Stabilizing the network at around 800 self-operated branches, increasing the number of access points to more than 5,000 and improving the quality of branches with partners: this is how Swiss Post plans to be physically present with its access points in all regions of Switzerland – and also available outside traditional opening hours.
Whether at the front door, on the move or digitally, Swiss Post wants to offer the best possible universal service for all regions and generations. It is working to create a balanced mix of access points: self-operated branches, the well-established branch with partner, and other service points.
Swiss Post is explicitly committed to its own branch network, even though digitization means fewer and fewer customers visits: the decline in over-the-counter postal transactions from 2000 to 2020 was 75 percent for letters, 25 percent for parcels and 57 percent for inpayments. In 2021, Swiss Post will continue with the conversion of around 100 remaining branches, which was already planned and is an economic necessity. It then plans to stabilize the network at around 800 branches. “Physical sites remain essential for us,” says Thomas Baur, Head of PostalNetwork. That’s why Swiss Post will also invest around 40 million francs in modernizing 300 of its branches by 2022.
The strategy of branches with partners – which number approximately 1,200 – is proving successful for both sides. To ensure that this remains the case, Swiss Post is providing more local support, organizing training for partner staff and investing in more customer-friendly infrastructure. “We cooperate successfully with major partners, but also with small retailers,” says Martin Widmer, Head of Network Development. “A good example of this is the Linden pharmacy in Unterentfelden, where top-quality, conscientious and customer-focused work has been taking place since the end of 2017.”
A partnership with LANDI Albis, which operates Volg shops in the Affoltern district and Dietikon, has been in place since as early as 2010. Eight village shops offer postal services that people use every day – in some cases, from as early as 6 a.m. all the way through until 8.30 p.m. “We really value the open and honest cooperation with village shops. Their staff always give their best and are well acquainted with their customers.”
Since 2016, Swiss Post has expanded its network of other access points, such as service points, business customer points and My Post 24 terminals, from 4,200 to over 4,700. By 2024, that number is expected to be more than 5,000. “These supplementary service points – now also in more than 400 Migros Group branches – ensure that the most popular postal services are available locally, and they meet a growing customer requirement for flexibility in terms of time,” says Martin Widmer.
Be closer to customers and provide them with more flexible and better advice: that’s the goal of the new team organization in the self-operated branches. This means that staff are given more competencies and that they support one other. The teams, who work across multiple branches, now decide for themselves how to organize their day-to-day business, and they manage all access points in their catchment area collectively – from branches with partners to My Post 24 terminals. “With shorter decision-making processes and the involvement of staff, we can respond to changes more quickly and effectively,” says Ueli Lüdi, Head of Network Management. As of November 2020, there are 304 teams grouped into 48 areas and seven regions throughout Switzerland.