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Dreamforce 2023 - KLM consolidates customer data with Service Cloud, contemplates AI's potential

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels September 13, 2023
Airline uses Service Cloud to take customer experiences to new heights.

KLM image

Dutch airline KLM has been looking to find a way to handle information from eight social media channels and provide 24/7 support to customers in 10 languages. To that end, the carrier is using Salesforce Service Cloud to create a one-stop-shop for customer information and a data-led platform for new customer experiences.

KLM started thinking about Service Cloud before COVID and scaled up its deployment in response to the unfolding crisis.Véronique van Houwelingen, Solution Manager for Conversational Technology at Air France KLM, says the implementation of Service Cloud has provided an effective response to a complex business challenge:

We had too many applications, too many clicks, too much copy, and too much training was needed. We didn't have a 360-degree view. We also had limited case management, so those were all reasons to look for a proper CRM tool.

KLM is now coming out of the product phase of the implementation and 95% of service centers are now connected to the Service Cloud platform. The platform provides big benefits in comparison to the previous way of working, says van Houwelingen:

It helps our agents to do their work more efficiently, with higher quality and to actually focus on what they are good at – connecting to our customers.

On a day-to-day basis, van Houwelingen says the technology helps to support a “happy flow”, which means the company is recognising the requirements of its customers. As well as booking information, KLM’s service agents can check journey status, check-in availability, and also eligibility for claims and refunds:

We now have a 360-degree view of our customers. The agent doesn't have to switch tools for this information. It's all in one place. So, that really saves them time. And we’re trying to add something for the customer. We really believe that if we deliver outstanding service that people will come back to us.

This laser-like focus on service will guide the next stage of the Salesforce expansion, says van Houwelingen. In October, her team will go live with an internally-developed tool that helps service agents inform customers about up-to-date information, such as check-in availability. This information will be displayed in the service agent’s user interface.

The good news, says van Houwelingen, is that the business provides full support for her team’s work. In fact, perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping pace with Salesforce’s rapid rate of innovation:

Salesforce is delivering more and more features. These features all look very beautiful and, on a day-to-day basis, it's also important to try and keep on par with your technology partner.

Her team regularly asks technology peers and call centre staff to consider the kinds of features they’d like to see next. Those features might include use cases around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT. The team is bringing this information together and will start to think about which use cases could be turned into a proof-of-concept study:

We’ll be thinking about which partners can do the job best for us – and those partners, of course, include Salesforce.

Taking to the skies

At Dreamforce this week, van Houwelingen is using the event to gather more information and gain more insights about what generative AI means for the future of the call center:

Today, I think ChatGPT is probably seen as more of an assistant to assistants. I think that's what most service companies will probably say. But that's also because we are at the beginning of the hype cycle. We don't know yet where it will end and what it will look like. It might be able to do everything we can think of, but what will those advances mean for our businesses?”

This is the second time van Houwelingen has attended Dreamforce. While she really enjoyed the event last time out, she was overwhelmed by the number of relevant sessions. This time, she’s going prepared:

I’m currently creating my personal agenda to make sure I get the information I want, but also to make time to talk to peers or to do innovation sessions with other customers, such as those who are more mature in Einstein, for example. So this year, I’m going with more objectives for me and our organization.

This includes a set of questions to help her discover more about Einstein:

We don't have Einstein yet, but if a business has Einstein, I would like to know what was their struggle, what was their success, and what are their next steps? But I’d also like to connect to product management to also make sure we're part of pilots, influencing roadmaps, and to make sure we are heard.

Wherever KLM’s implementation of Salesforce goes next, van Houwelingen says the key thing to remember is that the company is already reaping the benefits from having a consolidated view of its service data:

For our end users, Salesforce is the tool where they can find their customer information, and where they can start to take the next steps to do things for our customers. They can then add that value to the conversations they have.

For all the highlights from Dreamforce 2023, check out our dedicated events hub here.

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