KLM’s social media strategy – Part 2

Part 2 : The Social Media Hub

KLM has been active in social media since late 2009. Ever since, people have been asking us about our social media strategy. In this second part of our blog series about it, we look at how we’re organised.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com once said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” That’s very true indeed, but there’s more to it than that. The world is changing. More than ever, people are sharing their experiences online, and they rely on peers opinions rather than top-down marketing campaigns.

The downside of facilitating an open dialogue on social media is that you also invite public criticism – in return for being loyal, consumers want to be recognised and heard. This calls for a swift and transparent response. Some brands may see that as a threat, but at KLM we try to turn that to our advantage. We show the world that we listen, care, and very much value all the feedback we get. The ultimate reward is seeing people’s sentiment turn from negative to positive, and telling their peers about it.

Consumers reach out to brands, not departments. That’s why we decided to create an efficient, easily accessible one-stop-shop for the public. In October 2010, KLM’s Corporate Communications and E-commerce departments joined forces to establish the Social Media Hub. Located at KLM Headquarters, this has been the beating heart of our social spider web. Here, a dedicated team creates synergy by sharing their expertise from a varied background including communications, e-commerce, customer care, ticketing, marketing, operations and cabin crew. Specialised service agents work closely with press officers, social media and campaign managers, an online reputation manager, an editorial board, and a tech and metrics staff. We also have dozens of social media service agents working at other locations. Altogether, we share a broad internal network and stay connected using Salesforce and Radian6. These powerful tools offer us valuable insights and direct CRM access in the cloud.

Until recently, we had noticed that people were pleasantly surprised to get a reply at all. But by setting our standards high, we also raised expectations among our audience. As volumes steadily grew, we realised that providing service only during office hours wouldn’t work for a round-the-clock business. On 18 July 2011, KLM became one of the world’s first companies to go 24/7 in social media.

By the end of 2009, we had two staff members appointed to social media; now, we have more than fifty. Together, we can offer an authentic, open dialogue in Dutch, English, Spanish, German and Japanese – 24 hours a day – and handle well over 2,000 conversations each week. Thanks to our dual management and close ties with many field offices and departments, we can tackle a wide variety of topics in the shortest possible time. No matter what question, suggestion, compliment or complaint, we can handle it through the social media. We’ll do everything we can to answer within one hour, and offer a solution within twenty-four. And whether you’re a holidaymaker or a celebrity, the same policies apply as when you’d ask our ground staff, a call agent, or write a letter to our CEO.

Part 1 : Early Efforts and the Ash Cloud
Part 3 : Campaigns
Part 4 : Roadmap and Strategy

Originally posted on the KLM blog.

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