How SNCF Connect finally wants to seduce users

With BFMTV, the general manager of SNCF Connect & Tech is evaluating an app that has crystallized some discontent, six months after its launch.

In a few years, will SNCF Connect be considered an industrial accident or a success built over time? This is clearly the second hypothesis that Anne Pruvot, Managing Director of SNCF Connect & Tech, responsible for the app launched at the beginning of the year, wants to believe.

The leader, who specializes in corporate digital transformation, explained herself at length to BFMTV. Returning to the launch in January 2022, which was marked by many controversy over the missing functionality, he criticized the aesthetic choices, but also the serial errors.

Uber-style search bar

The new platform has replaced, among other things, OUI.sncf, SNCF’s online travel agency dedicated to booking long-distance train tickets. But not only, we would like to stress Anne Pruvot, specifying that SNCF Connect aims above all to support day trips, be it Transiliens or TER.

“SNCF Connect is a digital service that combines an app and a website, combining both long trips and short trips. We should be able to provide routes that integrate all modes of transport. For example TGV, then TER and finally a bus “explains Anne Provot with BFMTV.

Among users, a question is regularly asked: why have we changed habits so often by presenting the search bar as the only home screen? On social networks, many Internet users are puzzled by the fact that the destination is listed first, and not the starting point and then the arrival, as was the case in the past.

For the director of SNCF Connect, the interpretation is closely linked to the ambition to design an app for everyday life, by drawing inspiration from other popular apps.

“If we look at different everyday applications like Citymapper or Uber, we have the destination as the first entry. The promise we made, through SNCF Connect, is to answer any question from the user. We must install such use. This is one of the elements that may have confused our customers Because it’s a very big change,” admits Anne Profoot.

SNCF Connect, which now has 25 million downloads (including 22 million inherited from OUI.sncf) for 2.5 million daily visitors (web and mobile), will thus replace tools like SNCF Assistant, which will disappear at the end of the year. Announcement to be released gradually, via email, to users, since 20 July.

Bike and bus cards, Apple Pay, and debit cards

After BFMTV, Anne Pruvot talks about her teams’ major projects in an effort to seduce frustrated users. Exchanges are underway with associations to better integrate cycling trips, given the limited capacity of the trains.

Other developments, such as the ability to view not only direct flights, but also the integration of payments by Apple Pay, are planned, in particular to simplify the purchase of tickets during short and regular flights. Another point of planned improvement: automated integration of debit cards, the dematerialization of which currently requires access to another collective platform.

Still aiming to offer multimodal trips, SNCF Connect will offer dematerialized bus tickets by the end of the year, in about sixty French cities. They can be purchased in advance or during your train journey, to prepare for transfer from the station.

The SNCF Connect manager is due to some controversies related to the lack of functionality during the launch, including the integration of train tickets with Apple Wallet. The tool, which allows you to view a QR code without having to unlock your iPhone, was only integrated a few weeks after launch.

“When you design and run an app, you make decisions about what you want to add and what you are willing to sacrifice. We heard a lot about Apple Wallet at launch. Less than 2% of users use it,” Anne Provot.

“We did not adequately prepare our clients”

If what she called a “purse gate” in her eyes was partially unjustified, the leader wouldn’t rule out any error. She therefore regrets not preparing the ground better before launch, to support these new habits without destabilizing users.

“We kept a lot of secrecy about the service prior to launch. We did not adequately prepare our customers, whose uses were frequently disrupted, for our various changes. We did tests in the beta phase, in secrecy. Could – perhaps – if we had had leaks, it would have been easier “. regrets Ann Profoot, with a touch of irony.

To fill this gap, she ensures that her teams regularly go to stations, and even on trains, to meet passengers. With over 85 million tickets sold since the start of the year, will SNCF Connect finally convince? According to his representative, the average notes filed for a month on the Apple and Google app stores are 4.5/5, versus 4/5 in May. Satisfaction level equivalent to OUI.sncf.

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