Seeing Green

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Taylor Made-Adidas Golf makes golf equipment and accessories sold through pro shops, sporting goods stores and other resellers. We have a Web site that is not commerce oriented, but provides product and tour information, and has other features to help customers stay close to our brand. Another major way we stay close to our customers is through email help. Initially, two employees provided that help using a Netscape Communicator client and answering frequently asked questions by cutting and pasting canned responses from Microsoft Word. But as the volume of emails grew, they became overwhelmed. The system didn't work in a lot of other ways as well. We weren't able to send out text email campaigns--especially in HTML. I had no way to determine if I had performance issues, because I had no monitoring tools. Were we consistently using proper greetings and closes? Were questions answered? What was the speed of our response? Was our tone respectful? We decided to look at various options to handle our inbound problem. Our sister company, Adidas, was using KANA response online, an ASP version of email response software. Adidas used consistent responses on greetings and farewells, and mangers had ways to track behaviors and performance. One of the cool tools is a real-time ticker on messages in queue; there are reports to measure productivity and monitor when people are in the system and working. Kana also has a tool called Connect Net to link our extensive consumer databases to our email promotions program. Our database is more than one million--from product registration cards, email, and promotions. In early 2002, when we began our launch, KANA was doing away with its ASP model. We came up with a plan to save corporate costs by hosting the Adidas KANA solution while launching our own. The solution itself has automated email response so that we were able to deal with a 300 percent overall growth in email responses while holding employee count steady--at a savings of about $200,000. Historically we have seen click-through rates of between 10 percent and 12 percent for emails sent out about new products. Now our targeted campaigns have 65 percent click-through rates. I can also keep an eye on all critical operational features using the real-time ticker. The best part is that the implementation was completed four weeks early and $10,000 under budget. Our future plans include a custom-fitting feature that customers can use to help purchase a new driver. Clients will come to our site and define their game. We, in turn, will offer options on a product based on the information we receive. We will then offer them an opportunity for an in-person fitting if they are within 30 miles of one of our 4,000 VIP custom fitters. The system will generate partially completed order forms, complete with our initial recommendations, to the retailer by email or fax. When the consumer goes to the reseller all the mundane questions are answered, so they don't start from scratch--it is a VIP experience. Two weeks after we send the initial information, we will email the consumer a survey about the experience and whether they purchased the product. We plan to use the information to determine which retailers are converting leads to sales and whether money invested in e-marketing shows up in actual sales.
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