Customers / Customer Stories

SAS Canada
280 King Street East
Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario, M5A 1K7
Media Contact: John Quinn, Marketing Communications Manager
Tel: (416) 307-4537


Printer-FriendlyPrinter-FriendlyPDF PDF

Customer Stories


ØresundsBroen drives traffic, profits with customer intelligence

A toll road that’s “customer-friendly?” If the idea sounds foreign, chances are it is. Unless, of course, you travel the ØresundsBroen between Denmark and Sweden. The five-mile expanse of bridge and tunnel not only connects the two countries, it connects its “customers” with destination ideas based on their unique likes and dislikes – the bridge’s way of driving the revenue-generating traffic it needs to support itself. Using SAS Customer Intelligence, the bridge’s marketing and customer-service teams share meaningful, relevant offers unique to each of the 180,000 travelers who own toll passes.

Within a few months of adopting its customer-focused business strategy, ØresundsBroen had already sold 35,000 new bridge passes, despite the financial crisis and heavy rain all summer. At the same time, ØresundsBroen reaped an efficiency gain of 20,000 hours saved, thanks to automated management reporting and more efficient work processes.

"Our goal is to gain more new customers and for the customers that already have a bridge pass to use the bridge more often," explains Karsten Längerich, Head of ØresundsBroen's Leisure Segment. "The 16 kilometers of asphalt spanning Øresund Sound is an expensive pleasure. That's why our rewards programs, with their attractive offerings on the other side of the sound, play an important role in our sales."

Shift to customer focus
ØresundsBroen connects Sweden and Denmark via twin-track rail and a four-lane divided stretch of route E20, which runs across northern Europe from Ireland to Russia.

Formerly an operations-based organization, ØresundsBroen has shifted to customer-focused business strategies. Each time the 180,000 "contract customers" travel the bridge, it scans their toll passes. Combining driving patterns with demographic and preference data from the rewards program, ØresundsBroen has a rich collection of data to gain insights on how to increase traffic.

"The number of passengers at our tollbooths increases measurably when we get it right, offering a low-cost golf vacation in southern Sweden to Danish golf aficionados or offering Swedish families a discount on a trip to Tivoli," Längerich says.

Relevance instead of hard sell
The strategy applies to communication channels like weekly e-mail newsletters, marketing campaigns, service e-mails and the customer-service center. For example, the content of its weekly e-mail newsletter is unique to the "DNA profile" of each of the 180,000 recipients.

SAS analyzes click rates and response statistics and automatically updates each DNA profile with fresh information.

"Open rates for our e-mails are at around 30 percent, which is high considering that we send them out every week," Längerich says. "We maintain a relentless focus, prioritizing relevance and inspiration over the hard sell in our communications, and we don't bombard the customer with spam. We know exactly what we're sending to our customers and when, across all of our departments."

"The relevant communication has to do very much with one hand knowing what the other hand is doing. Being customer-oriented is consequently an exercise in cooperation and knowledge-sharing as well, and SAS has powerful tools for that. Above and beyond supplying the organization with customer insight, this solution is creating a transparency in the flow of communication with our customers that we have not had before."

Data reaches across business
SAS provides the analytical platform, which collects data and converts it to knowledge about the customers. The solution integrates with all of the customer contact points and reaches into many other areas within the organization.

In addition to e-mail and campaign management, ØresundsBroen uses SAS for event-based communication, such as alerting customers before their credit cards expire. In the customer-service center, formerly a purely administrative department, agents can extend relevant offers to callers based on their DNA profiles, thus increasing sales from a new angle.

For the DNA profiles, ØresundsBroen rates customers on 15 areas of interest, like golf, classical music, spas, and gourmet food. The ratings are the basis for communication.

"The risk of failure is too great using classic customer segmentation," Längerich says. "We believe that the key to more sales is close customer relationships based on relevant, attractive communication. That's the reason we use DNA profiles."

SAS makes 'huge difference'
In addition to providing analytical CRM and campaign management, SAS analyzes customer satisfaction, business-cycle studies and surveys. And ØresundsBroen uses SAS for financial reporting and budgeting as well as for performance assessments.

"The plan is for all customer communication to occur within SAS," says Längerich. "We are currently creating a lifecycle for each customer, which will guide our communication with them throughout the year and throughout the course of the entire customer relationship. All the data are transferred into SAS, which will ultimately contain a panoramic view of each customer."

"The business case for the SAS solution is that it will generate one additional half crossing per customer, and we believe that this is totally doable," Längerich adds. "SAS is making a huge difference on the strength of the e-mail newsletters alone. We used to send out identical e-mails to all our customers, and even with that sort of mass communication, we saw an increase in the traffic through our tollbooths. We don't yet have measurements documenting the impact of the individualized e-mails, since we've only been sending them out for four months, but we can see a clear increase in open frequencies and click rates, and thus greater interest in our offers."

Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Karsten Längerich
Head of Leisure Segment


Business Issue:
Personalize marketing campaigns to drive more traffic across the bridge.
35,000 new passes sold in a few months, 20,000 hours saved, 180,000 e-mail newsletters with individualized content per week,  increase in newsletter open rates, and an expectation that each customer will cross the bridge one additional half time.

"Above and beyond supplying the organization with customer insight, this solution is creating a transparency in the flow of communication with our customers that we have not had before."

Karsten Längerich

Head of Leisure Segment

Read more: