Bell launches loyalty offer

After watching about 750,000 of its 10 million-odd customers in Ontario and Quebec defect to rival carriers, Bell Canada has launched a saving and loyalty program aimed at winning them back.The program, called Real Plus, is also intended to give phone...

After watching about 750,000 of its 10 million-odd customers in Ontario and Quebec defect to rival carriers, Bell Canada has launched a saving and loyalty program aimed at winning them back.

The program, called Real Plus, is also intended to give phone subscribers still with Bell a good reason to remain there despite the introduction of competition in the long-distance phone market.

Real Plus offers savings to Bell long-distance customers in three ways:

- They receive a 20% discount on the three numbers they spend the most on each month in Canada and the u.s.

- They receive a 15% discount on all other calls, anywhere and anytime

- Additional savings of up to 15% can be accumulated as Air Miles travel miles or GM Card credit card savings.

To support the program, which was launched Sept. 27, Bell is revving up its recently opened direct marketing telemarketing facility in Toronto.

Telemarketing facility

The centre employs 320 full- and part-time staff handling inbound and outbound calls.

Another 80 employees in London, Ont. receive inbound calls only.

Bell customers who are signed on to the company’s Tele-Plus savings program, will automatically be switched to the new plan, but people not signed on to Tele-Plus will be contacted directly by Bell’s telemarketers.

As well, customers seeking more information about the plan are being informed, through advertising, to call the telemarking centre for a demonstration of how Real Plus would apply to their own phone bills.

As with many long-distance savings programs, Real Plus is geared to frequent users in that customers must spend a minimum of $15 monthly to qualify.

Half of Bell’s customers spend enough on long distance to qualify for Real Plus, says Bruce Barr, vice-president, communications, Bell Ontario.

Tele-Plus, which is being phased out to make way for Real Plus, was a universal savings program offering Bell customers a 15% discount on all calls, regardless of how much was spent.

Barr dismisses concerns over the fact Bell’s less-frequent long-distance callers have been left out of the program, and, in fact, will help subsidize the Real Plus by paying higher rates.

Barr argues frequent-user loyalty programs are commonplace marketing tools, adding ‘in a marketplace battle, you want to put a range of products and services in front of the consumer that allows them to choose.’