Julian Wraith

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Category: Social Networking

Cross Channel Experience? KLM Just Gets It.

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.

BuddyPress for WordPress

BuddyPress has been launched as an add on to a WordPress Installation – “BuddyPress will extend WordPress MU and bring social networking features to a new or existing installation.

BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes, each adding a distinct new feature. BuddyPress contains all the features you’d expect from WordPress but aims to let members socially interact.”

Status.net aims to do what Twitter can’t

Chelsi Nakano has recently published an article on CMS Wire about Status.net. For those who have no heard, Twitter is not the only micro-blogging tool out there. I little while back I blogged about Yammer and its advantages to an enterprise and its ability to network groups of people together which ultimately helps knowledge sharing. Identi.ca plans to commercialise micro-blogging much like Yammer but with some distinct differences under the name of Status.net. Apart from trying to make money where Twitter does not, the main ones I liked where:

  • Possibility of public or private service
  • Your own sub domain e.g. sdltridion.status.net and also the ability to map your own domain on to the same service e.g. we.sdltridion.com
  • Ability to integrate adverts into the site
  • Ability to lightly theme your service – I guess how Twitter allows you
  • Ability to integrate with an LDAP or remote authentication protocols to allow you to use an existing user base

There are more features for you to read about, those just grabbed my interest directly.

The advantage of such a service to an enterprise is that not only can you make a nicer internal micro-blogging service but now you can have an external one to interact with your customers better. Being able to understand either your customer or your employees better is a distinct advantage and one area where more and more services and offerings will be coming online soon. I can see the application for this in organisations where I work, but are these companies ready for such a tool? Typically, those that make the decisions are not who are able to yet grasp this and that does not apply everywhere. Those companies who do want this and see the benefits to gain massively from it.

Salesforce captures the Tweet cloud

Salesforce will, this summer, release a new feature of its Service Cloud by adding a feature monitor Twitter conversations and questions about a company. The Service Cloud aims to companies using Salesforce to better engage their customers by connecting them to social networks, online communities search, chat etc. The new feature allows connection to Twitter.

To some extent I like this idea. I already monitor Twitter for information around certain topics but I have always resisted the temptation to react directly to a tweet because I don’t want people to feel that a company is watching them. Twitter, should be a place where I can have a rant without the company I just ranted about asking me a few minutes later if they can help me. If I need help I will ask for it, non?

Via Webware.com.

Yammer: Twitter for the Enterprise

Now Twitter is one of those things. Either you get it and you love it or you just plain hate it. I personally love it. I could tweet all day long except I don’t have time. It is a little too far to go to tell people exactly what I am doing but it does not stop some people. I personally, just give general updates on my general activities and you too can follow me on Twitter.

Twitter is a form of micro-blogging and basically offers people you know or people who want to know you the chance to stalk you.

Twitter is very public with even direct replies being visible. This is an open way of sending messages and you have to be careful as when you tweet something it is then visible to the whole world. Unfavorable Tweets that are about your employer or a customer should not be in the public domain. Add to this that some people’s Tweets are pushed to Facebook and then we have a recipe for making big holes for you to climb into.

Well, to make your life a little safer, Yammer has introduced a system similar to Twitter only with security. People who have the same email address domain as you (e.g. someone@sdltridion.com) can join a closed network where you can blog to each other what you are doing. Looking on the surface there is nothing very special here but used to enhance connections between people doing the same things in organizations, this tool has distinct advantages.

Getting started

This is surprisingly simple as you only have to enter your email address to start the signup process. Once you have confirmed that you got the email they sent you, you can create your profile and join the network. Once you sign in you are given the chance to invite people you know from the organization and that’s all there is to it.

Working with it

There are four ways to post to it, you can use the Yammer website, download the desktop application, the blackberry or iPhone application. You can do pretty much anything you can do with Twitter such as reply on posts, follow people, invite more people and search through the history.

Advantages

So why would this be interesting? Well knowledge sharing is a about a two main areas; sharing knowledge in a documented way (explicit) and sharing knowledge person to person (tacit). In the case of the latter it is important to build relationships between people. People feel they have a relationship to someone based upon what they know about them and on this they can build trust. How many times do we think we know a celebrity based upon what we we’ve read about them? In a business sense, this might be knowing what someone is doing in the office, what projects they are working on or what activities they are doing in common. This is where micro-blogging can help people connect and share information easily. This tool helps build such networks and relationships around an organization which will ultimately lead to better ability for the organization to work and share effectively

Costs?

There are two versions of Yammer; one free and the other not. For free you get all the micro blogging features in a closed network. However, you can’t control the network you have created (such as removing a fired employee). If you want to do that, your organization can take ownership of the application for the very modest sum of $1 per user per month.

Security

Well, there are two aspects of this. Firstly, anyone from your network can post anything they like and anyone from the organization can be watching. Users themselves need to watch what is said and those they do not use the medium to whine or complain about life. Additionally, you are posting to an outside network and thus it should be common sense not to post anything that would be deemed legally sensitive. Whilst Yammer ensure on their site that it is secure I can’t help feeling that this will be the major blocking factor for many organizations.

Conclusion

I like it, but I feel that many organizations are not really ready for such a system. Should they be then I feel that they would reap the benefits of having this short line of communication between their employees. Most employees will not abuse Yammer and in most cases an organisation’s fear of abuse is usually is greater the actual threat of abuse. If any such abuse takes place it can be dealt with by the administrators.

The free version is really good for friends or family and the subscription model is an absolute must for organization. Without administrators the risk of former employees still being able to access the network is just too high.

Screenshots

Follow me on Twitter

If you want to follow my updates on a regular basis then I suggest you follow me on Twitter. You can do that from the stream: http://twitter.com/julesdw.

*tip, if you want to see more about a particular topic on Twitter, then check Twitter Search.

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