Swiss Rail (SBB) makes strides in heavily scrutinized transit industry

Reputation Institute has just released its ranking of the most reputable companies in Switzerland. Our analysis not only shows the ranking of the companies in Switzerland that score the highest among the public, it also lists the companies that demonstrated outstanding performance year-over-year. An example of this is Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (Swiss Federal Railways, or SBB).

SBB is the national railway company of Switzerland. Because it is partially owned by the government and it is also part of the daily life of many Swiss citizens, it often finds itself under close scrutiny by the general public. Nevertheless, SBB experienced the greatest improvement in our 2017 company reputation ranking for Switzerland, climbing 6.5 points and earning a reputation score of 69.1.

Before analyzing why SBB increased its reputation score, it is important to contextualize why this improvement is impressive despite the fact that SBB’s reputation still falls within the Average tier. In our study across Europe, we learned that the train industry is constantly challenged by the public, heavily scrutinized, and often times vilified. When taking a look at 10 European train companies, we found that only one has a strong reputation (NSB in Norway). SBB is now number two, and its reputation score of 69,1 moves it a few steps closer to the Strong tier.

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How did SBB Improve Its Reputation Score?

Below are some examples of initiatives carried out by SBB that help substantiate its good scores in this year’s study:

  • Strong 2016 results: In 2016, SBB transported more people and goods than ever before. Financial results were also better:
    • Passenger Traffic generated earnings of CHF 139.2 million (+ CHF 8.7 million compared to the previous year).
    • Freight Services returned to the black (+ CHF 22.6 million compared to the previous year).
    • Real Estate generated earnings before compensation payments of CHF 432.6 million (+ CHF 90.2 million compared to the previous year).
  • Clear steps to convey a more innovative image: SBB launched a pilot test that allows customers at the ticket machine to connect with a salesperson via video.
  • Delivering on customer service: SBB won the “Customer Excellence Award” from the Institute for Marketing Management, based on initiatives to provide world-class customer service.
  • Openness and transparency: SBB is opening up access to its public transport data in order to improve, innovate, and meet customer expectations even better.

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