Tagged: Social Media

KLM: Surfing the social media tidal wave

Earlier today KLM, the biggest flight operator at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam experienced problems after a software update. It caused their site, booking systems and other operations to fail and caused lots of delays and disruption at their main hub, Schiphol Airport.

I’m not flying today but noticed it because of an article on a Dutch news site. Now in general I wouldn’t really have paid much attention especially as I read the article several hours after it had been posted and the disruption had already been cleared and services resumed by then, but one line intrigued me:  [translated from Dutch]

“….Travellers can contact KLM through its social media accounts Twitter or Facebook. There will be employees there that can check in customers online or book flights.”

Now a major international company taking their online reputation and social customer service serious during a major services outage isn’t new but to specifically offer operational help (like booking or check in) through a Facebook or Twitter account is not something you see often. The reason being that in order to do that on a large scale you need a totally different skill set then for simply answering a customer service question or responding to remarks or complaints.  Traditionally most companies still see the role of a social media department mostly as a communications / marketing endeavor and hire their social media staff accordingly. Thereby limiting the reach of their social channels.

From experience learned during the 2010 Iceland volcano eruption that caused worldwide mayhem in the aviation industry and a major boost in social Media use, KLM instead chose to create a Social Media department with people from all sides of its operations: “… a dedicated team creates synergy by sharing their expertise from a varied background including communications, e-commerce, customer care, ticketing, marketing, operations and cabin crew” [source]. Thereby making it possible to quickly and autonomously react to possible problems and easily involve other departments (volunteers) when needed.

And that meant that when their own IT services went down today they could immediately react and go beyond the normal realm of social media customer service and offer services that would otherwise not have been available.

They described their social media strategy and the process of how that came to be in this 4 part blog series. I can certainly recommend reading it as it is a really good (and entertaining!) read for all those interested in how big corporations tackle the ever expanding social media tidal wave that is hitting them.

Paving the way for others, KLM is certainly among those facing it head-on.

#StuffIBMersSay: testing IBM’s social elasticity

A while ago I wrote a blog post about a twitter meme that was going on where people were tweeting funny things IBM’ers had said with the hashtag #stuffIBMerssay. It became hot real fast and got over 3000 tweets and retweets before it died out after about a week. In my post I did that first day when it all started I stated “ps. Seeing a perfect opportunity here for IBM to use it’s new Analytic tools to analyze this social phenomena!” and well, it seems they have.

I knew they were working on it but hadn’t seen anything made public about it yet until I saw a blog yesterday from Keith Brooks with a link to the research report IBM did on this, the official research page for the meme and an interview with the researcher. It’s really interesting to read and I can see how analyzing this kind of social meme’s can help understand sentiment and feelings within organizations as well as how the rest of the world perceives an organization.

But what this impromptu phenomenon and IBM’s response to it showed best to me is that IBM really is striving to be a truly social organization. Being a social organization isn’t just about providing the tooling and ‘talking the lingo’, it is about recognizing and empowering the individuals within the organizational eco-system so that they can leverage their strengths to get the organization to a next level. That also implies allowing yourself to be viewed through the eyes of those individuals both for the good as well as for the bad and both on the inside (employees) as well as on the outside (partners, customers, contractors, etc). A daunting thing to do, especially when it happens unexpected, unplanned and uncontrolled, which is exactly what happened here. The fact that over 75% of the people who participated were from within the IBM organization itself and that they felt save to tweet about this and inject a lot of humor and banter without feeling they were harming the IBM organization or their own career shows a remarkable openness and engagement. I think that is exactly why this whole thing grabbed me the way it did back then…. and still does!


Nicely said but the real proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and for me that proof was that seven months on, the two people who unleashed it all, and whom I’ve been closely following ever since, still proudly list “Working @IBM” in their Twitter profile :)


Especially had to smile while reading this:

“Second, the qualitative analysis suggested that contributors to the #stuffibmerssay thread were also able to poke fun at the bureaucratic nature of a large global enterprise. We termed this “the Dilbert effect” where tweets served as satirical observations of how the processes within a large organization could be bewildering.”


So fitting with one of the tweets I quoted back then!

@FlemChrist: I swear that guy writing the Dilbert cartoon works here. #stuffibmerssay


Always wanted to be a Redbooks writer?

redbooklogoAs most of you know, there haven’t been many Redbooks published for the last few years for the Collaboration software of IBM as documentation has moved more into Wiki’s. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities to be become a Redbooks author. One of them is to join a Redbooks Thought Leader Residency. Those do not produce a Redbook but aim to produce series of blogs on specific topics. Some of which will eventually be combined into an actual Redbook.

I was really excited to be on one of those residencies (the first one for ‘Social media and Social Business’) last December and have been writing for the IBM Social Business Insights blog since then. A great experience as it gives you access to information and opportunities you would otherwise not have.

So why am I writing all this? Well because there is room for more bloggers on the team and there is going to be a second residency in August! So if you feel you have something to say about ‘Social’ and aren’t afraid to voice an opinion then don’t hesitate and apply. From experience I can say it’s worth it!


iPad: One year on

Got a Memolane reminder of tweets from a year back this morning and noticed this one:

I can’t believe it’s a year already! And more importantly I can’t believe how important it has become since then.

I use my iPad more then any other device, and take it everywhere. It allows me to quickly read my mail, check things online, write blogs, read books, relax by playing games (Mahjong & Wordfeud, I’m no hardcore gamer), Skype with my friends and check my social streams. But it does more. It allows me to follow my favorite podcasts, serves as a wakeup alarm, keeps my groceries list, tells me what weather to expect and allows me to take snapshots of quirky situations I get myself in (and post them!).
It has literally penetrated every inch of my life.

I can’t do without but at the same time it is also causing me to spend way more time ‘connected’ then I ever was. Don’t get me wrong, I love being connected but I also love unwinding and right now I’m thinking I don’t get enough of that.

So when the iPad3 (or ‘New iPad’) came out I stood in dubio. Should I or should I not… Apart from the better screen & camera it had more or less all functionalities my old iPad had… Eventually I decided not and used the money I had set aside to buy a fantastic new camera. An old fashioned one as in: ‘it doesn’t come with an internet attachment’, and I love it. It allows me to look at the world differently, not just from the perspective of ‘this would make a funny Instagram picture!’ but as in ‘wow, what a beautiful composition’.

(First attempts one day after getting it. Still getting the hang of it and absolutely an amateur…)

So will I never go for the iPad 3? Oh I will probably. I know myself and as soon as I see a valid reason for it (like my battery life expectancy going down lately) I will most likely upgrade. It is my favorite piece of equipment as I said and I can’t do without but just a better camera or a retina screen is not enough to win me over right now. Especially as the quality of pictures I can take with my new camera is so much better.
But most importantly because it’s time I spend a bit more time offline…