At the beginning of the semester we read an interesting interview titled “Reimagining Customer Service at KLM Using Facebook and Twitter”. The interview was between Professor Kane and the SVP of Air France-KLM. The SVP explained how the brand was successfully communicating with customers through social media. The brand has been very innovative in their social media efforts with programs like “Meet and Seat”, which allows passengers to pick their seat on a flight and link their Facebook and LinkedIn profile to the seat assignment so that they can pick their seat based on the people on the plane. The interview does a great job of highlighting how KLM’s social business is a leader in the airline industry, as they are constantly thinking of new ways to utilize the digital landscape. Recently, I came across an article that explicates KLM’s continual success in being a category leader in the social media and digital landscape. The article explains how KLM is now partnering with Facebook Messenger to give passengers the option of receiving flight updates through the Messenger app. So how exactly will it work?
When booking a ticket, if passengers agree to connect Facebook’s Messenger app, KLM will start a chat thread where it will then send you a booking confirmation, a boarding pass which you can use to get through security and onto flights, your flight status, and any changes in the flight schedule. While most airlines already do have the option of mobile boarding passes, KLM is the first to partner with Facebook’s Messenger, which will then allow the airline company to talk directly with every passenger individually. This custom and real-time experience is something that definitely will give the brand a competitive advantage.
David Marcus, who runs the Messenger team at Facebook explained how beneficial this will be for all travelers when he stated, “goodbye forgetting the combination of your frequent flyer alphanumerical number and password to obtain your boarding pass, and hold for a long time on the phone to change flights. This is a new day for all of us global travelers, and KLM is paving the way”. (see his entire post about the new feature here) . KLM also released the news with both a video explaining how the partnership will work and a promotional contest. The video posted by KLM (below) shows how the service works and explains the many benefits of using the Messenger. The promotional contest states that if you use the service to book a flight anytime between now and April 27 you will win two return flight tickets to anywhere you want to go.
While the new service seems like it will make everyone’s travel experience much easier and more organized, KLM must ensure that they are providing excellent, quick service to all passengers. As the SVP of KLM stated in the interview with Professor Kane, the brand focuses on three main things to ensure success: “excellent service, the brand and reputation, and commerce”. Although David Marcus explains the partnership as a revolutionary feature for the travel industry, I think it will be very interesting to see how successful this service truly will be. Moreover, if this service does prove to be successful, I am curious to see what will happen to companies’ apps. If people can eventually interact with all companies via the Facebook Messenger, there will no longer be a need for that specific companies app. It will also be very interesting to see how many airlines attempt to follow in KLM’s footsteps and attempt to partner with Messenger. While the future success of this service is unknown, it is clear that KLM is continuing to lead the way for the airline industry in the digital landscape as they explained in the interview with Professor Kane.