In an interview with CustomerService.ae, Sayaf Kofahi – Consumer Conversation and Care Center Manager Nestlé speaks about enhancing quality of life by delivering the highest quality of products and services. He also highlights the extensive training for skills development of their staff and the function social media plays for their brand.
Q: What are some customer-centric features that make Nestlé stand out from other brands?
Sayaf: The world around us is changing fast with consumer expectations, competition and society evolving at an unprecedented pace. While our company is anticipating and adapting to these changes, two important dimensions do not change: our purpose and our values that have guided us for over 150 years.
At Nestlé, our purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. This is reflected in everything we do. Driven by purpose and guided by values, we put consumers at the heart of everything we do.
Engaging with consumers is no longer a choice; our consumers are available anywhere and anytime. And in order to delight them with our products and services, we ensure a deep knowledge and understanding of their preferences. One way that makes us unique and consumer centric, is evolving towards having a single unit that handles all conversations with our consumers offline and online.
At Nestlé Middle East, this unit is called “Consumer Conversation & Care Center” (CCCC). The CCCC team engages and connects with our consumers across different channels such as social media, phone calls and emails.
Q: How do you analyze changing customer preferences and how do you ensure these are incorporated within the company philosophy?
Sayaf: At Nestlé, consumer insight and social media listening is a core function. We are not only depending on traditional consumer research, we are embedding our digital and social media listening into our planning and communication strategy as well.
The same way consumers get to select their favorite brands, they also get to select their favorite way of getting in touch with our company and of engaging with the brand.
For example, we sometimes see some consumers requesting Nestlé to have WhatsApp available as their preferred contact channel, while others only wish to communicate through social media platforms such as Facebook. The challenge is to provide a unified experience across different channels.
To ensure this seamless experience, the digital team is equipped with latest technologies and systems. But regardless of how much you know your consumers and how much you engage with them, we always have to adapt our ways to changing consumer behavior, specifically regarding new media trends.
Q: Do customer expectations towards your brand differ from region to region and how do you ensure customer satisfaction?
Sayaf: Middle East is a diverse region with different traditions, values, and languages. With a heritage in the region that goes back to over 80 years, Nestlé has earned a high trust level by consumers in the Middle East. We value this trust and we are committed to deliver the highest quality of products and services, always putting the consumers at the heart of everything we do. With the triple burden of nutrition in the region, varying from over-nutrition, to under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, our key focus and expertise remains in enabling healthier and happier lives for individuals and families. As such, one of the ways the CCCC contributes to this is by having dedicated nutritionists to address nutritional inquiries of consumers and contribute to enhancing their nutrition knowledge.
Going back to our values rooted in respect, meeting local cultural expectations is non-negotiable for us. As an example, all our products in the Middle East are halal, and we ensure that the products we sell in the region have a winning taste by consumers over a global recipe or competition. Producing in our local factories in Dubai, allows us to cater to specific taste preferences and nutritional needs. Consequently, our communication and engaging brand experience remains locally relevant.
Q: What are your processes for measuring customer satisfaction and what feedback mechanisms are in place?
Sayaf: We look at consumer satisfaction as a journey from the time consumer picked our product from the shelf to the time consumer engaged or got in touch with the brand. Our doors are open for consumers across different touch points, from social media, to 24/7 call center, to brand and corporate websites.
To ensure consumer satisfaction, we address inquiries, perceptions, take every feedback and input seriously for the overall experience with our brands. Some of the measures we take are Net Promoter Score, response time and quality, and the consumer overall satisfaction survey.
Q: Can you share with us the importance of social media for your organization and what is your strategy for using it?
Sayaf: Nestlé’s vision for social media is linked to its purpose, which is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. This is a window for us to keep the communication channels with our consumers alive and live up to our purpose through our services as well.
Social media is a reality now and part of our daily lives. It enables two-way conversations that allow our brands to better understand our consumers and to better cater products and services to their needs.
Q: What sort of training programs do you have in place for your staff and do you have an in-house team or engage external trainers?
Sayaf: Similar to all other functions at Nestlé, trainings are a core part of people development. Those range from functional trainings such as product knowledge, CRM, community management on social; to behavioral trainings such as people and communication skills, coaching, leadership, internal and external networking, etc. Each employee gets to select with their management, the right trainings for them to drive high performance and career progression.
Q: How do you deal with customer complaints?
Sayaf: Quality and safety of our products and the health of our consumers is a non-negotiable priority at Nestlé. This goes beyond just our products to all our systems and services. As such, our fundamental way to ensure this, and continue to be the trusted nutrition, health and wellness company, is to handle all complaints with transparency, honesty and integrity. As the largest Food and Beverage Company in the world, Nestlé dedicates significant resources to collecting and acting on consumers’ comments and questions.
To ensure the quality and safety of every product, we have a Quality Management System used globally to guarantee food safety and compliance with quality standards. Our internal Quality Management System is audited and verified by independent certification bodies to prove conformity to internal standards, ISO norms, laws and regulatory requirements.
Q: Can you share with us some corporate social responsibility initiatives taken by Nestlé?
Sayaf: At Nestlé, we believe in Creating Shared Value (CSV) as the fundamental way we do business; and how we bring our purpose to life. CSV is an approach that ensures organizations create economic and social value simultaneously.
We believe that for our business to be successful in the long term, we must create value not only for our company, but also for society at large. We know that we must safeguard the environment to ensure resources remain for sustainable manufacturing of Nestlé products in the future for example. We also know that healthy and prosperous communities make the best consumers. It’s why we know that striving so everyone benefits from everything Nestlé does, essentially benefits us as well.
This strategy is cascaded through our Creating Shared Value commitments that define the work we do, and how we contribute to society. You can find our progress and commitments 2020 on www.nestle-me.com/en/csv
Sayaf who is specialized in enhancing consumer experience is currently managing the call center of Nestlé across 13 countries in the Middle East. With over 10 years of experience in the customer service industry, he sees his job as an opportunity to enhance quality of life of Nestlé consumers.