Head of Sales & Services on the service test wins

"Person-to-person contact is indispensable."

Swisscom's customer service was commended again in March by the trade magazines PCTipp and connect. Marc Werner, Head of Sales & Services, explains what constitutes good service and how Swisscom is constantly improving.

Manuela Staub, 20 April 2018

Marc Werner, every year more than 14 million customers call Swisscom Customer Service, go to a Swisscom Shop or are visited at home by a Swisscom technician. How do the employees manage to solve all these diverse problems?

I have had some opportunities to listen in on calls to the Customer Center or to accompany field service agents on their rounds. I have been impressed every time by the extensive knowledge our employees have and how whole-heartedly and analytically they handle each and every customer contact. The issues raised by customers could hardly be more diverse. Some are simple to resolve, while others are more challenging. The employees need to understand the specific situation within seconds to be fully engaged with the customers and their individual problems each time.

What distinguishes good customer service?

For us, good customer service is dealing with customers and their situations personally, listening and finding the right solution or the right product for their specific requirements. That is why our employees receive ongoing training on new products and technologies. It's the only way that we can advise our customers as comprehensively as possible, inspire them to try new solutions, support them and solve problems right from the start.

In 2017, Swisscom carried out around 200,000 repairs, including many in the new Repair Centers where customers can have their devices repaired directly on site within just three hours.

How has customer contact changed in recent years?

Many customers solve simple problems online. When they then contact us by phone or visit a Swisscom Shop, they are looking for advice or have a support problem that tends to be more complex. Our service portfolio has massively increased in recent years. At the same time, we have been able to continually improve the customer experience; that is our focus, even at the product development stage. The questions we dealt with previously were mainly about fixed-network or mobile connections. The topics are more diverse today: TV, mobile services, cloud options, SME products or support questions – to name but a few. We are all online all the time now, so we need services to work smoothly.

And when they don't work?

We have high quality standards for our products and our service. But mistakes happen – even to us. Cases like that upset our employees as well as our customers; they do their best to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and to be there for the customer. When things don’t work today the implications are generally greater because there is such a high level of interdependency. If the WLAN fails, for example, Swisscom TV and music systems stop working as well as the Internet. Customers often have little understanding of faults like that; they expect problems to be rectified immediately. I understand the customers. I am impatient too and I get annoyed when something doesn’t work. In situations like that good service and customer communication are particularly important.

"We are delighted by the service awards and they show that we are on the right path."

How well are we performing?

We are delighted by the service awards and they show that we are on the right path. But they don't give us an excuse for complacency. We see the awards much more as an incentive to improve even further and to meet the increasing expectations of our customers. We are also trying out new things. We are already using different tools related to artificial intelligence, for example.

Can you give an example?

Among these initiatives we are in the process of developing a chatbot service. We are also using a call centre tool that is based on artificial intelligence and can read and answer uncomplicated written enquiries. If artificial intelligence can’t solve the problem, the tool forwards the enquiry to the appropriate employee. We are investing in artificial intelligence because it can take the strain off our employees in particular situations, giving them more time to deal with more complex and emotional issues. Person-to-person contact is indispensable and remains vital for Swisscom.

When was the last time you experienced great customer service?

Even though we use Sonos, my wife likes to play CDs now and again. I used my mobile phone to search how to connect a CD player on the Sonos website. After just a few seconds a chat window opened, and I was asked if I needed help. I had received an answer to my question and connected the CD player within three minutes. I thought that was magnificent customer service: I was offered help quickly, I could choose if I wanted help or not and I could solve my problem in just a few minutes. I received personal advice, even though I was on the move. That is precisely what is and will remain important at Swisscom: being personally there for our customers when they need us.

Overview of popular services

Swisscom offers a host of services by telephone, in its shops, online and at home. Swisscom supports customers with all their enquiries, from smartphone repairs and technical help with Internet connections to courses related to digital offerings and self-service portal assistance.

All services offered to residential customers

Swisscom takes first place in the service test by trade magazine PCTipp for the fifth time.

Go to PCTipp test (PDF)

Swisscom takes first place in the hotline test by trade magazine connect for the third time in a row.

Go to connect test


Marc Werner, 51, has managed the Sales & Services division at Swisscom since 2016. He has been a member of the Group Executive Board since 2014.