KLM first airline to let passengers pay ‘socially’ via Facebook or Twitter

airlinetrends.com | February 13, 2014

KLM_Social Payment_b680x336

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

With over 5 million Facebook fans (the most of any airline in the world) and more than 800,000 followers on Twitter, and a wide range of social media initiatives, the KLM brand has become synonymous with social media innovation. In terms of social service, the airline was recently voted as the top ‘socially devoted’ company in the world by social metrics company SocialBakers and for example every 5 minutes displays the actual social media response time via Twitter and Facebook and the airline’s 130 social media agents respond to some 35,000 queries on Facebook and Twitter each week.

KLM’s social media strategy is based on three pillars according to the airline: Reputation, Service and Commerce, stating that “Commerce is the more challenging component of our strategy. Few companies have successfully derived revenue from social media, but we aim to be among those that do.”

Social payment
According to KLM, customers are already able to arrange extra services through social media, but until now payment has taken place over the telephone. However, as customers have regularly indicated that they would like to pay online through its social media channels, the airline decided to explore the posibilities of ‘social payment’.

Explains Frederiek Filippo, Social Media Service Agent at KLM, who came up with the social payment idea: “With around 130 employees at the ready, we respond quickly. With payment required for an increasing number of requests, I wanted to find a more ‘social’ solution. We try so hard to be a one-stop-shop, so the last thing you want to do is bother customers with another call.”

How it works
Similar to booking a ticket via the telephone, customers can inquire the best fares for their preferred date of travelling via social media and when they want to book the ticket, KLM sends a link to the customer in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The customer can then select their preferred method of payment and complete the transaction.

The social media service agent at KLM then receives a message to say that payment has been received and the customer in turn receives confirmation of the payment. The ticket is then issued and the passenger is notified via social media.

With this new method, contact with the customer takes place exclusively through the social media channel they have used, and puts KLM’s social media channels on par with the other two booking channels – website and call center – when it comes to booking a ticket.