schweizerischen bundesbahnen interview sbb oliver tamas
Magazine & Blog – Customer experience through relevant content

In the third interview on the relaunch of, Oliver Tamas, Head of Digital Content & Communities, talks about relevant content and the SBB community.

1. You are responsible for and you commissioned the relaunch of the website. What were your goals?
The last big relaunch took place six years ago. A lot of things happened in the digital world during that time. Our website seemed outmoded; it no longer met the technical requirements and it did not live up to the expectations of modern customers. The purpose of the relaunch was to implement a responsive website that was accessible and free of any barriers.


2. One of the goals for the website relaunch was to offer targeted added value to users. What specifically have you changed?
We approached it the way you approach spring cleaning. Over the years, the content has nearly doubled. This automatically led to trade-offs regarding user guidance and content architecture. With the new website, we have considerably simplified and standardised the structure, design and content. Now the website seems modern and tidy. The users should get to their content faster and easier via all possible devices.

The newly developed web shop for the purchase of tickets offers great added value. It is a place where we have seamlessly integrated a timetable with a ticket purchase. On the one hand, it ensures that customers do not buy tickets with incorrect via routes and, on the other hand, it enables a highly optimized purchasing process that saves our customers several unnecessary clicks. The functional and attractive entry to hundreds of offers for holiday and leisure is also new.

The user should get to his content faster and easier via all possible devices.

3. Relevance is crucial for outstanding customer experience. How do you get content that meets the needs of your customers?
We have gathered a lot of experience as to which content works best on which channel. Since 2014, we have been very actively using content marketing on all digital channels: on, on our blog at "SBB Stories", via our SBB Community, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. With our in-house content creation team, we are trying to create surprising and innovative content for those contact points.

Of course, after the successful relaunch and the implementation of our new web shop, the development continues, especially towards the "relevant content". With the SwissPass, we will implement a standardised login. Those are the prerequisites to make the first steps towards personalisation of The first functions will go live early 2018.

4. Communities at SBB. What does this mean specifically?
The SBB Community, as well as Facebook and Twitter are used primarily for digital dialogue with our customers. We receive between 4,000 and 5,000 customer reactions per month which are answered within no more than one hour by our Contact Centre. Our Twitter account @railservice is extremely popular. With the launch of our own lithium-based SBB Community, we are increasingly pursuing the “customers help customers” principle. We have more than 1 million train travellers each day, and they often know more about train travel than we do.

5. Building and maintaining a community is a big challenge for most companies. What is your experience with that?
We have been using Facebook and Twitter since 2012. Both channels have been doing very well. The number of fans and followers has been steadily growing over the last 5 years (we have 67,000 followers on Twitter, and 150,000 fans on FB). We make sure that we do not sell too many of our posts, meaning that we do not produce too much content. Our motto: Content has become a hard currency and it must be relevant.

With your own SBB Community, it is actually quite difficult to keep growing the number of members and especially to make the users active. We need 5 to 10 super users to keep the community alive. We also offer new forums for our innovations, such as the SBB Preview-App, Webshop-Preview, Travel Planner-App or the SwissPass-Login. This allows the community members to be actively involved in the development of the channels. During the relaunch of, we also created a preview version and let the community test it.

Content has become a hard currency and it must be relevant.

6. How many people care about the channels and the content in your company?
The team has around 20 members. They manage and develop the channels, create content and monitor the communities.

7. What do you like most about the new website?
I really like the holiday and leisure area. The purpose of that site is to inspire our customers to travel in Switzerland and Europe for leisure. That is why the content should appeal more to emotions; this requires big pictures, maps, stories and videos. The call-to-action with the next-best-click column is also important – this is an exciting innovation by our implementation partner, Unic.