A few months back I met Gladys Oyamo. At that point Gladys had been working as Service Center Manager for M-KOPA in Kisumu’s busy store and service center for just one month. When I asked how customers react to the product Gladys told me; “The main feedback I get back from customers in the rural areas is that they are very happy, and the main reason they’re so happy is because if anything doesn’t work, you can return it to the shop. We check them and if we can fix, we fix, and if we can replace, we replace. The fact that we have a three-year warranty also makes customers very happy. Having that one-to-one interaction, you can feel their joy. The main reason I joined M-KOPA was for that customer interaction. I used to sell insurance! The personal touch is the best part”.
Before joining M-KOPA, Gladys knew the company because she’d bought an M-KOPA 400 for her parents. “I bought it as a present for my mum. At that time, they had no electricity. She was very happy as, before then, they didn’t have a television, only a radio. My dad was very happy; he could sit at home and watch television for the first time! Also, my mum was happy because when cooking you don’t have to go into the kitchen holding your koroboyi” (tin lamp filled with kerosene).
So, what does Gladys think of the kerosene lamp? “The main reason this product is working so well is that when we go to the field we tell them ‘we’re here for ‘Operation Koroboyi Out!’ We don’t want any more koroboyis. When you go out into the kitchen, which is usually outside of the house, and you’re carrying your koroboyi – you can struggle with light and if there’s wind, it’s off! There’s a portable torch as part of the system which is very good”
I asked Gladys about the penetration rate of products here in Kisumu. “It’s harder to sell here in the city center. The reason we targeted this place today (a large supermarket) for the promotion is because of the Easter holidays. Most of the people are going back home, to see mum and dad, so as a present they buy for them a home system. Or maybe they are going home for a week or so and they don’t have any electricity, so that is why we targeted this place this Easter. We normally do demos like this in rural areas. We call them ‘Market Storms’, it’s like a storm! You go to the markets and set up something like this (demonstration, music, leaflets, lots of sales representatives to answer questions). Especially in the rural areas it really works well because people tend to be very excited, they ask a lot of questions. In the rural setting, they really get it. I can say it’s an easy product to sell.”
Gladys has aspirations within M-KOPA. “The reason I love M-KOPA, as far as career is concerned, they have very nice prospects for growth, it’s a company where you can grow.”