This week, I had the opportunity to attend the Engage 2013 conference in London, courtesy of Socialbakers. Among the top speakers, we got to listen to Lionel Lassalle, Social Marketing & Co-Branding Manager at KLM who talked about KLM’s journey to transform social users into customers.
KLM has been working actively with social media for quite some time, and the airline’s presence in social media jump started with the crisis management during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010. It was not until then that the company really started to take advantage of social networks in communicating with customers.
“The ash cloud changed everything”, said Lassalle.
According to Lassalle, one of the key factors in becoming a social business is to be able to break down the silos and start to co-operate between different parts of the organisation. Also, for KLM, customer service is the backbone of the organisation in social media. The airline has the ambition to answer questions in social media within 1 hour and to solve customer service issues within 24 hours. Currently, KLM answers within 15 minutes (on average) and solves issues within 9 hours. Impressive.
The experience from the ash cloud crisis management led to the establishment of three principles that guide KLM in social networks.
KLM’s three leading social pricinciples:
- Service is sales
- Be cool to hang out with
- Don’t push, create stuff worth sharing
Social media can drive sales
One of the main take aways for me during the day was that we saw several examples where social media can actually drive sales. One project for KLM in the Netherlands increased sales with 30%. Also, Bruce Daisley of Twitter UK told us how sponsored campaigns on Twitter had shown that there can be a strong correlation between Twitter ads and sales. Some campaigns had been more than four times as effective as spending that additional amount on traditional advertising.
Becoming a social business
KLM has the ambition to be a social business and by relying less on stand-alone campaigns and working more with long term solutions, the airline has come a long way towards that goal. Here are a few more quotes about their social media strategy, from Lionel Lassalle’s presentation.
“We are connecting social media to our core business, which is flying.”
“We are heading to become a social business.”
“Social media is no longer a platform, it is integrated throughout the whole organisation.”
“From one side it makes our customer’s life easier, but it also constantly helps us to improve the quality of our service.”
And finally, about return on investment: “Is it worth the money? Hell, yeah!”
Below you can watch the entire presentation from Engage 2013.