All posts tagged KLM

Do you hear what I hear? Listen closely, brands.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Vancouver after delivering a keynote to a great group from RBC. I’m no BC resident but I’m there enough to know what a Japa Dog is, when to avoid post-game hockey demonstrations and most importantly, where to stay.

Normally, I stay at the Westin Grand. The service is great, the rooms are nice, the location is pretty central and – as weird as it may sound – I love looking out at the Public Library. This trip was extra special, though. At one point, I simply tweeted this:

I certainly wasn’t fishing for anything. Hell I didn’t even think they would be listening.  Like all good brands, they were. This was their response.

When I informed them that I was there, they asked if they could do anything to make my stay more enjoyable (nice touch). I privately messaged them (no need to air dirty laundry) that housekeeping had failed to provide shampoo in the room. They immediately corrected the problem.

But they didn’t stop there.

Mid-afternoon, they sent someone up to my room with a huge carafe of ice water, a tray of fresh fruit and chocolate and this thoughtful note:

Brilliant! While all of us celebrate huge customer service stories like KLM and Mortons, it’s small responses like this that separate the brands who get it from those who don’t. Here’s why:

1. They were listening. And they responded.
A lot of brands use SM channels to solve problems and avert PR disasters (as they should) but the potential is so much greater. Your clients ARE talking about you and listening gives you a chance to learn, be proactive, and be brilliant.

2. Operational integration.
Conversing with some SM teams is like talking to a call centre in India. Sure, they’ll pass your message along but you never feel like they have any power to do anything. When your product has a live, face to face component, they should have the power to affect it. Westin’s SM team had the power to fix a problem AND send a gift to my room quickly. Nice.

3. Transparency.
Even though I privately messaged them with my tiny and insignificant issue, they actually responded publicly with an apology. They actually shared their oversight with the world even though I gave them the opportunity to keep it private. Top marks.

4. Dialogue continuation.
When my friend Warren Porter  responded to my tweet, they engaged with him, too. They even complimented him on his glasses (they are pretty nice). The Westin was like the friend you like introducing to other friends. They could have got in and got out but instead, they were genuinely interested in the conversation and stayed around at the party long after the finger foods were gone.

Congratulations to the Westin Grand management and staff for providing a great lesson on what brands can do to create magic for their customers. As a result, they’ll be hearing even more positive comments in the future.


KLM gets it. Luckily, their passengers do, too.

When companies want to thank their loyal customers, the first thought is to bombard them with trinkets and trash – little gifts companies buy in mass quantities complete with logos, corporate colours and sadly, almost no value to the customer whatsoever. In the past, it was really difficult to really get to know individual customer interests so we were forced to purchase one gift for everyone and the lowest common denominator (and lowest price) ruled the day of customer appreciation. Luckily, we can kiss this approach (and the logoed golf shirts that came along with it) goodbye.

When you combine the new tools that  give us greater access to our customers’ interests with the real time updates of their lives that are available, the potential to truly surprise and delight customers is unprecedented. And that’s not just good for customers. It’s also good for business.

KLM gets it. Do you?