Case Studies: Bell Canada

Bell Canada provides a range of communications services, including local and long-distance telephony, Internet access and high-speed data services to 12.6 million customers in Ontario and Quebec.

In an effort to make billing information more accessible to customers, Bell Canada decided to offer a service called Bill Viewing. Monthly email reminders, which would include a link to the information, would be sent to customers who had subscribed to the service. The monthly reminders could also serve as an effective marketing tool by providing links to special promotional offers and other incentives.

"One of the greatest things about LISTSERV and LSMTP is the configuration process. The language is so straightforward it is hard to go wrong. This saves valuable resource time and really makes L-Soft's solutions the natural choice for us."

Needing a solution that could manage the company's large database and deliver the monthly emails, Bell Canada turned to CGI, an IT consulting firm, for guidance. CGI was given the task of finding the technology capable of managing an endeavor of this magnitude.

Bell Canada needed a software solution that could scale as demand for the email reminder service increased. "Initially, 65,000 Bell Canada customers provided us with email addresses and granted us permission to send them monthly reminders," said Bill Attia, CGI Senior Consultant. "However, we knew that this number would increase as more customers subscribed."

Bell Canada uses 10 billing cycles per month, which means that full customer participation would require the company to send more than 1.2 million email reminders every three days. Faced with the potential of having to send a time-sensitive and demanding workload, Bell Canada required a solution that delivered mail quickly to avoid delays in billing. "The challenge was finding a solution that would have the capacity to do that," Attia said.

After thoroughly researching the marketplace, CGI advised Bell Canada to select L-Soft's LISTSERV® email list manager and LSMTP® email delivery application. Working together, Bell Canada's database, along with the LISTSERV and LSMTP tandem, perform "mail-merging," a function necessary for the creation of personalized email marketing campaigns. "No other solution was as dedicated to integrating databases with email list management and delivery software."

Bell Canada chose to license LISTSERV's high performance option (HPO) and LSMTP Unlimited. "HPO gives us the freedom to send unlimited emails quickly," Attia said. "Even if all 12.6 million of Bell Canada's customers subscribe to the monthly reminders, the software will easily handle it."

In the three years Bell Canada has offered Bill Viewing, the subscriber base has steadily risen and currently stands at 300,000. "We have received a lot of positive feedback from the service," Attia said. "Customers are actively looking for their reminders every month."

One particularly successful service that Bell Canada offered through the email reminders was eMove. The service targeted college students – a group that typically changes addresses every year. Students were encouraged to fill out a form linked from their monthly email reminder to transfer their telephone service. Those choosing to use the form experienced no service interruption. eMove has since been made available to all customers.

Bell Canada also uses its LISTSERV-powered lists to send its customers information about the events with which the company is involved. As sponsor of the 2000 Canadian Open Golf Tournament, Bell Canada used the monthly reminders to link customers to the tournament web site. For the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, customers received links to a Bell Canada web page that included updates on the Canadian Olympic Team. "This way, subscribers could stay informed on the home team's progress," Attia said.

An immeasurable advantage that Bell Canada derives from L-Soft solutions is the ability to personalize messages it sends to customers. Bell Canada integrates information from its database, including customers' names and titles, into the email reminders. "This makes it so much more personal for the customer," Attia said. "We have been able to develop a better relationship with customers because of that and have seen positive results."

"One of the greatest things about LISTSERV and LSMTP is the configuration process," Attia said. "The language is so straightforward it is hard to go wrong. This saves us valuable resource time and really makes L-Soft's solutions the natural choice for us."

Case study written in July 2001 with the assistance of Bill Attia, Senior Consultant, CGI.

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