria
 
The Pearson correlation coefficient shows the rejection of the null hypothesis and acceptance of the alternative hypothesis (Table 9). This implies loyalty programs have a strong and positive relationship with customer loyalty in Nigeria telecommunication sector. This is widely supported from the previous findings of (Nsobiari, 2014).
 
 
4. Hypothesis Four
H6: Customer loyalty does not have a significant effect on the long run repurchase intentions of the customer
H7: Customer loyalty has a significant effect on the long run repurchase intentions of the customer.The simple linear regression shows that customer loyalty has a positive and significant effect on long run repurchase intentions of customers which is widely supported in extant literature (Tables 10, 11 and 12). This shows that the perception of professionals in Lagos state, Nigeria about customer loyalty is parallel with the general consensus in the extant literature
 

 


 FINDINGS

Results of the study indicated at customer satisfaction, service  quality,  and   loyalty   programs   are   significant determinants of customer loyalty in Nigeria. Likewise, customer loyalty is found to have a significant and positive effect on the long run repurchase intentions of customers in Nigeria. This is supported by the findings of Ogwo (2012), who affirms that service quality is a significant determinant of patronage among telecom subscribers in Nigeria.
 
In Ghana likewise, research found out that service quality significantly determines customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry in the country likewise (Oyeniyi,  2011)  in  his  study.  Adepoju  (2012)  included advertisement as a significant determinant of customer loyalty in the telecommunication industry in Ghana. In the same vein, affirms that customer satisfaction and switching cost are significant determinants of customer loyalty to telecommunication companies in Nigeria. Corporate image and service quality were found to be significant predicates of customer satisfaction. Oghojafor (2014) also confirms a significant and positive relationship between satisfaction and brand loyalty in the Nigerian telecommunication industry. Customer satisfaction is found to be determined by the utility derived, brand image, tariff, and quality of service rendered by the network provider. Another research added trust as a significant determinant of customer loyalty to telecommunication operators in Nigeria (Waidi, 2014). This includes competitive strategies employed by telecommunication firms during sales promotion as one of the significant determinants of customer satisfaction which boost customer loyalty to such brand (Waidi, 2014).


 CONCLUSION AND POLICY RECOMMENDATION

The importance of customer loyalty cannot be overemphasized in the market considering the competitive nature of the telecommunication industry. Marketing scholars believe that consumer satisfaction and the quality of service rendered by network operator boost the confidence of the customer. Furthermore, the services rendered by these firms subsequently increase their loyalty to the firm.
 
Loyalty is empirically adjudged to increase the repurchase intention of the customers thereby increasing the profitability of the business and their long run survival in the market. With the advancement in technology and consumer demands for better service, it becomes imperative for network operators to design innovative marketing initiatives to retain their customers and attract new ones. This can only be possible by improving their service quality and their loyalty program beyond their competitors in the market. The study thus concludes on the notion that customer satisfaction, service quality, and loyalty program are strong predicates of customer loyalty, which indirectly affects their repurchase intention of the same brand in the long run. Based on the strength of these findings, the study recommends that service providers in Nigeria should improve on factors like customer satisfaction, service quality, and loyalty programs in order to increase the loyalty of their customer to their brands thereby increasing their repurchase intentions. 


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The author has not declared any conflict of interests.



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