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‘Kenyan banks fail to engage customers online’

Kenya , 27 Feb 2014

‘Kenyan banks fail to engage customers online’

Most Kenyan banks are failing to engage with customers online.

This is according to a survey conducted by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), which has revealed that less than half of all banks in the country are not engaging with their customers on social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

According to the survey conducted with 500 respondents countrywide, KBA said that only 19 out of the 43 commercial banks in the East African Nation engage customers online.

This is despite the fact that Kenya is one of Africa’s leading nations in terms of internet penetration and online activity. Statistics from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) say that there are 19.1 million internet users in the East African economic powerhouse.

Announcing the survey findings, KBA’s chief executive officer Habil Olaka said, “In the banking industry we see social media as an integral communication conduit to engage customers who are increasingly mobile and have an affinity for easily accessible internet-based information.”

Olaka said that it is time banks rethink strategies to include online customer engagement as an alternative mode of communication, apart from the usual general banking updates and marketing of products.

But what exactly is holding back Kenyan banks from customer engagement online?

Speaking to ITWeb Africa, Michael Korir, a former banker and now portfolio manager at investment firm Baobab Capital, said, “Banks, and not just Kenyan banks, have a way of lagging behind when it comes to adoption of new technology, and we cannot blame them for that.”

“These are institutions that deal with money, and to them, information security and customer privacy is number one on the list, something that may explain their reluctance to adopt social media as an official communication channel,” Korir told ITWeb Africa.

“We saw them drag their feet when it came to adoption of mobile money, but when they realised they could soon be thrown out of business, they embraced the idea that led to the birth of mobile banking, and as you can see, it is working perfectly,” Korir added.

Korir said that it is only a matter of time before banks realise the significance of social media in customer engagement.

“They (banks) have a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, studying the market as thoroughly as they can, before taking the dive,” said Korir.

“I can assure you, once one of them adopts social media and it starts working to their advantage, the rest will also dive in to offer Twitter and Facebook communication as an official channel,” he added.

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