The evolving role of social media in customer relationship management (CRM)
AuthorsBello, Aminu Tukur
Subjectscustomer relationship management (CRM)
Virgin Atlantic Airlines
Subject Categories::N500 Marketing
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AbstractResearch Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the role played by social media channels in customer relationship management (CRM) systems in the airlines industry. Much of the focus in this research is given on the nature of conversations between airlines and their customers through social networking sites, and hence this study explores how airline companies can harness the power of social media as an integral part of their CRM system. Method: This is a qualitative research that has adopted exploratory case study design, where data was collected from social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) and researcher observations. Social media platforms of five airlines namely, Virgin Atlantic (VA), British Airways (BA), Emirates Airlines (EA), Easy Jet (EJ) and Spice Jet (SJ) were analysed during the Christmas and End of Year holidays for a period of three years in order to find out the kind of conversations between the airlines and their customers. Data was collected through netnography alongside participant observations, where the researcher travelled to various destinations across Europe and North America in which unstructured interviews with customers were conducted. The collected data was analysed using thematic content analysis and sentiment analysis. Theory: In building the research conceptual framework, various models including the technology acceptance model (TAM), technology task-fit theory (TTF) and Unified Theory of Acceptance and Usage of Technology (UTAUT) were incorporated into the study. Empirical Findings: About 125,808 posts/conversations were collected, while 2,515 were analysed. The airlines were categorised into two categories, where VA, BA, and EA were categorised as full-service airlines, while EJ and SJ were considered to be low-cost airlines. From the results obtained in this study, six categories of the nature of conversations that airlines had with their customers include; customer engagement, customer complaints, response to customer complaints, positive customer experiences, customer comments and customer inquiries/questions. Though the nature of the conversations were distributed evenly between full-service and low-cost airlines, the researcher observed that customer complaints were appearing more often in full-service airlines compared to low-cost airlines; which can be attributed to the high expectations that customers have on full-service airlines. Conclusion: Given the way social media provided real-time interaction between airlines and customers, it was concluded in this research that social networking sites provide effective platform through which airlines can use to improve customer relationship due to the speed of information sharing, as well as the interactivity which facilitates customer engagement.
CitationBello, A. T. (2021) 'The evolving role of social media in customer relationship management (CRM)'. Master of Philosophy thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy.
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