When we were kids, we were always told about how precise the Swiss were in terms of their engineering and how a Swiss watch would be accurate for years to come….those were the days of the mechanical watches. As you roamed the streets of Geneva during those days , you could see shops where there were people with magnifying glasses on their eyes, putting in the various gears of the watch.
Now I went back to Geneva after a very very long time about two years back. Those watchmakers are gone. I wanted to showcase those watchmakers to my wife and son but couldn’t.
However what has not changed is the precision that the Swiss follow in all walks of their life. As usual, I had made Geneva my base and bought the Swiss Travel Pass which allowed us the use of all their train, bus and boats. If you are short on time and want to visit multiple places, the travel pass is the most convenient thing.
Everyone knows how beautiful Switzerland is and how safe it is etc. etc.
I am not sure however if anyone knows or speaks about, how synchronised the whole transit transport system in Switzerland is. You get only 3-4 minutes between interchanges, but you can be sure that you will catch all your linking transport. And this is not only about trains or only buses, but all the trains, boats and buses.
One day we decided to go to Interlaken from Geneva. After reaching Interlaken and admiring all the beauty from the land level we took the …..to the restaurant on the highest point. After having our lunch over there we decided to take a boat ride on the lake – all three of us love boat rides. When we reached the boat station, the next boat was not until about 3:30 PM ( I don’t remember the exact times now). The whole tour would take about 2 hours. So I was worried that we would not be able to take the train back to Geneva via Berne from Interlaken. We then started thinking in terms of avoiding the boat ride because otherwise we would reach Geneva past midnight. While Geneva is very safe, I generally have a fear of being so late in a foreign land.
Now this is where the drama comes. The steward at the boat was extremely friendly. Before he started boarding I got talking to him, sharing my dilemma. Once I told him the final destination he made out a itinerary for me, so that we would get a ride on the boat as well as not reach Interlaken at midnight.
So we got on the boat. After about 25 minutes of a boat ride in a chilly winter afternoon in Interlaken, at the second stop he asked us to get down. Right opposite the docking area was a small station. The challenge with the small station was that there was very little English so we were not sure if the train that was coming us would take us. But the steward had given us the train number and the destination.
So exactly in 12 minutes or so the train arrived. We sat in the train to reach the mainline station where would catch the train coming from Interlaken. The challenge – there was only a 3 minute gap and the platforms where the two trains were going to park were quite a walk. But our train reached there exactly as promised. We moved at a brisk pace to reach the other platform and to our surprise, the train we had to catch was just entering the platform as we reached.
I haven’t seen such precision, such attention to minute details across different transport systems in different cities like I saw it there.
Its things like these which make Switzerland such a “hot” tourist destination.
Why all this story – because if you can anticipate in advance how will each of your marketing pieces work and what will be the next steps and who will do what, when the prospect takes which step, then your whole system will work smoothly to get customers into your funnel and pass them on.
If on the other hand if any of the pieces are mis-aligned, then , there will be friction in your marketing which the customer will sense and you will delay his buying.
Till next time see how precisely you can match all the moving parts.