Impact of social media on customer relations: Case of Equity Bank
Social media has had a huge impact on communication both at individual and organizational level. At organizational level, social media has quickly become a powerful tool for customer engagement. As a result, some organizations have come up with strategies to incorporate social media in their customer relations. However, not many organizations have been quick to adopt the use of social media in their customer relations. This paper seeks to explore how the use of social media for customer relations has been utilized in Kenya by Equity Bank. The main objective of this research was to establish the role of social media in enhancing customer relations among Equity Bank customers. The specific objectives will be as follows: 1) To establish the general awareness and perception of Equity Bank Customers on the use of social media for customer relations. 2) To establish how effectively Equity Bank customers use social media platforms. 3) To find out the level of satisfaction among users of Equity Bank social media platforms Blumler and Katz‟s uses and gratification theory suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media that effectively satisfies their communication needs. The researcher will use the uses and gratification theory to show why Equity Bank customers are adopting the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to make inquiries about bank products. Data collection was done by way of survey questionnaires distributed to Equity Bank users and in-depth interviews with customer care staff and social media managers of Equity Bank, 200 survey respondents were randomly chosen from Equity Bank‟s Twitter and Facebook pages and asked to answer questions on their interaction with Equity Bank using social media platforms. The researcher also interviewed 30 key informants to establish their perception on the potential vis a vis actual role social media is playing in enhancing customer relations. Collected data will be analyzed using statistical methods and narrations from the qualitative data provided where necessary. The researcher will also observe the online platforms of Equity Bank to see firsthand the interaction between the bank and its customers. Among the key findings of this research is that social media is a very effective channel for enhancing customer relations. Equity Bank is given credit for supplying quality and quantity information through its social media channels. Majority of the respondents are satisfied with the bank‟s use of the online platforms for customer relations. However, social media use in Kenya is still a gray area in that there is few policies or laws guiding its use. As a recommendation, the researcher suggests that Equity Bank in collaboration with other stakeholders lobby for the increase of more people and traffic in the use of social media. A recommendation for further research is on the factors that affect use of the different social media platforms.