We don’t differentiate from competition through the lowest price or the most luxurious product, but by providing exceptional service. According to Bain & Company, 80% of marketers believe they deliver superior customer experience and only 8% of consumers agree. As an airline, we have a lot of contacts with our customers: through our call centres, via our mobile app, at check-in, at boarding, in the airplane, when they read our magazines, etc. All of these contacts create our customer experience, and our difficult job is to orchestrate, to personalise and to scale this experience.
Leadership plays a critical role. Recognising that we have to bring all the data together, to be more agile and to co-create instead of keep building expertise within silos requires a broad perspective. Although it is obviously very important for teams to be able to explain to top management why they need more data integration, leadership needs to challenge the status quo and take a clear direction. At KLM, we now have teams with a central responsibility of clustering data and aligning data sources. This organisation comes with its own set of challenges, because we used to have smaller sources with smaller teams, enabling us to quickly access and fix issues that frustrate our customers. As the organisation becomes bigger, the process becomes slower. It is a constant challenge to think ahead and try to be prepared for what's next.
We make the distinction between the servicing part and the commerce part. Being everywhere the consumer is is very important for servicing. We want to be on WhatsApp, on WeChat, on Messenger and help our customer in the experience they have with KLM. For the commerce part, direct sales are very important for us, as they enable us to provide the best customer experience. For instance, if there are disruptions at the airport, we are able to update the customer about the new flight or hotel because we have the customer’s contact details. The direct online channel gives us the most direct relationship with the customer and is also the cheapest one.
Source:KLM flight info on WhatsApp, KLM via Youtube
As a consumer, I love GDPR. As a marketer, I hate it! We need to learn from this discrepancy to create trust.
This is actually a very big challenge for us at this moment. The airline industry is becoming the new banking industry, in the sense that we start being seen as a not so sustainable industry, especially in Europe. This is not helping us attract the younger talents. For our brand it is very important to explain that we are the most sustainable airline in the world and that potential recruits can help us move forward. This story, and how we position ourselves on this topic, are key. Besides our brand, the growth potential for people in the company is crucial: trainings, onboarding, career potential, development programs, all of
In the 1960s to 1980s, agencies were some sort of advisors to the CEO, giving new growth ideas on profitability and efficiency. In the 1980s, agencies became experts in how TV ads worked, but this expertise could be copied across the industry. In the 1990s, a new mantra appeared: more technology is more profitability. Now we get verticals of industries and verticals of profession, and consultancies and agencies are connecting these verticals and telling me they can build, run and even own our customer experience! Maybe I’d prefer to go back a little bit to the 1960s, to have people help me with new growth ideas on how I can create new profitability. The agency world has shifted away from being rewarded for growth ideas, profitability and efficiency, and it would be very interesting to go back a little bit into that disrupting mindset.