Coca-Cola opens Consumer Interaction Centre in Nairobi

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(L-R standing) Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed with Coca-Cola’s Kelvin Balogun and Nairobi Bottlers’ Patrick Pech at the newly launched Coca-Cola Consumer Interaction Centre, located at Nairobi Bottlers’ Ltd. in Embakasi
(L-R standing) Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed with Coca-Cola’s Kelvin Balogun and Nairobi Bottlers’ Patrick Pech at the newly launched Coca-Cola Consumer Interaction Centre, located at Nairobi Bottlers’ Ltd. in Embakasi

Yesterday Coca-Cola launched their consumer interaction centre in Embakasi. The Consumer Interaction Centre has been set up to handle consumer complaints, inquiries or feedback. It is located at the  Nairobi Bottlers Ltd in Embakasi. It is aimed at providing customers with a single point of feedback. The Centre will be manned by fully trained in-house staff.

The newly launched center is the first of its kind in Africa and is one of only four centers in the world. The others are in USA, Turkey and Japan.

We had a great dramatic presentation by Wholesome Entertainment about how the centre will work. The skit left us in stitches. There was a opportunistic retailer trying to make some dollars from Coca-Cola.

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Actors from Wholesome Entertainment got the audience laughing with the antics of a retailer who was trying to make “millions of dollars” from Coca-Cola by creating a scandal.

Nairobi Bottlers M.D. Patrick Pech talked about the centre being a picture of success for the Coca-Cola system. The centre will be shared by all the Coca-Cola bottlers in Kenya. Pech talked about it being a privilege for Nairobi Bottlers Ltd to host the centre.

Speaking at the launch, Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Business Unit President Kelvin Balogun said the company’s success in Kenya over the past 65 years was largely due to its good reputation built on the foundation of closer connections with its consumers, communities and stakeholders.

Kelvin Balogun talked about how communication has evolved over time with customers. “Consumers are now reporters, ”  said Balogun. Consumers use their mobile phones or devices can take pictures and spread viral messages. There is a challenge in not dealing with consumers which have far reaching consequences. According to him it is important to protect corporate image and brand equity by making sure consumers are communicated with in a timely manner.

“Like elsewhere in the world, our system in Kenya deals with various inquiries and concerns from a range of stakeholders. Our objective is to ensure that these concerns are addressed immediately and conclusively. This interaction Centre – as a single point of contact for our system in Kenya – will give us a sustainable, effective and practical solution to deal with issues our consumers have regardless of where they are enjoying our brands across the country,” said Balogun adding that by constantly listening to external voices, the company was bound to improve and continue to lead the Non Alcoholic Ready To Drink (NARTD) Beverage Category

He gave a quote by Muhtar Kent, the Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company which I googled.

Muhtar Kent “I’m often asked what worries me, what keeps me up at night, … And I’ll tell you: arrogance. Because any time anyone begins to think they’ve got it all figured out, that’s when they get wiped out…. – “ THE GUARDIAN, 07-Aug-13

According to Balogun, the centre will provide clear procedures to customers on how complaints are being investigated. There will be clear communications on the status of the complaints. This will be a shift in revolutionizing customer communication for the future. Over time consumers will be able to come in and interact with the centre in a more proactive way. The important thing is to make sure that experiences consumers have with the centre are positive and that they feel that they are kept in the know.

The facility incorporates engineering and software solutions from Salesforce.com – a highly rated Customer Relationship Management solutions provider.

“The launch of this Consumer Interaction Centre in the calendar of Jubilee anniversary is our message to our Kenyan consumers that their feedback truly matters to us. We will get closer to them and improve in areas of opportunity. We are committed to marketing high quality beverages as well as transparently sharing information about our portfolio of brands”, Balogun said.

Image 1 – (L-R) Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed, Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa President Kelvin Balogun, Nairobi Bottlers Ltd. Chairman Dr. Chris Kirubi and M.D. Patrick Pech during the unveiling of Coca-Cola’s Consumer Interaction Centre.
Image 1 – (L-R) Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed, Coca-Cola Central East and West Africa President Kelvin Balogun, Nairobi Bottlers Ltd. Chairman Dr. Chris Kirubi and M.D. Patrick Pech during the unveiling of Coca-Cola’s Consumer Interaction Centre.

Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed was the guest of honour. He talked about how he is happy that Coca-Cola supports and enhances women empowerment. He said that it is not something to be taken for granted that a multinational company has been in Kenya for 65 years. Not many multinationals have achieved that. He also said the Kenyan Government also did not take it for granted that Coca-Cola chose Kenya to be the headquarters of the Central, East and West Africa (CEWA) market. (This office is the headquarters for 39 countries on the continent.)

Adan said “this gives confidence to other multinationals that if Coca-Cola can do it then they can also invest in Kenya.” Coca-Cola has embanked on a journey of innovation to create jobs and opportunities for many young people. The government is trying to work with the private sector to try and make things easier to invest in Kenya.

The center will serve all Coca-Cola bottling plants in the country. Consumers can reach the Consumer Interaction Centre by calling 0727 093 444 or via email on [email protected]

The Coca-Cola leader reassured consumers that it was better to channel concerns directly to the company for quicker resolution instead of other more lengthy avenues.

“In many instances, well-meaning consumers may have found it difficult to effectively relay their concerns to us and therefore opted for other avenues such as reporting to media, police or regulatory bodies, but as the manufacturers and sellers of our products, responsibility rests with us and therefore this is the best place to first record the concern,” said Balogun, “adding however that consumers will always reserve the right to pursue other channels when dissatisfied with the handling of their cases.”

It is great the Coca-Cola is investing so much in terms of capital and human resources in Kenya. It shows that they believe in this market. My only concern is that they also need to engage consumers actively on social media especially on Twitter. They haven’t even tweeted even once.

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