The Air France-KLM group has an great reputation when looking at customer experience and the usage of technology to enhance customer experience. Many innovations have led to this customer experience, such as Spencer the robot, the development of electronic bag tags and tracking devices, the use of artificial intelligence to provide customer service channels and the Happy Flow biometric token trails. These are a few examples of the innovation of the Air France-KLM group in the past years (Future Travel Experience, 2017).
What is customer intimacy?
Customer intimacy, means segmenting and targeting markets precisely and then tailoring offerings to match exactly the demands of those niches. Companies that excel in customer intimacy combine detailed customer knowledge with operational flexibility so they can respond quickly to almost any need, from customizing a product to fulfilling special requests. As a consequence, these companies engender tremendous customer loyalty (Treacy and Wiersema, 1993).
Customer intimacy at Air France-KLM
Air France-KLM strives to be the leading airline in customer intimacy. To get there, technology has to play a critical role, but the group knows that the largest impact on the customers’ experience journey can be gathered by customer interaction.
The group is investing in a customer relationship system and customer care and recovery, as part of their strategy. The biggest challenge for the group is to gather all relevant data and make them instantly available, which is difficult with many online and offline touchpoints. The ultimate goal is to ensure that front-line staff have an accurate real-time view of their customers, and on any servicing needs or commercial opportunities (Future Travel Experience, 2017).
Pozas Lucic (VP of innovation) highlighted an example ow how the connected customer relationship management system will benefit the experience of passengers in the near future. Imagine a connecting passenger who is flying Delhi-Amsterdam-Chicago. The passenger is a vegetarian and ordered a vegetarian meal, but by mistake this meal is not on the flight. Currently, new vegetarian meals cannot be created during a flight. With the introduction of the new connected CRM system, crew members can put a message in their devices asking the ground staff to pick the passenger up at the gate and guide them to the lounge where they can provide a vegetarian meal. After that, an automated message will also be sent to adjust the booking details so that it doesn’t happen on the connecting flight and the return flight (Future Travel Experience, 2017).
The success of customer intimacy for Air France-KLM
Air France-KLM was not afraid to differentiate their products and simplify the travel experience. All the innovation led to a 4-star airline quality rating (4 out of 5 stars)(Airlinequality.com, 2017). In Air France-KLM, innovation is everywhere and not just in a single department, which is why the group became successful. The group scores particularly well on the airport service such as the arrival assistance (on the spot recovery), check-in service and transfer service (biometrics and robotics) and the baggage delivery (e-tag and baggage tracker solutions)(Airlinequality.com, 2017).
Air France-KLM set the goal to become the leading airline in customer intimacy. The airline group is determined to simplify the journey, to offer passengers what they want when they need it, and to deliver personalised experiences. While neither the human interaction nor technology can achieve this alone, together they could well redefine the entire Air France-KLM experience (Future Travel Experience, 2017).
Airlinequality.com. (2017). Available at: http://www.airlinequality.com/ratings/klm-royal-dutch-airlines-star-rating/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Airlinequality.com. (2017). Available at: http://www.airlinequality.com/ratings/4-star-airline-ratings/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Future Travel Experience. (2017). Air France-KLM’s customer intimacy strategy: tech and human interaction. [online] Available at: http://www.futuretravelexperience.com/2017/02/air-france-klms-customer-intimacy-strategy/?utm_source=Future+Travel+Experience+Newsletter&utm_campaign=0d54fdd27d-fte_otg_100217&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c306aa3edf-0d54fdd27d-89986809 [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].
Treacy, M. and Wiersema, F. (2017). Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/1993/01/customer-intimacy-and-other-value-disciplines [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].