Value is created, in part, by things you don't "see". The business of running an airline is about more than just flying airplanes. In the case of Air France and KLM, together among largest airlines within the industry, it involves not only cabin staff but also thousands of staff members on the ground, to ensure high quality services and safe transportation across all seven continents.
Never waste a good crisis
In a world ruled by a global pandemic, Air France and KLM have been under tremendous pressure to keep their doors open and airplanes flying. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was an extra imperative to work smarter: –20% of all staff had to be let go. This may make sense for staff directly involved with the operation of flights, since there was a massive drop in demand for air travel world wide. However, for supporting departments, like marketing, communications, HR, or legal, the workload did not decrease much. While some of their colleagues left the organization, the remaining staff was put under increased pressure at work.
Therefore, the only way to retain the same level of service was by looking at ways to automate (parts of) business processes. Otherwise, the same work could not be done with a smaller headcount. This is where Air France and KLM's innovative spirit came into play. Together with Harmonizer, the Sales Communication team started their process automation journey.
Automating Air France and KLM's marketing communications
At Harmonizer, you could say we specialize in making all these backoffice operations run as smooth as possible from a data standpoint. Together with the Air France and KLM Sales Communications team, we started off by analyzing some of their core processes layer-by-layer and step-by-step. The challenge often lies in the fact that these processes involve several IT applications and data sources. This is where 'waste' in the process arises, in most cases because a manual effort is required to move data from one application to the other.
As is the case for many enterprises, Air France and KLM had made the move to ‘the cloud’ years ago. The cloud provides an environment suitable for automation across applications. Marketing, sales and communications teams often work with CRM, marketing automation, document management, and internal communication applications. Each of these tools provides value. But in many business processes, a combination of these tools is required to achieve the best results.
Nowadays, many of these tools, such as Salesforce sales and marketing applications, the Microsoft365 suite, and a social intranet like Winkwaves Harmonics provide extensive API's that can be used to send data across. Harmonizer sits in between these API's as the digital glue, removing any waste in the process.
To give some insight into how such an automation actually works, we will take you through some of the automations that Air France and KLM have built together with Harmonizer.
1. Automatically populating Air France and KLM's newsletter
Air France and KLM utilize Winkwaves Harmonics to publish important news updates, for instance regarding COVID-19 regulations or new flight routes. Every week, a newsletter goes out to a large audience of staff, customers and partners, for which the Salesforce marketing cloud platform is utilized. In the past, creating this newsletter was a matter of copy-paste and many changes to layout, imagery and markup, making it a very time consuming task.
Today with Harmonizer, news content is flawlessly and timely populated in an automated fashion. The right formats, images, markup, and attachments are directly applied. This shows the amount of customization Harmonizer can offer to 'mimic' the exact steps someone would normally take through manual actions.
The added value lies in the time saving this automation provides, but also in how fast the process can be executed. In the past, the Sales Communications team had to spend over a day compiling the newsletter by manually adding, reformatting, and copying the information from Harmonics. With the integration up and running, the newsletter gets auto-populated for the start of Monday, reviewed on Monday and is ready to go out at the start of Tuesday. This means information reaches the staff, customers and partners more timely, and the Sales Communications team can focus on other work on Monday, aside from the newsletter.
2. Providing the Sales team with crucial information
The daily activities of the B2B Sales team of Air France and KLM rely heavily on their Salesforce CRM dashboard. Every contact with a potential or existing customer or partner is initiated from the CRM. Therefore, having the most accurate and complete information in the CRM is crucial. It enables a Salesperson to provide their contacts with the most relevant information (such as Air France and KLM's latest service offerings as well as being able to ask the right questions (like ‘how did you enjoy the news publication we sent you last week?’).
Air France and KLM utilise Harmonizer to ensure this dashboard is enriched with any relevant information from other applications. For instance, the CRM will show which newsletters a contact
is signed up for, which is information synchronized from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform. In addition, the latest relevant news updates are populated from the Winkwaves Harmonics communications platform.
The value of this automation lies in the fact that the Sales team no longer needs to access three different systems to get a 360 degree view of their customers. All of the relevant information is now in a single place and they can start using this information proactively.
For instance, specific news updates or activity on an account may trigger the Sales team to reach out. This in turn will lead to a higher conversion of sales activity. Therefore, the integration will positively affect both sides of the P&L: lower costs due to time savings as well as more revenue due to a higher conversion rate.
Truly worry free automations
For Air France and KLM, engaging Harmonizer as their integrations partner is all about saving them time and taking away dull and repetitive work. However, the end users do not want to be bothered with the technical details of such integrations and do not want to deal with issues arising from changes in the connected applications. They want to focus on what they do best, while Harmonizer focusses on what it does best: providing worry free automations.
Harmonizer provides Air France and KLM with a managed service, meaning the integrations are monitored 24/7 and any hiccups are resolved without any need for involvement from Air France and KLM staff.
At Harmonizer, we are proud that we work for flagship brands such as Air France and KLM, and that they entrust us with their complex data needs.
Picture by Air France and KLM.