Swisscom wants to offer all people living in Switzerland the opportunity to get the very best out of communications tools. To this end, the company is making substantial contributions to integrating people with disabilities into the information society. The accessibility of products and services is important for Swisscom for two reasons: firstly, Swisscom fulfils its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which requires companies to offer accessible products. Secondly, other customers also benefit from accessible products and services. For Swisscom, however, accessibility is no mere legal requirement or economic issue; it is a service that it offers its customers purposefully and with conviction. Since 2018, Swisscom has pursued a strategy of improving access to enable all users to access Swisscom products. This access strategy applies to all Swisscom divisions. In the long term, accessibility is to be incorporated into the company’s day-to-day business and thus become an integral part of product design. Swisscom is taking the following measures to achieve this objective: appointment of SPoCs (single points of contact), regular meetings of the SPoCs and the teams, workshops for further training and awareness-raising, regular testing of the accessibility of products and publication of the internal guidelines (Swisscom Accessibility Guidelines). Swisscom introduced its access improvement strategy in 2018. It is therefore premature to evaluate the measures and their effectiveness. Swisscom plans to have the measures evaluated in the medium term within the framework of the national Accessibility Study published every five years by the specialist organisation Access for all. Swisscom will then be required to implement the access improvement strategy and ensure that it is effective and sustainable over the following two years. Swisscom hopes that its rating in the next Accessibility Study will be significantly higher.
- Accessible services and products: the Swisscom Shops fulfil strict criteria to ensure that they are accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, the employees of the shops and call centres are called upon to establish what special needs a customer with a particular handicap has. Procap Switzerland therefore offers Swisscom employees training in “accessibility”. In addition, Swisscom is continuously improving the accessibility of its shops and call centres. It endeavours to offer those with hearing and visual impairments attractive devices and updates its range of devices and services. Examples of this are telephones (IP devices or mobile devices) adapted to the needs of the visually impaired or elderly, or the many ways in which customer service can be contacted. Those whose physical disabilities mean that they cannot use the telephone directory are entitled to call 1145 at no additional cost. Swisscom provides this service voluntarily as part of its basic service provision. People with a hearing impairment can take advantage of a transcription service that enables telephone conversations between people with a hearing impairment and hearing people. This service, which is offered in collaboration with the Procom Foundation, also forms part of the basic service provision and is free. Swisscom also supports the Apfelschule, which teaches blind or visually impaired people how to use a smartphone. Every Swisscom customer who wishes to take such a course receives a voucher from Swisscom worth CHF 50. All the products and services mentioned are evaluated by various partner associations and organisations. As these associations and organisations are in direct contact with people with disabilities, the usefulness and quality of the products and services are guaranteed.
- Access to the Internet and applications: Swisscom will continue to guarantee the accessibility of its websites and applications. By creating new versions and updates, Swisscom has already implemented important requirements for the creation of accessible web content in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 2.0.
- Offers for people with limited financial resources: Swisscom provides three different offers to support people with limited financial resources. Young people under the age of 26 can benefit from a reduced price plan. For young people under 18, a credit limit applies to their subscriptions. For children and young people aged 7 to 18, Swisscom also offers a prepaid subscription.