Dutch airline KLM are strategically using WeChat to focus on the massive Chinese market.

KLM using WeChat

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KLM website in Chinese

KLM has developed a tool to redirect Chinese customer requests straight to their Salesforce platform.   They report that as a result they are now able to process queries twice as fast.

Over 100 million Chinese travelers fly to Europe annually and the Dutch airline is trying to position itself as the leading travel company for Chinese visiting Europe.  To do this it has wisely expanded its presence on WeChat in an attempt to appeal to the growing Chinese tourist market.

WeChat is the leading instant messaging platform in China with over 600 million users. The app offers a variety of services including instant chat and video calls as well as air & train ticket bookings and online payment portals. “WeChat is the biggest platform in China, offering us the opportunity to connect to customers and prospects,” says Martine van der Lee, social technology manager, KLM.

Several other foreign airlines are also focusing their efforts in an attempt to capture some of the rising number of outbound Chinese tourists by offering a Chinese version of their flight reservation page.  Most of these airlines also promote their services on Weibo (Chinese Twitter) and Youku (Chinese YouTube).  However, Thai Airlines is the only other airline to actively promote its WeChat account and QR code on its website.

WeChat is key

Through WeChat, consumers are able to connect with companies by simply scanning a brand QR code (see image below).  Companies can then communicate with their followers directly, pushing interesting news and special promotions right into their hands.

With this app, brands can actively promote their business and maintain a close relationship with their customers.

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Over 88,000 people are currently following KLM on WeChat, and this figure is growing by 0.5% – 1% every week. Why are they seeing this growth? By providing good services, relevant commercials, engaging content, and clever campaigns.

Customers are encouraged to use the platform more often, with a 24-hour customer service implemented. As they are connected on WeChat, users can easily chat with the airline in the form of text messages with an average response time of around one hour.

This service was manually controlled until recently when KLM teamed up with Nexmo (a cloud communication platform) to assimilate KLM customer requests into their Salesforce CRM platform. This partnership has made the process automatic, increasing the average response time.

The cooperation between KLM and Nexmo for the WeChat CRM platform streamlines the communication process as customer service agents no longer need to open a new window for every new enquiry. All communication goes through the same Salesforce platform employed by the airline for its other digital channels.

Communication through chat apps to reshape B2C

With a growing number of mobile internet users in China and Asia, companies that wish to actively interact with this market cannot overlook the power of apps such as WeChat in China,  Line in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, or Viber and WhatsApp in Southeast Asia.

Nexmo is actively working with numerous brands to integrate these instant messaging apps to their CRM platforms. Sumit Suman,  Nexmo product management lead, declared that “As these global brands are talking to their customers globally, they are realizing they have to be present where their customers are and it’s just a reality that in many of these countries that these messaging chat apps are the primary platforms where their customers are.”

 

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Business to consumer (B2C) communication will continue to be reshaped as more brands integrate their messaging chat apps to the CRM platforms, giving them an edge over their competitors. KLM has proven this so far, holding a competitor edge in the market.