I don’t think I’ve seen a company put its money where its mouth is and actually deliver on social until this week’s lecture about KLM (a.k.a. Royal Dutch Airlines) and its Twitter account.

On the KLM Twitter cover photo, the company offers a pretty big and bold promise:

klm twitter promise

Wow, that’s a pretty quick response! Wish all vendors were that quick (or responded at all) on social media.

My first thought was, “how can they do that?” but I’m pretty sure I know the answer: They put resources into it. Resources in this case equal people because I don’t think we’ve created robots or software that are THAT good at social listening — yet. One of our reading assignments this week is to read about KLM’s social media strategy, so I’ll be excited to dive into that and learn more of the intricacies of how they actually are able to be on social for their customers 24/7/365.

This week’s lesson, “Relationships and the Human Voice,” puts a lot of emphasis on treating our customers like human beings, in essence, treating social relationships like real-life relationships. Isn’t part of being in a relationship being there for the other person pretty much any time they need you? In lecture, Justin used the example of starting a conversation with someone and then just walking away — you wouldn’t do that in real life, would you? I’ll take that one step further: If a customer was standing at your counter with a question, concern, complaint, or wanting to buy something, would you ignore them or take care of them? You would take care of them because your livelihood depends on it. So why are so many businesses leaving potential customers unattended at the social media counter?

I realize not every company can afford to allocate resources into having a social media army ready to respond to anyone within 18 minutes. But guess what? They should still respond as soon as possible. Don’t leave a customer hanging out to dry if they really need help or have a question, or even worse, if they are pissed off. Social media responding and listening needs to be a lot more important to a lot more companies than it currently is.