Is Klm airlines “ready” for customer-centricity?

11 novembre 2013


In our experience at OpenKnowledge, we daily support enterprises and business in their attempts to transform themselves from a product-centric companies to a customer-centric organizations. This transformative journey, as we very often find out, is not so easy and smooth as the management and marketing claims seems to evoke. A preventive analysis of the readiness should be mandatory, but often the organization underestimate her maturity. According to a recent research, even organizations such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, although active and engaged in social media marketing and communication strategies, seem to suffer in terms of “readiness” towards the new organizational and managerial customer-centric model needed to face the disruption in the transportation industry. As the researcher, Thomas Pot, states: “The airline industry has reached the crossroads. Today’s fiercely competitive and efficiency focused economic environment ensures that airlines are struggling to gain market share and  sustain profitability. This is partly due to the global turmoil, the economic slowdown in the European region, the volatile demand of air traffic, the increasing number and strength of (lower priced) competitors, fluctuating fuel costs and more diverse and specific passenger needs. As a result, airlines have come to know that cost containment and financial strength are more important than ever. This forces airlines to develop new manners to manage their customer relationships better in order to optimize customer loyalty and revenues. As proven in the past, airlines’ immediate focus is often on cost reductions in achieving more efficient operations. This reality mainly stems from the fact that fixed costs are enormous in the airline industry. Unfortunately, as is with many airlines, most have failed to recognize that their customers and the relationships they maintain with their organizations, are at the core of their business strategies and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM from now on) is no exception”. So, the research question is: “Can KLM Royal Dutch Airlines migrate from a product oriented towards a customer oriented organization and develop a customer advocacy strategy?”. Using several methods (a literature review, semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion), the researcher investigate the “readiness” of the KLM in adopting a customer-centric perspective, analyzing different dimensions: business mindsets, strategic value propositions, organizational barriers, management cultures (Thomas Pot, 2013,“Changing the game. A different approach on customer marketing at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines”).

Here the link to the business case thesis (2013):Thomas Pot, “Changing the game. A different approach on customer marketing at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines”