Merial Animal Health
Merial is a world-leading animal pharmaceutical manufacturer with a global market share of more than 14 percent. Merial provides a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals. Merial sells to the farming and domestic animal sectors through distributors and a field sales force, supported by a contact centre based Customer Support service.
In 1997 an influx of generic competitor products threatened Merial’s market share in the farming sector and led them to examine their service and relationships with distributors and end users – the livestock farmer. Aware that Merial’s greatest asset was its ‘gold standard’ brands, the company sought to augment this strength against price predatory competition through enhanced customer service and support.
The secret lay in the complex relationship between Merial, distributors and farmers. In a hitherto unprecedented action, EWA was commissioned by Merial to contact farmers through a pro-active telemarketing campaign to help promote the sales of a product under competitive threat. The success of this activity gave Merial a foretaste of what could be achieved through the power of integrated communications.
By generating leads through a special offer involving the coordinated activity of the Merial field force and local distributors, the results were phenomenal. This was proof positive that direct dialogue with farmers could work and could be a potent force for sales when allied to local and field activity – the partnership concept was established.
The Merial Customer Support Centre (Merial CSC) was rapidly instituted. EWA brought its know how and experience to create a compact, dedicated contact centre to conduct and tie together communications and marketing actions between Merial marketing and field-based staff, distributors and end-users. After an initial phase, the CSC brief was widened to include domestic animal products under the Companion Group banner.
The CSC, which evolved into a largely responsive service, was extended in 2011 to include a Regional Telephone Coordination (RTC) team to add a pro-active, outbound aspect to Merial customer communications. The team, responsible for creating product awareness and initiating and following up leads, has added a new dimension to the CSC concept by complementing DM campaign actions and response handling - creating a comprehensive and effective CRM programme.
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