Will SNCF’s new open organization strategy, based in particular on the launch of the “Oui” (“Yes”) brand, be enough to ensure the future of this venerable company?
The intuition behind this article is that the SNCF for a long time embodied to perfection what could be called a negative user experience.
A sort of dysfunctional and non-user-centered business model … at least in the sometimes very satirical imaginary of the French, but also of many foreign users.
In reality there is something very approximate in this impression, because the main user of SNCF has not for a long time been first his own employees?
In any case, SNCF is today making a radical shift towards what we could rightly call open organization.
An open organization strategy that stems from the competition of other operators and the need to completely review the marketing of the company.
According to Guillaume Pepy, the main competitor of the SNCF is none other than … Google. This perception explains the weight given to the total overhaul of the digital presence of his company. And at the heart of this new marketing strategy, there is the launch of the new Oui brand:
· Oui.sncf, successor of voyages-sncf.com, optimized so that the user can easily find the solution he needs, ensuring a maximum of fluidity between the interfaces. Chatbots and voice commands are also on the menu.
· Ouigo, low-cost line operating underutilized stations
· InOui successor of the TGV (2020 TGV brand will no longer exist)
However, this revised marketing alone does not solve the underinvestment in infrastructure, nor the problem of the weight of the pensions of its employees supported by the company.
Another problem revealed by the recent giant blackouts at Gare Montparnasse seems to lie in the dilution of the pool of technical skills within the company. Can opening up to talent on demand solve this problem that the retirement of senior staff could accentuate? Or will the solution come from the arrival of trains without drivers?
The opening of the SNCF is compatible with the maintenance of the notion of public service, which remains the inspiring mission of this undertaking unique in its kind, and this probably for a long time. However, the redefinition of the marketing strategy around the Oui brand has provided a complementary orientation: to make you want to travel.