Customers in 2012 are a fickle lot. When interacting with an organisation, they don’t stick nicely to the channel they started in until the end of their process. Instead, they hop about from one channel to another, with no pity for all those Customer Experience professionals that get hectic spots from bridging all those chasms in their multichannel strategy.

© barkbud (Flickr)

Granted, most of these chasms we created ourselves when we created silos between channels – competition even. When executives asked the online channel to compete with the call centre, the mobile channel with the good old websites…. They cooked the soup they now have to eat. (this is a German idiom that doesn’t translate well but I just love the picture…)

Some companies are doing an excellent job at connecting all channel touchpoints in a smooth and consistent way. These are companies who figured out the customer journey and took a good hard look at themselves through the customer’s eyes. KLM is one of those companies who “get it” and I am always impressed how well KLM executes on their customer experience strategy.

When I travel for business, my tickets usually get booked via travel agency through our office management – either online or with the agency call centre. I then get a confirmation and eticket from the agency via email. At pretty much the same time, connected via the loyalty program, the booking shows up in the KLM mobile app on my phone. From here – or, if I chose, from the KLM website – I can trigger status updates for my flights via email or SMS – it is MY choice. And, on a side note, in the language that I chose.

I check in online, of course, and send the fancy barcoded boarding pass to my phone. And to my tablet, because I am a bit paranoid about losing or forgetting either one of them. Sometimes, I have problems with the check-in and then I call the hotline and they know right away what’s going on and help me through.
At the airport, I tend to ask for a print-out of the boarding pass. That’s because once my phone ran out of battery power and I had left my tablet in the office. And that made me look really stupid at boarding – thus the paranoia.

Just recently, I was coming back from London to Amsterdam, and the fog in Amsterdam meant that we ran late by about an hour or so. I knew straight away from my mobile updates and hit the airport’s retail therapy, which at LHR is a pleasure. But when we landed on the furthest runway in Amsterdam (which is soo far away that it’s almost Belgium and taxying takes 20 minutes… For a 1 hour flight..) and I got home just after midnight, I was a little bit cranky. Not really with KLM, because they neither made the fog nor the Polderbaan runway (or did they?), but just with the situation as such.

And then, at home, my phone beeps at me and there was an email from KLM. It said that they are sorry about the delay and that they hope it didn’t cause me any inconvenience. And somehow that really made it better for me. It was so nice they cared. So I tweeted how cool I thought that was. And guess what, KLM replied straight away to say thank you and that they were glad it all worked out in the end.

Wow. Seriously, how awesome is this? The entire customer journey glued together by e-ticket, booking code and customer loyalty program. Customer Experience Management at it’s best.

What is KLM doing right?
Firstly, they understand what’s going on with their customers at the different stages of their journeys.

Secondly, they invested some serious thought and money into making this journey more pleasant for their customers.

Thirdly, they make use of all the channels they got, employing each channel for the right thing – forming one consistent brand image.

Last but not least, they encourage dialogue through their social channels – and by that create brand ambassadors who share how awesome KLM is.

Thank you, KLM, for this great example.

Guest Post

Sonja KeerlSonja Keerl LinkedIn
Sonja is in the online business since 1999 and a passionate voice for Customer Experience Management. She has helped many large global companies with CMS implementations, global rollouts and multichannel strategy. Sonja frequently speaks on industry events. Sonja currently works for SDL WCM as Senior Product Marketing Manager and is engaged to Julian.