Cover Story: Sprint Saves Green
"We had outbound survey calls scheduled in month two to get customer reaction," Swan says. "And, for those pilot customers, the month prior to mailing, we [sent a full-page insert with the bill about] 'how to use' and links for customer reference and education.' We stood up our support site, where customers could access information and see a video that also briefly showed them how to use the ecoEnvelopes."
In December 2011, the test came back positive. Customers had no "adverse" reactions, according to the feelers Swan had in customer service, collections and operations, among others. Swan says he was even monitoring remittance centers, Tension, DST Output and the U.S. Postal Service's experiences.
"We really went to exhaustive lengths to ensure that everyone knew this was coming and that our customers had the resources to be able to self-solve or get support through our care teams," Swan says.
Out of the Greenhouse
With the 300,000 members of the pilot program still receiving the new envelope, Sprint started phasing in the ecoEnvelope for the rest of its wireless subscribers using paper bills.
Swan says beginning in April, Sprint started mailing the ecoEnvelopes to customers in six or seven billing cycles each month, bringing the program to full production in June 2012.
Along the way, Sprint chose to participate in the USPS "Reply Rides Free Incentive Program" and the "2011 Mobile Barcode Promotion," adding "significantly" to that $500,000 a year in postage and paper reduction savings.
Jeff French, Tension's director of strategic accounts, says: "Sprint, ecoEnvelopes, Tension and DST Output share the philosophy that the monthly bill is more than a request for payment—it's a monthly appointment with a customer. Sprint knows it's an opportunity to cross-sell, upsell and reinforce its brand image. With a sophisticated approach, a transactional mailing can be turned into a direct mailing—and that's a real win for our customers. By using a two-way envelope, Sprint gets the end customer involved with its sustainability initiatives."