It’s 2019 and companies are seeking better ways of engaging with customers especially as the latter are younger and more tech-savvy than years before.
Even better, the explosion in use of mobile technologies over the last decade has seen traditional institutions like those that handle money (banks) register more transactions through mobile devices, quickly eclipsing traditional means of transacting over the counter and further complementing the successful implementation of the more accessible agency-based transacting, pioneered by mobile money service M-Pesa.
With smartphone use and adoption on the rise in the country where, according to the industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya, 40 million Kenyans access the internet every month and mostly from mobile devices, it is apps that are the first point of contact with the outside world social-wise and for other things like entertainment, banking etc.
KCB Bank is the latest institution to avail access to its services through a social media platform.
In a statement, the bank notes that it has deployed a “Digital Customer Service platform” designed by San Francisco-based Sparkcentral.
The platform is targeted at enhancing the bank’s customer service platforms through integration with WhatsApp Business. This means that the bank’s customers will now be able to reach out to customer service representatives via WhatsApp and get serviced just as they have been using other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and calls.
Besides WhatsApp, the new platform also eases up communication with customers through Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, 2-way messaging via SMS and live chatting on the bank’s website.
According to mobile analytics company App Annie, as quoted in a report released early this year by Nairobi-based digital consultancy Nendo, WhatsApp was the number 1 social media application in the country last year.
A report released recently by the United States International University’s Social Media Lab (SIMElab) notes that the Facebook-owned app remains the most used social media app in the country with a penetration rate of 88.6% among internet users, a hair more than Facebook’s 88.5%.
What makes the 2 apps unique, unlike other social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat etc, is that they are used by both those in urban areas as well as those in rural areas and have wide appeal across all demographics.
As such, it is not surprising that service industry players like financial institutions are embracing such apps in order to reach their customers.
Last year, Safaricom rolled out Zuri, its chatbot that assists customers on Facebook Messenger and Telegram while Equity Bank allows its customers to send money via WhatsApp.