adidas gain improved consumer care and marketing campaign support through EWA outsourcing partnership
adidas is a leading global brand, manufacturing products including sports equipment, clothing, accessories and cosmetics. adidas has been an EWA client for over 10 years and utilise almost every service from the EWA portfolio including; a dedicated customer contact centre with a bespoke contact management system, customer insight and CRM consultancy and digital marketing including campaign management.
In 2001, adidas wanted to review the way in which they handled their consumer enquiries. With a view to outsourcing their contact functions, they were referred to EWA by Hill & Knowlton because of proven expertise in customer care and a reputation for rapidly creating integrated contact facilities.
The adidas partnership has grown considerably over the last decade; however, early on in the process EWA implemented a strategy which would:
- Audit adidas’ communications in their entirety to gain a view of the wider picture and to identify the requirement for outsourced contact infrastructure.
- Create a dedicated customer care team to handle the diverse enquiries and complaints from adidas’ consumers and stakeholders.
- Utilise proven customer insight expertise to identify trends, profiles and marketing opportunities within the enquiry types, sources and channels.
- Ultimately deliver significant infrastructure savings associated with effective outsourcing of contact activities.
This initial strategy was well received by adidas senior personnel and since the initial implementation has flourished into an overarching strategy which incorporates CRM consultancy, email marketing and the logistical elements of multi-channel marketing campaigns.
Using the insight gained from the audit EWA was able to map all of the enquiry types which resulted in efficient resource allocation and management based upon proven statistics. As such, resources were assigned to the various communications channels and consumer facing contact points were set up including phone numbers, email and postal addresses.
Integral to the success of the adidas partnership would be the initial and ongoing sharing of knowledge between adidas and the dedicated contact team. At the outset each team member embarked upon full customer care training as well as more focussed, adidas product related tuition. In addition, EWA created specialists within the team to handle specific enquiries such as product questions and legal queries. This training process continues with adidas representatives providing regular master classes on new products, campaigns and initiatives.
One of the larger challenges within the partnership has been the number of stakeholders within adidas. This challenge has been effectively resolved through assigning a dedicated EWA Account Director and holding regular status meetings with the senior adidas project management team, who then cascade the information to all relevant internal stakeholders.
The successful resolution of this challenge was further demonstrated following the acquisition of Reebok and Rockport early in 2006. When as a result of the exceptional service provided to adidas, the decision was taken to consolidate all consumer enquiries into the EWA Customer Care team. Once again brand specialists were established within the team in order to manage the multitude of different consumer enquiries from Reebok and Rockport consumers.
An equally challenging aspect of the relationship has been the coordination of multiple contact points and comprehensive internal policies on communications. In order to find resolution, senior EWA staff members including directors attended adidas headquarters to better understand the brand guidelines and principles, whilst ensuring that the adidas SAP system was fully integrated with EWA’s contact management system.
The results of the partnership have been wide ranging. The creation of the Customer Care team has significantly improved consumer relations by delivering a coherent and consistent message across all communications channels. A contributing factor has been EWA’s recruitment process, which recruited ‘on brand’ individuals who would readily embrace the adidas culture and provide exceptional consumer care.
The EWA Customer Care team is considered an integral part of the adidas customer relations function. A major element in this success is the total integration of EWA services within the vast array of adidas, Reebok and Rockport departments including, PR, Marketing, Communications, Product Categories, Legal, Retail and external partners such as marketing agencies and licensee companies.
The success of the team is demonstrated by adidas’ internal acknowledgment of its vital contribution in creating and maintaining consumer brand loyalty.
EWA has provided unrivalled support over a 10 year period and has added value by:
- Giving adidas the freedom to focus on consumer relations strategy.
- Delivering first class customer care through a team which is highly trained, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
- Consistently demonstrating innovative customer insight processes, helping to shape future marketing activities across varied channels.
Even after a decade of working in partnership, EWA continues to evolve the scope of the services delivered to adidas and in the future adidas will be investigating the potential of utilising social media as a customer service channel.
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