KLM’s Big Gamble with Facebook Messneger

Customer service has been a big topic in social media. KLM just upped the bar last week. The airline announced they would be utlilizing the Facebook Messenger platform for tickets and information. I will say this is a very bold move for any company to make. This service is putting in perspective, what Facebook wants to do with the platform.

How does the service work? 

First, you must book a flight from the KLM Website. It’s not available through third party sites yet. Next, You must opt in to the Facebook Messenger service. It, from the site, seems to be clicking a check box. It will then send you a message after the flight is booked. The service will notify for the following, check in time, delays and gate changes. If you are a frequent travels nothing makes you madder than not getting up to date info on any of the three listed above. Note that I haven’t booked a flight on KLM and this is all what I have read on the KLM site.

Lastly, the service is available 24/7. “We are available on Messenger to answer your questions 24/7 in 13 different languages: Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Norwegian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.” This impressive. It’s hard enough to roll it out in one language. Multiply this by 13!

Why Facebook Messenger? 

Facebook Messenger is a very interesting way to go about this for KLM. Its a given Facebook wants to grow the platform into a next generation messaging service. This could include a digital assistant, similar to Siri or Google Now. If the persistent rumors I have heard will be true. This would tie in to Bots. Bots are automated systems that function like a real person. These bots offer more than a text message could do on its on. Also, since Facebook is developing the system it’s less research and development for a company that wants to use the system.

Are People Going to Use the Service? 

I feel there will be people who will definitely use it out of curiosity. If I was flying KLM I would give it a try. This is the first time Messenger has been used for something at this scale. At least that I can recall. I’m used to Messenger being a place I send Gifs and talk to friends. I have yet to use it for a business purpose in my personal time. Back to the question at hand. I think it’s too early to tell if this is the start of something big or just a fad. I see a big potential in the platform if Facebook keeps developing it and working with brands to improve it. However, that being said, KLM is just one Airline. It’s ranked 4th largest in Europe (this includes Air France, according to Wikipedia).

I love it when brands try something new. This is something really interesting and came out of left field for me. I wasn’t expecting to see something along this lines, this early from Facebook Messenger. I hope we see more creative implementations of Messenger over the next year.

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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