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In a survey we conducted recently we discovered that Facebook is still a big deal in Zimbabwe no matter what this author thinks: I thought Facebook was dead. 87% of respondents said they visited Facebook everyday, 61% of them do so at least 10 times a day!
Of course this part of our ongoing survey is still biased in that it was only accessible to those who have more than just the WhatsApp bundle to access the internet. Still, 87% of those who have more internet than just WhatsApp access Facebook! I had to quickly check how Zim businesses were doing on these platforms.
Banks were of greater interest really because the buzzword these days is cash and when you think cash you think bank. How then are banks relating with Zimbabweans on their online habitat of choice: Facebook?
NMB is doing very well since launching their online presence a couple of weeks back. What they did well was to simultaneously activate their social media accounts with a robust feedback and customer support system that captures feedback from social platforms including Facebook.
What do I mean NMB is doing well? If you go to their page, Facebook tells you that if you drop them a message there they will typically respond instantly. The local bank that came second has a response time of ‘within minutes.’ Most are in the ‘within an hour’ and ‘in a few hours’ band. One actually says they respond within a few days…
Why does this matter? The modern consumer is a true king unlike in the day when the adage, ‘customer is king’ was coined. The modern customer has specific demands that have to be met in a specific manner and at a specific time: now! To be honest, businesses have no excuse to struggle at pleasing this king because the very thing that empowers the customer to make these crazy demands is the exact same tool that empowers business to deliver on these demands in real time: the internet.
What NMB gets is that the internet is no longer the internet if you do not do social media right. Social media cannot be done right if people are not responded to in real time. The cell phone has taken away the virtue of patience in all of us. When we reach out to anyone, we expect them to respond as soon as we hit the send button or as soon as we hear the ringing of their phone through the earpiece of our own gadget.
Added to this is the prominence of Facebook in the Zimbabwean ecosystem. I had several conversations following our survey and I discovered why I had been mistaken to think Facebook was dead. People, particularly the young do not post on Facebook anymore apparently but they DO visit Facebook frequently and regularly. Why? A young man told us, they don’t want to post because everyone is on Facebook including ‘old people and relatives’ so they don’t want to say things considered inappropriate in front of this audience.
They still religiously go on Facebook however, to catch up… What is that? They are using Facebook as a news source and as a formal voice for many things that interest them. If then there is a problem with the bank they will most likely go to Facebook and utilise the search field. Once they find their bank there they will fire their question fully expecting a response. If the response does not come quick enough they will start spraying on that Facebook newsfeed (we still call it a wall). We have seen this haven’t we?
The Zimbabwean reality of social media bundles also makes Facebook more important than the bank’s website actually. Hey banks, pay attention to this right here. Facebook now has tools you can use to enable your customers to experience excellent online support without the need to have more than the Facebook bundle. I don’t know what tool NMB is using to enable instant response time but can you ask them?
For the rest ‘of us’ who only have just the WhatsApp bundle, NMB does have support via WhatsApp. I don’t know yet how this actually works so I can’t comment on it but perhaps you can try it for yourself. You can follow NMB on Facebook here.