Can the airline industry further improve their CEM in the social media arena?

In the last years some airline companies have done a magnificent work using the social media arena to engage with their customers. A well-known example is Dutch airline company KLM. They have truly tried to grasp the growing of the technology and implement it in their strategy. KLM has used social media to further develop their business based on the customer feedback. An example is the lost and found team where a dog is used to return the lost items to the passengers faster and more efficiently. Still you have to wonder, will the airline industry ever reach a roadblock in the social media arena?

We have seen a lot of unique and creative use of the social media arena by airline companies, but perhaps the use of social media is not enough as they had expected. Just as it has been said by Thomas (2010), “social media is “CRM for millennia” but not just a simple marketing tool and its form may be different in the future, but it’s not going away.” Most likely airlines use the three strategic criteria to assess their current channel combinations (Wilson et al., 2008). Assessing if they are reaching all the potential customers with their strategy. Are the customers having the experience that the airline wants to provide with them and the costs to serve the relationship during contact?

(Wilson et al., 2008)

The gap right now that can be used in the social media arena to further engage with customers is the use of videos and texting. Video and texting is becoming the new language in the travel industry. There is the possibility of using the 360 degrees video to further improve the engagement with customers. However, airline companies of course have to find a unique creative way to make that engagement. Regarding the mobile messaging companies might want to use the innovation wheel of the multichannel strategy (Wilson et al., 2008) and focus on the last section of the innovation wheel, to stimulate the customers to use the channel of mobile messaging even further. If of course, the airline company sees it as a beneficial investment and as an opportunity to improve the customer engagement.

In conclusion there is a chance that the airline companies might hit a roadblock regarding the social media arena. There is only so much you can do with social media. It’s the trends that keep developing during the years in combination with social media that keeps the success of social media going. Because, if you just use social media in the basic way that it is intended to, you won’t really be able to engage with your customer in a unique way.


Haar, G. (2015). What Has KLM Learned From 5 Years of Social Media Service? – KLM Blog. KLM Blog. Retrieved 10 October 2016, from

Kirtiş, A. & Karahan, F. (2011). To Be or Not to Be in Social Media Arena as the Most Cost-Efficient Marketing Strategy after the Global Recession. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 24, 260-268.

Peelen, E. (2005). Customer relationship management. Harlow, England: FT Prentice Hall.

Thomas LM. 2010. Sending marketing messages within social networking, Journal Of Internet Law

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