Customer loyalty retention strategies in the Kenyan mobile telephony industry
The mobile telephony industry in Kenya has been highly competitive more so in the recent past with calling price reductions triggered by one of the competitors. The problem stated in this paper is that due to the intense competition there is customer mobility across networks due to various products and services perceived by the consumer as fairly priced. With regards to this it is important for mobile telephony companies to have solid customer loyalty retention strategies so as not to loose their market share which is their source of revenue. Several authors whose work was reviewed strongly advised on the importance of retaining loyal customer as it is usually cheaper for the business to retain them than to acquire new ones. Various literatures was studied to identify gaps in previous similar researches done and it was clear that these strategies in the Kenyan mobile telephony industry have not been identified as empirical studies showed research in the Internet Service Provider industry and strategies used in mobile telephony industry in Tanzania. This research was designed to find out the various customer loyalty retention strategies that have been put in place by these service providers (if any) in Kenya and analyze their similarity across the industry. The findings of the study showed that most of the mobile telephony companies have similar strategies with some trying to differentiate themselves by packaging them in attractive products and services (for example different tariff plans for calls and short message services), use of customer loyalty retention programs and corporate social responsibility activities. One of the most common strategies that came about during the period of data collection was the sudden reduction in voice calls charges across network triggered by one service providers in a bid to capture a larger market share thus a price strategy. The use of technology and innovation was noted as key in coming up with differentiated products and services. All the service providers seemed to agree that the various strategies employed had led to increased revenue for the companies. It is also interesting to note that for most of the companies the strategies are formulated at both top and middle management with 40% of the respondents stating that it may also be done at the first line level of management. Recommendations made would include formulation of strategies that are not necessarily price related as price wars are usually detrimental to the survival of any business though it is beneficial to the customer. Embracing of technology and good/more customer care channels was also encouraged so as to create a sustainable competitive edge in the industry. There was recommendation for further research to be done in the area as data collection was a challenge and similar studies could also be replicated in other industries. Key words: Customer loyalty, Retention, Strategies, Kenya, Mobile, telephony, industry.