„Kleine Schritte gehen, Ruckschritte akzeptieren, Gesamtsicht im Fokus behalten“: Catherine Loeffels Erfolgsrezept

Simple goal, very complex implementation

The Swiss Post has made its website more customer-oriented. While this sounds easy, it took Catherine Loeffel, the then Project Manager of WEPP (Post Office Portal Development) and 300 other employees four years of work.

What were the primary reasons for relaunching post.ch?

Catherine Loeffel: The Swiss Post had multiple customer platforms in the e-channel, so there was no uniform understanding of target groups. These diverse platforms required the use of many logins, which translated into suboptimal user experience for customers. Due to conceptual and technical barriers, it was impossible to have more transactions through these channels and to introduce targeted lead management.

The Post speaks of the second largest IT project that has ever been implemented. Why?

This project involved numerous departments from various management and business areas of the Swiss Post and activated a large amount of internal resources. The project was characterised not only by an IT focus, but also a heavy marketing focus. From business side, we had to answer relevant questions concerning the area of marketing and communication. From the technical side, IT and application managers on the part of both the Post and diverse Partner enterprises from the Post Portal and from the online services were included in the change process. In addition, the project had an impact on the organisation and processes, and hence was extremely demanding from the point of view of internal policy.

What were the project objectives?

The project was supposed to establish a conceptual and technical basis for targeted lead management. We wanted to control the differentiation of customer segments with the use of the login profile, which required the introduction of a uniform login. Another aim was to introduce a new content management system (CMS) that would serve as a framework for all online services, prevent redundant content and be able to reflect the topic of marketing automation.

Furthermore, we wanted to improve user experience. The structure of the old Post Portal greatly reflected the internal perspective. Our intention was to move customer needs more towards the centre of attention and to make the relevant content more accessible. Apart from that, the implementation of a good measurement system was supposed to enable appraising the customer journey and optimising it on an ongoing basis.

What is more, through easy access to information and online services, through cross- and up-selling with teaser management as well as later marketing automation, we wanted to draw more attention to lead generation via the online channel.

Catherine Loeffel (left) talks to Michèle Ritter, Assistant Manager in Private Customer Development, Post (Photo: Mara Truog)
Catherine Loeffel (left) talks to Michèle Ritter, Assistant Manager in Private Customer Development, Post (Photo: Mara Truog)
It was crucial to transform those concerned into active participants.

From the user’s point of view, visual changes are what stands out most. But what is actually hidden behind the relaunch?

Apart from visual and technical adjustments, other changes included redefining offer segmentation for business customers as well as arranging and rewriting more than 6,000 content pages in line with the new concept. Moreover, diverse new modules were introduced, such as contact, wizard and FAQ module. E-business and customer service were reorganised. In terms of processes, we created a strategic basis for CRM: thanks to the uniform login it will be possible in the future to bundle customer information in line with data protection laws.

One of the major requirements was the connection of over 80 online services of the Post. What does this mean exactly?

The goal was simple: the online services had to correspond to the same framework in order to standardise user guidance. Access to the login, to the information of post.ch, to the customer centre, to the specific help services and contact data for the respective online service had to always appear in the same place.
However, the implementation proved very complex. Various core systems and applications with different development bases had to cooperate in one overall system. At the same time, the task was to coordinate release cycles and to build interfaces that would entail as few side effects as possible. Moreover, plenty of application specialists and line managers had to be focused on one goal.

Customer centricity as the major success factor: how was this issue incorporated in post.ch?

The relevant target groups were determined using personas developed with the help of Marketing, Sales and Communication Departments. The existing studies and data were analysed and the data were verified in new studies. In the case of discussions concerning priorities or in the case of conflicts related to the targets, it was always possible to return to the definitions of personas in order to remain focused on the customer.

How did you manage to keep motivation high in a project lasting four years and involving more than 300 external and internal employees?

With a lot of energy and continuous focus on our goal. It was crucial to transform those concerned into active participants. To this end, each business area concerned, such as PostMail, PostLogistics, PostOffices and Sales, defined the so-called SPOCs (Single Point of Contacts). These were responsible for performing all project activities in the respective area and for representing their area in the project. Each area representative built their own project organisation within the respective business area in order to involve the relevant parties in the formulation of questions and to communicate project progress. Heavy management focus was also very helpful. The Project Committee (PAS) was composed of Communication, Marketing and Sales Managers, the PAS management acted as a member of the group’s management.

What is your personal highlight from the project?

I am happy that we managed to start such a project bottom-up and to execute the “one login” solution. Another highlight is the change of approach – away from the internal perspective towards the external perspective – and thereby the construction of a central unit that controls and coordinates the work in the e-channel. And, last but not least, I am proud of the smooth launch with detailed planning of all required activities.

Post.ch has been online since 30 May 2015. How do you evaluate the success of the relaunch?

I regard the relaunch as a great success. We received fantastic feedback both internally and externally. The new organisation works well together and uses the new possibilities. I am particularly happy about the already visible positive effects on the number of users. Customer reactions themselves range from very good to very negative. Transformations are always difficult but the negative comments were limited. Fortunately, the user experience, one of our core objectives, is rated positively.

What advice can you give to other enterprises?

Maintain strong management focus, involve personnel to a broad extent and prepare good plans. It is important to make small steps but keep the global image continuously in mind. Finally, do not shrink from steps back and do not let anything get you down.

Full dedication to the Swiss Post

Gabriela Eymann

«The passion, the commitment, the lifeblood of all participants as well as cooperative partnership with the Swiss Post were unique and enriching.»

Christian Hahnloser

«After two years of intensive exchange about consistency and technical challenges, the highlight for me was to experience the platform as an end user. Suddenly, consistency was provided and it felt good.»

Rosmarie Maurer-Wysseier

«The implementation of unconventional designs motivated us enormously. At the same time, it was an exciting challenge to be , and to maintain

Christoph Widauer

«The major challenges were the size of the project and the duration of the project. I was delighted all the more that the Swiss Post had the courage to give priority to a progressive approach to design over the conventional way.»

Martin Eisenring

«The entire team worked on the new website in such a focused and customer-oriented manner that in the course of the project Die Post repeatedly expressed its appreciation - a more beautiful compliment cannot exist.»