Coronavirus: How Konga, E-Commerce Giant, Won the Admiration of Customers, Merchants, Other Stakeholders

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Konga Hailed for Corona-virus Management Strategies

Konga, Nigeria’s foremost e-commerce giant, has once again won the admiration of stakeholders in the e-commerce sector with its high-level emergency readiness, which came to the fore with the spread of the dreaded coronavirus outbreak to Nigeria. As a matter of fact, Konga had immediately activated a comprehensive preventive compliance system that drew widespread commendation. The development is striking, particularly considering the fact that businesses in the retail sector, especially those that involve physical contact such as e-commerce companies, have been hard hit since the coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, stakeholders have praised Konga for its timely and proactive measures in the face of the entry of the disease into Nigeria. In fact, the e-commerce giant had impressed with its swift reaction. Konga had not only instituted strict health checks for its staff including all customer-facing personnel such as delivery men, store staff and others; it had also gone beyond this to set up an internal feedback mechanism where all employees and management were regularly updated on latest developments on the coronavirus scourge, what to do when ill and preventive tips to keep them protected. In addition, a high-alert was activated for all staff who regularly came into contact with external customers and the public as they underwent special sessions and checks, solely as a preventive measure. Furthermore, alcohol-based sanitizers were immediately installed at all Konga offices, stores, and pick-up locations nationwide while infra-red thermometers were also deployed to screen staff and visitors to these locations. The measures have seen Konga receive high praise from several quarters. ‘‘I have been overwhelmed and impressed with the Konga response to the coronavirus entry into Nigeria,’’ disclosed Haruna Okogie. ‘‘I visited the office in Ogba for some inquiries and was among those subjected to temperature checks at the entry point. I was also advised to use the hand sanitizer installed. Even the security men at the gate showed a high level of awareness for the disease which I have not witnessed elsewhere, even among more learned members of the public. Konga deserves commendation for this.’’ Also, Sade Awe, a shopper, shared her experience at a Konga store in Ikorodu. ‘‘I was at the store to pick up an item I had ordered online. To my surprise, the attendant at the store had so much information about coronavirus which to me, showed the existence of some institutional knowledge structure.

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When I pressed, she disclosed that the company’s management shared regular updates on the disease as well as protective/preventive tips with all staff. In fact, one of the first things she did after greeting me warmly when I entered the store was to offer me some sanitizer for my hands. God bless Konga for their thoughtfulness.’’ Meanwhile, Oracle of the Nigerian ICT industry and former President, Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr. Chris Uwaje was also among those who lavished encomiums on Konga. ‘‘What Konga has done is very commendable.

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The measures are actually in two parts which a lot of people seem to underestimate. The first part, as it were, is the corporate responsibility to be able to secure customer satisfaction and assurance. But the most critical part is the secure strategies for the staff who deliver the products that the customer wants. ‘‘If the whole Konga network is down technology-wise because of coronavirus, the infrastructure will still be alive. But if the staff is not there, who will deliver the last-mile to the benefit of the customer. So, there has to be a special programme for the staff. This is essential to make sure that they are not affected and that secures the confidence of the customer for continuity.’’ Indeed, Nigerians had been thrown into a state of panic and anxiety when on Thursday, February 27, 2020; the Federal Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of the deadly coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria. Equally important, the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and just returned from Italy to Lagos via a stopover in Ogun State. Since this development came to light, the level of apprehension in business circles has reached fever-pitch. Also, the situation has been worsened by a number of false reports and myths about the disease which the Federal Ministry of Health working in concert with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Lagos State Government and State Ministry of Health have done their best to dispel. On Monday, March 9, 2020, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire confirmed the second case of coronavirus in Nigeria. Although the public posturing from the authorities is that the initial solitary case of the Italian was under control and that the patient was making a recovery from the virus; the confirmation of the second has heightened fears of a major outbreak of the disease in Nigeria.

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