Many companies offer guarantees. Your pizza will arrive in 30 minutes or less, your checked baggage will be at the carousel within 20 minutes, you will be satisfied … but KLM offers a different type of guarantee.
KLM‘s social media team guarantees that all contact with them will be replied to in one-hour or less, 24/7/365. Having actually worked as the person behind KLM’s twitter voice for a while I was ecstatic to see this guarantee. KLM’s customer service in my (slightly biased) opinion is excellent, however when tested KLM’s one-hour or less social media response guarantee seems hollow.
Brett Snyder, of CrankyFlier, sought clarification from KLM on what Tweets and Facebook messages would be replied to and received this answer from the airline’s public relations spokesperson, “Anyone in the world can send a tweet or leave a message on Facebook and there will be a response personally within one hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week . . . As for sarcastic questions and complaints, KLM responds with apologies and tries to remedy the error,” and “it doesn’t even have to be a question to get a response! If KLM is in the tweet KLM will respond if they can help.”
So … that given, in tracking @KLM’s tweets, it seems only a small fraction of tweets are replied to. Brett went so far as to set up a new Twitter account to test KLM’s one-hour guarantee, Tweeting a legitimate customer service problem, but was never replied to. Brett and I Tweeted back and forth in public about KLM’s one-hour social media response guarantee and got a response more than an hour later. In the time in took for KLM to reply there had been just over 40 tweets mentioning “@KLM” directly, in that same time @KLM Tweeted only four times, addressing Twitter mentions only three times.
So … as much as KLM’s one-hour social media guarantee is fantastic, the airline needs to ensure it’s guarantee is executed.
In social media things move quickly and failure to put-up or shut-up when it comes to social media customer service, especially when a guarantee is offered, the value of a customer service reputation can spiral downwards quickly.
Should KLM offer a one-hour guarantee? I think it is a great idea. Should KLM put some restrictions on what will get a response in an hour? Probably. Should KLM ensure it has the manpower and proper tools to ensure it can execute its one-hour guarantee? Absolutely.
KLM has been a leader in social media in the past, it has the opportunity to do so again right now … or it can drop the ball and undo the excellence it is striving for.