The KLM Service Design Studio

What happens when you give your employees all the space they need to make customers happy? With KLM's Passenger Services, we set out to investigate.

Many of the tasks that used to be done by a KLM employee have been replaced by self services. From labeling your suitcase to checking in for your flight. This has drastically changed the role of the KLM Agents. Whereas before she used to sit behind a counter, now she walks around making travelers feel welcome and comfortable. Hospitality has taken on an important role in daily work at Schiphol.

For an organization where clear processes and good timing are crucial, such a change is quite a challenge.

Pride is Blue
• Schiphol Airport
• 2011 – 2013

Om passagiers zich nog meer thuis te laten voelen op Schiphol werkt KLM voortdurend aan het verbeteren van haar dienstverlening. Een proces waarin de beleving van reizigers centraal staat. Maar hoe pak je dat aan? In 2012 was dit nog best een uitdaging, want wat vraag je ze? En gaat het niet al heel goed, want het is tenslotte Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij?

‘Wat betekent [ . . . ] voor u?’ was de basis van iedere vraag waar we mee aan de slag gingen. Door middel van ontwerpend onderzoek en co-creatie met medewerkers zijn we vele experimenten gestart. Op deze manier gingen de KLM agents het gesprek aan met reizigers. En met elkaar. Op zoek naar kansen voor vernieuwing.

Wall of Inspiration

One of the experiments was the Wall of Inspiration. This was a mobile whiteboard that was set up at a different gate daily. What are your tips for the flights destination?
• Co-creation
• Prototyping
‘I was flying KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, from Amsterdam to New York. At the waiting area near the gate was a huge whiteboard, KLM’s wall of inspiration, with a heading “Things to do in New York.” The flight crew was there, encouraging all passengers to participate by writing what they should do in the Big Apple.
The entire crew, other than the pilots, was there to interact with the passengers before the flight and engage them in an inspirational activity related to their pending destination. They even took a Polaroid picture of me writing on the big board and handed it to me with a “Thank you for your inspiration!” card.
I had never flown KLM before – but would certainly look for an opportunity to do it again.’

No day here is the same

Working at KLM at Schiphol Airport means collecting stories. You experience so much, you could write a book about it. And that's exactly what we did. As with all other projects, the book was created in co-creation with employees. Together we determined what the stories should be about and they conducted the interviews. While everyone is super proud of the end result, the process was just as important. It has become a beautiful book, but the real work happened at Schiphol. There, where the employees took the time to share each other's stories.
Design Research

At KLM, there is no shortage of pride and people orientation. The challenge was to be even more conscious of this. We succeeded! KLM now has a Chief Experience Officer and the design-driven approach has become a natural way of working.

Want to know more about how to develop a customer-driven organization? We'd love to tell you more about it.

Design in
the service
of people