Getting Customers On Board

SJ tracks rail customer satisfaction with Siebel Loyalty Manager

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Only slightly larger than California, Sweden has a population of 9.3 million people--less than a quarter of the Golden State's nearly 40 million inhabitants. While their country is more sparsely populated, Swedes share Californians' passion for the automobile--67 percent of the country's drivers rely on their cars to travel distances of 100 kilometers (62.14 miles) or more. And with rail traffic accounting for a 7 percent of the market, SJ lacked the revenue to make the necessary railcar upgrades--and by mid-decade the rail system was nearly bankrupt.

SJ needed an aggressive plan to revitalize customer service and provide a comfortable, convenient form of transportation. "We had to begin seriously differentiating ourselves to the public," explains Claes Lindholtz, director of customer programs and customer analysis at SJ. "We also had to change our internal culture and start thinking like customers instead of like a government organization." . . .

Tracking Results
The SJ Prio program is a huge success, with 95 percent of targeted customer segments enrolling in the program. In addition, 50 percent of registered SJ Prio members use self-service kiosks and SJ's Web-based application portal to purchase tickets. And when SJ wants to get the word out about a new offer, it is achieving an impressive 40 to 60 percent open rate with its direct e-mail offers. Loyalty program costs are averaging less than 0.01 percent of revenues, and penetration into target populations--commuters and business travelers--is showing 60 and 45 percent, respectively.

"We're cutting through the clutter," says SJ's Lindholtz. "Our knowledge about our customers is improving all the time, which is helping us expand and remain competitive." Lindholtz is just happy that it all came together with relative ease and that the team pulled together so well. "I can't offer enough praise to the people who worked on this project. Everybody really rose to the occasion to make this happen, and we could not have accomplished this without them."
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