Social media as a competitive strategy in customer care by mobile telecommunication firms in Kenya
This study sought to examine how the mobile telecommunication firms in Kenya have leveraged on use of social media in customer care as a strategic competitive advantage. Emphasis was put on how social media is being employed in customer care by mobile telecommunication firms in Kenya and how it is changing the face of customer care as we traditionally know it. The study looked at how the traditional structure contact center model is being interrupted by social media software like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Whereas it is still too early to measure the impact of social media on the traditional contact center customer care model, this study analyzed the degree to which social media had been adopted in customer care. A survey was done on three major telecommunication firms in Kenya to analyze how they use social media in customer care. Data collection was done by use of questionnaires and the respondents were selected using probability sampling procedure reducing any bias that might have affected the findings of the study. The study generated both qualitative (open-ended questions) and quantitative data. Quantitative data was coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was analyzed based on the content matter of the responses and only the relevant data was presented in prose. The study found that the cost of running traditional contact center, flexibility of use, need to be where the customers are, leverage on peer to peer communication and access to instant feedback are the main benefits of using social media in customer care as opposed to the traditional contact center model. These benefits are believed to give the mobile telecommunication firms a competitive advantage in customer care since they improve on the traditional contact center model. The research established that social media has been accepted as a formal customer care tool in the mobile telecommunication firms in Kenya with each firm using more than one social media tool .Also, organizations that use social media in customer care seem to have a competitive edge since social media is a two way communication that enables them to disseminate information quickly. It also enables the customers to engage each other on the social media platforms reducing direct contact with the customer care staff which in turn reduces costs since fewer customer care agents are required.