We’ve always been interested in what our consumers have to say about us. That’s why we set up a rapid-response consumer interaction centre at our London base. Here, we take you behind the scenes.

At first glance, it looks just like a regular London office. There are groups of busy people plugged into laptops, shouldering phones and tapping away on keyboards. But, scratch the surface, and you’ll see that what the Coca-Cola GB consumer interaction team is doing is very far from regular indeed.

These dedicated experts are beavering away to give our consumers the best experience humanly possible when communicating with Coca-Cola. They’re chatting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, they’re taking calls, they’re replying to letters and emails. 

"Our consumer interaction team is expected to create a GIF in 20 minutes and get it approved internally in less than an hour."

There are 20 or so men and women at their desks. They’re all making connections with our consumers – answering their questions, listening to their views, gathering insights, sharing content with them. No query is too small, no conversation too trivial.

And the consumer interaction team doesn’t end here. Outside of the office, we have a virtual team ready to live-tweet from a Coca-Cola sponsored film premiere or fashion show at the drop of a hat.

Rise of social media 

Social media has radically changed the way consumers expect to interact with brands. People are increasingly hopping on Twitter and Facebook to post complaints, compare levels of customer service or simply swap stories about a brand. They expect to get answers fast. 

According to a recent UK survey published by the Institute of Customer Service and quoted in The Guardian, there was an eight-fold increase in complaints made on social media in 2014. At the same time, 39% of those surveyed said they were not using social media only to complain. They were also using it to connect and comment.

"One search term – such as ‘Coke’ or ‘Fanta’ – can deliver 600 live social results over 24 hours."

Here at Coca-Cola GB, we’ve always listened to what our consumers have to say. That’s why we made the decision in 2014 to expand our customer service team to include a huge new social media capability. We still have people who are responsible for handling consumer queries which come in by phone or email (or even snail mail). But they’re just one part of our Consumer Interaction Centre, which also includes a social listening team as well as various content creators.

Now we are able to provide real-time responses to people looking for information about our drinks or campaigns across all media touch points. And our consumers are impressed!

Bendgate on twitter
Our response to #bendgate

Power of social listening

The social listening team sit at their screens scrolling through the results from their specialist search software. They’re looking to contact people, rather than waiting for them to get in touch. One search term – such as ‘Coke’ or ‘Fanta’ – can deliver 600 live social results over 24 hours. The guys check for relevant conversations on Facebook or Twitter, pull them up and jump in to either answer someone’s question, help with a query or like someone’s image.

The social team typically connects with about 45 people during the course of a day. They access the FAQs on our website to answer common questions about our drinks (‘We’re happy to reassure you, Mel. There’s no sugar in Diet Coke’), about our business (‘Actually, Raj, almost all of the drinks you can buy in GB are made here’) or about our history (‘Hi Sam, Dr John S Pemberton invented Coca Cola on 8th May 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia). 

Coca-Cola Consumer Interaction Centre Facebook
We always aim to please on social media

The team is there to make sure anyone who has a question about one of our drinks is able to speak to an expert immediately and get the right details. The team also responds to queries about ad campaigns, sponsored events, fund-raising and logo usage.

The team remembers that one of the most touching requests that came in was from a great-grandmother who wanted a Coke bottle engraved with her name. She was making a time capsule to bury in the back-garden for her family to find. 

At other times, things are much more straightforward. Coke super-fans, for example, love sharing pictures of their memorabilia collections on social media. And we love it too.

Daily news conference

Every morning, the social team meets at the breakfast table in the middle of the office, next to the fridge. Over coffee and croissants, they have a 15 minute chat about the most relevant stories of the day – trending topics, popular Coca-Cola content, viral moments. Then they draw up a content production plan.

Classic viral moments

The combined efforts of the consumer interaction team enable Coca-Cola to be involved in trending or relevant social conversations while they’re still fresh in people’s minds. 

For example, we were able to share our own take on #bendgate. (For those who don’t remember, ‘bendgate’ was a trending topic on several social media channels about a certain item bending when it shouldn’t have.) 

Our response to the birth of the most recent royal baby is another example of fun content created by our team. We shared it with our fans and made sure we were part of a huge moment for the country. 

Fast on our feet

It’s all a big change from the old days, just two years ago. Whereas our customer service team used to have 24 hours to respond to an email, now our consumer interaction team is expected to create a GIF in 20 minutes and get it approved internally in less than an hour. That’s progress for you.

Find out what makes Coca-Cola a Great British business.

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