British Gas is Britain’s leading domestic energy and home services provider with over 8 million energy customers. To meet the demands of an ever changing client base, it has several tariffs with tailored prices, discounts and terms to meet individual customer needs. British Gas is committed to advising customers of changes to their tariffs in writing 30 days prior to implementation. To meet these requirements, British Gas were evaluating the options open to them for mailing solutions. As well as being produced quickly, the mailing must convey the message clearly and efficiently to keep call centre traffic to a minimum. As it can contain rate and tariff information specific to the recipient, it must be produced securely. As the rate change is mandatory it must be cost effective and a tight budget is always set. If possible, additional information that is of interest to the recipient can be included. Last minute changes should be able to be incorporated with maximum flexibility and minimal additional cost. The mail piece should also maintain the strong British Gas brand. Finally, the pack must meet environmental credentials important to British Gas. Concerned that conventional mail packs were costly and time consuming, British Gas decided to ascertain other options for mailing which met these tight criteria.
After consultation with Go Inspire and a discussion regarding various format ideas and concepts, British Gas opted to use a mail pack produced on the inline web presses. This was to replicate the secure look and feel of a conventional mail pack and take advantage of the speed, efficiency and flexibility of inline printing. The inline web presses print from a blank reel of paper to a final finished personalised product and produce 800,000 copies in 24 hours giving the volume production required.
“We needed a format that could be produced within the regulatory time period but did not compromise security or quality,” said David Borlase, Print Services Manager. “Our preferred format was a letter in a conventional envelope however Go Inspire were able to produce an inline format which met our requirements that saved time and money.” This format consisted of a letter inside an outer envelope. “We wanted to make sure the mailing looked as much like a conventional mail pack as possible so we requested that the envelope flap was shaped like the trapezium flap on a normal envelope. Go Inspire were happy to do this. It was also important that our brand guidelines were met and we had sufficient space to explain the message clearly. We were able to use the full extent of the letter to do this and meet those guidelines.”
On the web inline presses, all areas can be personalised. This particular format allows for the personalisation of the outer envelope and of the inner letter. This gives the impression of a more personalised, more secure mailing. It also allows all areas of the pack to be fully personalised to incorporate all the variants of messaging required. Environmental requirements were also satisfied with the use of paper certified to PEFC standards, as well as being produced by a Carbon Neutral company.
The inline mail pack produced was able to keep costs down because of the efficiency of inline production. The full quantity of over 6 million was mailed within the regulatory time period according to the original schedule set. This was despite an unforeseen issue with the postal services supplier. As the product is printed and finished at the same time, the artwork could be changed to reflect the new postage provider with no need to destroy any pre-printed stock. British Gas call centre traffic did not exceed scheduled levels – reflecting the impressive clarity of the document and the success of the format. The pack was produced in a single operation on one site. This kept the carbon footprint to a minimum – no additional stock produced, no transport costs – and as the pack is entirely produced of paper the pack is fully recyclable.