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Coca-Cola Invigorates Contact Center


For more than 125 years, Coca-Cola has refreshed the world. When the soft drink maker decided to refresh its approach to contact center management, it turned to ICMI’s Professional Certification program.

“The main challenge was that Coke is not a contact center company,” explained Glenn Gemmill, VP of the Customer Care Center at Coca-Cola Refreshments. “They have great training on general management, but managing a call center and call center employees requires a specific skill set that wasn’t being taught in Coke’s internal training program.”

Initially, Gemmill and two others on the contact center leadership team became ICMI-Certified. “We did it for the value and information gained through the certification,” he said.  “We also wanted to increase our value to Coke and the contact center industry.”

The leadership team quickly came to appreciate the advantages that ICMI Professional Certification brings to a contact center. “Right away, we started using the terminology in our meetings, as well as the recommendations in our contact center strategy,” Gemmill said. “Because of this leadership shift, we then put five members of the operations management team through ICMI Professional Certification to strengthen the skill sets of the contact center team,” he said. “Certifying our operations management team has increased their understanding of the leadership team’s motivation. The buy-in is across the contact center because we’re all on the same page.”

Of course, the process doesn’t occur overnight. Fortunately, the Coca-Cola Company recognized its importance. “Coke was very supportive during the certification process and allowed flexibility in schedules to accommodate the time commitment,” Gemmill said. “We got together in study groups weekly to review course material and discuss topics. It was great because if one of us couldn’t make a class, we could listen to the recording of the class and also review a colleague’s notes and discuss with them any questions we had.”

The value of ICMI Professional Certification was clear even before the training was completed. “The biggest benefit that we started seeing during the first certification class and continue to see is the deeper and more robust understanding of contact center operations.” Gemmill said. “We have a holistic understanding now of how the contact center fits into Coke as an organization. The tangible things like selling up within Coke, managing call center budgets and understanding call load to accurately forecast schedules helped us optimize our contact center strategy.”

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David Levy is a freelance writer for ICMI.