Beyond Cheese and Chocolate: Learning from Customer Experience Best Practice in Switzerland*

Beyond Cheese and Chocolate: Learning from Customer Experience Best Practice in Switzerland*

This article was first published on – the Customer Experience Blog. It is the exclusive property of KPMG Nunwood, part of KPMG in the UK. It was re-published on Engage Customer.

Year after year, [KPMG Nunwood] analyse customer experiences around the globe and release customer experience best practice reports on both the United Kingdom and the United States, recent reports respectively entitled “Making Memories” and “Harnessing the Power of the Many”.

There is plenty of inspiration a business can harness to improve its customer experiences if they know where to look for it.

To kick 2017 off, let’s take inspiration from a place where inhabitants are among the happiest on Earth, a country recognised for many years as one of the best places to be born in: Switzerland.

Switzerland has been the birthplace of many innovations, including the computer mouse, Solar Impulse, the zip and one of the most impactful and disruptive innovations ever seen: the World Wide Web. With such a respectable list of innovations, this country certainly has what it takes to drive customer experience best practice forward.

Banks optimise their retail space

Over the years, banks and building societies have been closing several of their branches. The heavy operational costs involved is often the main reason for such decisions. A Swiss bank decided on a different approach which could be an insightful example of customer experience best practice. Aware of the increasingly digitalised world, but yet wanting to keep its prime High Street locations to service its customers, the bank decided to redesign a branch and share it with another business (Subway). This redesign has led to several benefits, such as the ability to retain prime retail locations and reduced operational costs. Such an approach would allow other banks and building societies to reach similar goals whilst containing the growing customer dissatisfaction that a shrinking branch network tends to create.

Catering to the frequent travellers

One of the key features of user and customer experience best practice is ensuring an interaction channel is as easy to use as possible. This principle is thoroughly understood by the Swiss Railway company. The Swiss Railway company has three names depending on the linguistic region you take your train from: CFF (French), SSB (German) or FFS (Italian). Already dealing efficiently with this multi-lingual challenge, it went a step beyond and in 2016 released an update to their app that makes travel booking even easier. Indeed, the new app allows customers to have the picture of their favourite and most used stations appear on the main screen. The customer can then press on the originating station and connect it to the destination with a single swipe. The application then automatically calculates the different trains that can be used to reach the destination, with times and prices (and booking only a few clicks away). So if you need to get to one of the many high-quality Geneva 5 Star Hotels from the station for example, then this app will tell you exactly what route to take. We are aware that similar services (in terms of functionality) are already available from other train networks, however, the CFF/SBB/FFS is performing at the next level, as the number of steps required is reduced to a minimum (and so is customer effort) and the approach is more aesthetically pleasing and intuitive. Using this set of pictures on the app screen allows a trip to be planned in less than 30 seconds by using a simple finger swipe, from one picture to the other – mimicking the journey to be taken. The near future will confirm whether this approach represents the next stage of customer experience best practice, as it reduces the number of steps required to book a trip to its bare minimum. These examples might not be fitting to your specific sector. However, following these examples along with those of redesigning your customer journey or catering for select segments in your customer base could provoke a lightbulb moment to help your brand improve customer experience best practice in 2017. And with a robust and effective execution, it could even land your brand a spot in one of our future customer experience excellence analyses.


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