Adyen’s journey to scalable customer service excellence with Salesforce and BRITE

Adyen is a leading provider of payment automation and processing services, catering to the needs of enterprise-level companies and marketplaces worldwide. With operations across 27 offices and over 800 operations staff, Adyen was outgrowing its customer service tech setup in 2021. 

Transitioning a global operation from one system to another is no minor feat—and for Adyen, this challenge was further compounded by an imminent contract renewal, leaving a tight timeline of just over 18 months for the entire implementation process.

Read on to discover the challenges encountered, the solutions devised, and the outcomes achieved. This much in advance: with a team focused on the big picture while diligently addressing the finer details, a lot can be made possible.

Top Results at a Glance

  • Standardized case process: Enabling uniform quality in responses across Adyen’s teams, overcoming the limitations of Zendesk.
  • Global process implementation: A uniform way of working in operations was achieved internationally through Salesforce’s support of a global process.
  • Team collaboration efficiency: The new standardized handover process improved case handling between teams significantly.
  • Improved routing accuracy: Adyen’s case routing accuracy increased to 75%, streamlining the resolution process.

Adyen’s quest for alternatives: why Salesforce and BRITE?

Adyen’s decision to adopt Salesforce Service Cloud was the result of an extensive, six month long evaluation process, during which they carefully assessed various platforms against a set of criteria tailored to its specific needs. Their main pain points with the original setup were:

  1. Scalability: Adyen’s growth and the increasing complexity of its operations revealed limitations in Zendesk’s scalability. Despite its ease of setup, Zendesk lacked the necessary enterprise-level features that Adyen required.
  2. Lack of integration: The use of disparate systems led to a lack of integration between Adyen’s operational and commercial teams, creating information silos and inefficiencies.
  3. Need for standardization: Adyen sought to standardize processes across teams and geographies to ensure consistency and efficiency. Zendesk’s framework allowed for fragmented work methods, contrary to Adyen’s goal of a unified operational approach.

Salesforce stood out for its robust scalability, integration capabilities, and the potential to support Adyen’s global and complex operational requirements.

The decision to partner with BRITE for the implementation was influenced by BRITE’s existing relationship with Adyen’s Commercial team, who were already familiar with and appreciated BRITE’s work. Karst, Business Operations Team Lead at Adyen, put it like this: “Our sales team knew them, liked them, and BRITE already knew our way of working.“ This blend of prior positive engagement and specialized knowledge made BRITE the obvious choice for Adyen for the transition to Salesforce Service Cloud.

“How to eat an elephant”: Adyen’s phased approach to system implementation

So, how do you move a global service operation over from one system to another? The same way you do anything difficult: through good planning and small steps. Adyen wanted to avoid a “big bang” approach and therefore decided to transition in phases. For this, Karst and his team had previously determined a number of success criteria, including: 

  • Timely execution before contract renewal with Zendesk
  • High data quality 
  • Data integration across various platforms and systems 
  • Building a team to manage and operate the new system effectively
  • Standardization across teams and regions 

BRITE’s initial task was to assess Adyen’s needs and develop a tailored Salesforce implementation plan. This involved setting clear scope, timelines and identifying milestones. As Karst noted, BRITE brought the necessary knowledge in creating a scalable solution within Salesforce. 

“BRITE has a deep understanding of our business. Our lead consultant demonstrated a remarkable ability to grasp our needs, ensuring stakeholders felt heard without losing sight of our overarching goals. He consistently reminded us of the bigger picture and where Adyen aims to be, offering guidance and support to navigate our journey effectively.”

Karst, Business Operations Team Lead, Adyen

Breakdown of Adyen’s implementation journey

What both Adyen and BRITE considered most feasible was an implementation process in three waves:

  • Initial phases: This began with around 15 people in two different Operations groups based in Amsterdam. This allowed for close monitoring and rapid iteration based on feedback, ensuring any issues were promptly addressed.
  • Gradual expansion: After the initial success, the implementation expanded to include more significant but isolated use cases, covering about 10 to 15% of Adyen’s total volume. This step tested the system under more extensive operational conditions without fully committing all resources.
  • Final wave: The last phase involved rolling out the system to the remaining 80% of the user base. By this point, lessons learned and improvements from earlier phases were incorporated, ensuring a smoother transition for the vast majority of users.

Evolving through feedback and challenges

During the feedback collection phase, Adyen encountered some challenges. The most significant was that users initially found the new system cumbersome and unintuitive, which affected the rate of adoption. However, through persistent refinement and enhancements of the user interface and experience, informed by user feedback, these obstacles were progressively overcome.

Adyen was in the driver’s seat throughout the project, but the company relied on the contributions from BRITE, as Karst acknowledges:

“The quality of our partnership with BRITE is exceptionally high. They have always maintained a clear stance: ‘You’re Adyen; you make the final decisions. However, we will provide input, options and feedback, solicited or not, because that’s where we add value. […] This ethos led to several robust discussions, challenging yet always aimed at improving Adyen.”

Additionally, the project’s timeline was ambitious from the outset, occasionally appearing overly so.

“I remember a conversation with one of the consultants who outlined our project timeline. It was November, and we had set a goal to go live by September. The consultant expressed concerns about our ability to meet this deadline with the existing team. […] Impressively, Hans was able to quickly onboard the additional team members we needed to stay on schedule, all within a matter of weeks. I’m not sure how, but he materialized people.“


Ultimately, Adyen achieved its go-live date as planned, launching a solution that had been thoroughly vetted through three waves of implementation. Since then, the system has seen continuous enhancements, yielding great outcomes by the time of this report.

Ambitious goals: A look at the outcomes

Salesforce’s implementation at Adyen enabled several key operational improvements, each contributing to a more efficient, consistent, and scalable approach to handling cases and customer interactions.

The following most notable goals have been realized:

  1. Standardized case process ✅ The adoption of Salesforce allowed Adyen to standardize its case management process. Unlike Zendesk, which could not provide the desired level of predictability and consistency, Salesforce empowered Adyen to maintain uniform quality in responses across different teams. 
  1. Global process implementation ✅ Salesforce supported the implementation of a global process with tailored variations, accommodating necessary complexities that Zendesk’s configuration could not effectively manage. This global framework ensured a cohesive operational strategy across Adyen’s international offices.
  1. Team collaboration ✅ Salesforce and BRITE enabled Adyen to create a standardized handover process with detailed reasons for handover, improving the efficiency of case handling between teams. This process includes 9 different handover reasons, approved by senior leadership, to facilitate better understanding across teams.
  1. Routing and case handling ✅ With Salesforce, Adyen achieved a significant improvement in case routing accuracy, from less than a third to 75%, enhancing the efficiency of case assignments to the appropriate teams for resolution.
  2. Integration capabilities ✅ From the beginning, Salesforce stood out for its superior integration capabilities, enabling seamless connections with other systems and services.

Use case example: Inside Adyen’s complex merchant onboarding process

  1. Initial contact and documentation: Merchants can submit their necessary documents either through Salesforce directly or via another channel. These documents are then stored within Salesforce Service Cloud, making them easily accessible to all relevant teams.
  2. Review and verification: After collecting the documents, one team (Team A) checks them to ensure the merchant’s business is within an industry Adyen can support in their country, considering any legal restrictions. If everything checks out, the case is passed to another team within Salesforce Service Cloud for further processing.
  3. Identity verification: If there’s a problem with the documentation, like missing or unclear ID information, another team (Team B) contacts the merchant for clarification or additional documents. Once resolved, the case moves to the next phase.
  4. Risk assessment: Taking into account the merchant’s industry and location, a third team (Team C) evaluates the potential risk the merchant poses. For those deemed high-risk, Adyen might hold a certain amount of money as a deposit to safeguard its interests.
  5. Chargeback management: If a shopper disputes a charge, the merchant needs to prove the transaction was legitimate. This involves several teams working together to manage the dispute, from challenging the chargeback to possibly adjusting the merchant’s risk assessment and required deposit.

Throughout this entire onboarding and management process, Salesforce Service Cloud acts as a central repository for all communications and updates, ensuring that every team is on the same page, understands why cases are handed over, and knows what steps come next.

The successful and timely implementation of Salesforce Service Cloud, with the guidance and expertise of BRITE, has streamlined Adyen’s customer service operations and set a strong foundation for sustained growth and scalability.

Looking ahead, the future of the partnership involves a gradual phasing out of BRITE’s consultants, to be replaced by Adyen’s in-house team. BRITE’s goal isn’t just to deliver solutions but also to ensure their partners are well-equipped to sustain and build upon the implemented systems independently. And as Karst put it, the culture BRITE helped to introduce will be there to stay: 

“The most valuable contribution from BRITE was their seniority in organizing ways of working. Anyone can hit the bulls eye once. But consistent success requires the development of systems and a structured, standardized team. […] This collaboration has cultivated a unique culture within Adyen, setting our team apart in a positive way. We’ve seen the effectiveness of our communication and delivery methods, garnering appreciation across the board. And that’s something I want to maintain.”