Impact of Social Media in Improving the Customer Services Department:RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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Impact of Social Media in Improving the Customer Services Department


3.1 Introduction

            Clear organization of information facilitates logical evaluation and analysis of data leading to accurate findings. This chapter provides the research style and design used in the study to establish the results to the study which seeks to evaluate the utilization of the social media (twitter) and its impacts in Ooredoo Company in Qatar. Saunders et al (2011) indicates that a research should have a comprehensive and an all inclusive design which accommodates all aspects of the research and is able to bring out the desired results for the study based on the aims and objectives. This chapter will describe the study’s approach and design, the setting of the research, the population and sample of the study, the applicable sampling technique, the methods of data collection, tools and procedures, research ethical consideration and data analysis. This approach will enable the research to achieve the objectives of the study.

3.2 Research Approach and Design

Baruch & Holtom (2008) defines research design and approach as the initial plan that details the methods and procedures for amassing and analyzing the necessary data for the study. The author further indicates that a research design is a template used in conducting a study which comprises of an explanation of the approach of the study, the setting of the study, sampling technique and size, as well as the tools and methods of gathering information and analysis mainly aimed at answering the study’s research questions or testing the hypothesis of the research. Kelle & Erzberger (1999) defines research design as an outline of how the research will collect and analyze relevant data for the study in relation to the research questions and hypothesis. In this study, the developed research design enhances the determination of the impact of the social media on the quality of customer service department in Ooredoo Company in Qatar.

The research was conducted using the quantitative approach. Since the research seeks to address the impact of social media in improving customer service department, there was need for the study to use post positivist claims in the development of knowledge. The quantitative approach of study emerged as the best method for the research to prove the authenticity of the results and findings. The quantitative approach enables a research to shift external factors from the study to achieve real and unbiased results. This hence prompted the study to use quantitative approach, where the study was able to utilize the causes and effects manner of thinking and gathering of relevant information through questionnaires.

According to Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004) researchers need to isolate themselves from the study in order to enhance the objectivity and authenticity of the study. This hence prompted the study to use deductive reasoning approach. Goel (2007) indicates that deductive reasoning approach enables the researcher to establish what is really happening in the area of study and facilitates collection of data using inferential and descriptive modus operandi. Since this research aimed at establishing the impact of social media in consumer services, deductive reasoning was necessary for the research to draw statistical patterns social media use in the study organizations. This approach enabled the research to manipulate the collected information and to identify feasible relations among variables in use of social media in improving the efficiency of customer service department. Additionally, the area of the study resulted to general statistical patterns which are best suited for deductive reasoning approach for statistical inference.

3.3 Rationale on the Study

            The study chose to use the quantitative approach for the study because it is more elaborate than qualitative method based on the study area and perfectly fits to the design of this research. Quantitative research method enabled the research to generalise findings through inferential statistics. Since the research aims at analysing the effects of social media in develop the customers’ service departments, quantitative approach was suitable for enabling investigation of relationships among different variables. Qualitative research may not enable the study to comprehensively address the research problem since it may not allow for investigation of the relationships between variables. The study is social in nature hence chose to use the survey method due to its practical nature and its ability to collect real time information. The study is really interested in providing the most current and appropriate remedy for the research problem. The results obtained from survey data can effortlessly be quantified into statistical data by the research associate or statistical software (Helmerhorst et al, 2012). This hence prompted the research to utilize this method due its efficiency in data collection and analysis.

3.4 Research Setting

            Arnold et al (2005) defines the research setting as the cultural, corporeal, and social set up in which a researcher carries out the study. The author further indicates that in quantitative research as well as the post positivist and experiment studies, the researcher focuses on situated actions that guide him or her to the context of the study.  This research takes form of an ethnography study where the researcher becomes engrossed with community they are studying. The study was conducted in Qatar and was specifically directed at the customers of Ooredoo Company. The company operates in the telecommunication industry in Qatar and was best suited for the study due to a wide customer base and constant use of social media while communicating to the customers. The company also engage in management of social media while controlling what information can be accessed through social media. The study was conducted on the customers of the company who are dispersed across various provinces in Qatar where of information that is relevant for the study was collected.

3.5 Study Population and Sample

            The target population of the study was the residents in the state of Qatar but the study narrowed down to customers of Oooredoo Company in the country. The study population included 400 participants who were identified using sampling procedures from Ooredoo Company customers’ records. The selected sample size of 400 research participants was identified using the Yamane’s formula N/ (1+N (e) 2) (Yamane 1967). The research used a probability sampling method that assumed a confidence level of 95% in which a representative sample was selected with each sample having an equal chance of being selected and the selection process being unbiased (Özdemir, Louis & Topbaş, 2011). In order to find out on the impacts of social media on enhancing the department of customer services in Qatar there was eminent need for the study to identify participants who are directly connected to the topic. The information about the population of the study was hence obtained from Ooredoo Company’s Customer Service department prior to sampling procedures and identification of the actual research contributors. There was eminent need for creation of a sampling frame for the study in order to identify the most appropriate participants of the study. According to Chao et al (2012), a sampling frame comprises of an inventory of all members of a population which the researcher wish to conduct the study on.

3.6 Sampling technique used

The study used stratified sampling technique which involved classification of the population into different strata. The techniques divide the study population into various groups then the ultimate subject of the study proportionally from diverse strata (Smith et al, 2011). The sample was divided in such a way that elements from all subgroups were obtained using a general formula with (size of population) divided in (subpopulations) elements. The strata are disjoint and verify that N1 + N2 + ….. + Nk = N. In order to get a sample of elements of the original population, a sample size of ni was selected since n+ n2 +…. + nk = n. The study decided to use stratified sampling method since it is easy to access more accurate information regarding the study subject variables in the sub-populations. Through this sampling method it is easier for the study to raise the accuracy of the estimators of the study population variables (Nasir & Tahir, 2012). Additionally, the study ensured that the strata were not overlapping to avoid some individuals having a higher opportunity of being selected than the others which would probably lead to bias. This would also contradict the technique a probability method of sampling.

3.7 Data Collection method, instruments, and procedures

The data was collected using a survey approach based on the social aspect of the research and the need to assess trends and views about the study topic. Since the study focuses on colleting analysing information about views of a grouping people from the target population, it was necessary to adopt the survey technique as the primary mode of data collection. The survey questionnaires were designed in the light of the study topic and the problem statement and targeted answers that would assess social media impact in customer service. Goodman, Cryder & Cheema (2013) in their study indicated that questionnaires are the most efficient method of data collection in a survey. Questionnaires are quick, cost effective and effective means of data collection where data is being collected from a relatively large population. In this study, this method was used due to presence of a large population where administration of questionnaires proved to be less taxing. Additionally, it created an interactive session with the customers hence giving the research a better chance to assess the perceptions of the customers of Ooredoo Company in the use of social media in customer service unit.

Major data collection instruments for the study were closed survey questionnaires. The questionnaires contained a set of questions which were presented to the research participants and assisted in collection of nominal information. This instrument allowed for collection of quantifiable data and gave the study an opportunity for data ordination. This instrument also enabled the study to use rating scale to determine the strength of customers’ perceptions in the utilization of social media in customer service as well as their emotional perception of the social media strategy in customer service delivery.

The survey questions were circulated to the customers of Ooredoo Company through twitter. This was identified as the most efficient data collection procedure since all research participants had twitter handles and have ready twitter access through smartphones. The questions were twitted to participants and they were required to respond to each one of them through the same platform. Since the questions were dispatched through an online platform, the mode allowed the respondents to answer at their own convenience. This was identified as a less inconveniencing strategy for the employees due to structural constrains such as time.

3.7.1 Pretesting questionnaires

            Wilson (2011) indicates that it is necessary precaution for every study to ensure that all types of errors connected to the study survey are minimized and assists in improving the data quality. Recently, researchers have come up with superior method of ensuring high quality and reliable data hence increased dependence of questionnaire pretesting in survey researches (Mohtadi et al, 2012). Pretesting of the questionnaires was done on a sample of 10 respondents after which the respondents were subjected to a sequence of questions concerning the overall survey as well as the method of collecting data used in the study. This debriefing session helped to identify ambiguity in the structure of some questions which would have led to misunderstanding of the question hence attracting the wrong answers. The procedure of managing the survey through twitter proved to be of high convenience to the research participants. The Ooredoo Company customers involved in the study showed high admiration for the data collection procedure since it allowed them to respond to questions during their free time at the convenience of their smartphones. This was marked as the major strength of the data collection method procedure.

3.8 Ethical considerations

            Adherence to ethical standards in research enhances the aims of the study such as maximizing knowledge, avoiding bias while maximizing truth. It is important that the researcher avoid data fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation of research information but in turn promote valid information while avoiding error. Additionally, research and especially surveys are collaborative in nature and accommodates people of diverse backgrounds. In this case, ethical considerations uphold values that are necessary for mutual work such as accountability, common trust among people, trust and fairness among others (Gay, Mills & Airasian, 2011). In this research, ethical norms were fully adhered to where the study took a moral obligation in all the activities carried out. Confidentially is among the most crucial moral standards that the study adhered to. This is where the study maintained anonymity of all contributors and any personal information obtained by the study from participants was not disclosed whatsoever. The research was also conducted with utmost level of integrity where all material facts were disclosed to the study participants before participation consent.

According to Bryman (2012), there is need for the researcher to prepare consent form in which the study participants will express their acceptance to participate in the research. In this regard, the study comprised of both consent form and a participation sheet. These documents contained all relevant information about the research inclusive of the research purpose and objectives. These documents also explained to the participants how the information that they provide will be treated as well as how such data was used during and after the research. All research partakers were required to read and comprehend these documents after which they were allowed to sign. However the consent forms provided that no action would be taken on any person if they wished to withdraw from taking part in the study.

  1. 9 Data analysis

            The study ensured credibility and authenticity of the collected data before it was subjected to further categorization. This was done to ensure that that the output data after the analysis is reliable for decision making (Rubin & Babbie, 2013). Data was effectively edited and coded to ensure accuracy of the results. To avoid bias in data analysis, the study used different data measurement constructs. A single data measure may not be adequate and may lead to unsatisfactory and suspicious results (Zikmund et al, 2012). All the data collected was moved to SPSS for statistical analysis where various parametric and non-parametric experiments were conducted. The research used multiple regression analysis, t-tests as well as factor analysis to quantify and evaluate data. The SPSS facilitated in classification of information collected from questionnaires.

3.10 Conclusion  

It is important that a researcher undertake a study method that is most appropriate for the study in order to achieve the objectives (Bryman, 2012). The style and design of the study enabled the research to identify all the issues pertaining impacts of social media and its significance in improving the customers service department. Carrying out the study on Ooredoo Company enabled the study to have wide relevant information base since the company have got extensive number of customers and used social media as major communication tool. The research design and the methods of data collection ensured that authentic data was gathered for inference.

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