KLM (Air France) and the Static TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model


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Annemiek van Moorst (Global CEM International Partner – The Netherlands) and her partner were most concerned with the local newspaper, Italian bread, and an unpleasant odor on a KLM flight. These were the deliverables of different channels or functions during their in-flight experience. When we map all the relationships between each touch-point experience and its respective channels, we design a two-dimensional and static TCE Model [1].

Figure 1 – Static TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model—Airlines

My KLM Experience
by Annemiek van Moorst, Global CEM International Partner – The Netherlands

To get to our house in Italy from time to time my partner and I fly from Amsterdam to Bologna. The only airline that offers a direct flight is KLM Cityhopper. The aircraft is usually a Fokker F70, which flies three times a day, taking less than two hours. Everything is arranged smoothly; we almost never experience considerable delays; and the flight personnel are friendly.

A couple of years ago, KLM introduced two cost saving measures that annoyed me. First, KLM stopped offering newspapers – I regret this a lot as reading the paper made me feel like coming home. Then, they downgraded the meal to two Italian rolls with some kind of filling. Since the food is included in the flight fare, you don’t have a choice; you might as well eat it as you have already paid for it.

On a few occasions, we experienced a bad smell, like dirty socks, in the plane. I remember once I blamed a man wearing sneakers who was sitting close by. A couple of months ago, there was a documentary on Dutch television regarding the Fokker airplanes. It claimed that due to oil leakage in the engines a toxic substance may enter the aircon system, which causes the nasty smell of dirty socks and may cause aerotoxic syndrome, a disease of the central nervous system So when you smell this, the air is not okay. This fact is known to all airlines but the real cause is never explained. How important are the crew and customers if the air they breathe is polluted? I prefer to go by car.”

As frequent flyers of KLM, Annemiek and her partner could be the perfect focus group candidates for advice on how to enhance the in-flight experience for short-haul flights. While listening to the voices of customers is considered a top priority to most airlines, who does listen and who should be listening to their voices, particularly about the in-flight experience? The answer is the relevant channels and functions that co-deliver the particular touch-point experience.

Definitions and Types of Channels
What do we mean by channels? Channels can be defined as touch-points, such as face-to-face, call center, and web; or as functions in a commercial company, such as marketing, sales, and customer service; or as entities, such as departments or divisions of a government or NGO. Touch-point experience has to relate to channels; it is channels that deliver the respective touch-point experience. There are different kind of relationships between channels and touch-point experiences, and these differences will affect the composition of the TCE Model.

A single touch-point experience may be delivered by different touch-points independently, e.g. when a customer wants to inquire about a particular product or service, she may choose among touch-points such as visiting the retail branch, calling the call center, or viewing the website. So when a customer calls the hotline to inquire, it is a touch-point experience occurring at a single touch-point, the call center.

The call centre, or any other touch-point such as a retail branch or the website, is itself a touch-point; it does not become a touch-point experience, say, the inquiry experience, until the customer calls to inquire. By the same token, it may become another touch-point experience, say, a complaint experience, if the customer calls to complain. The call center itself is neutral—it is a touch-point and remains as a touch-point only—and it becomes a touch-point experience only when a customer interacts, in this case, calls for a particular purpose to inquire or to file a complaint. Touch-point is not touch-point experience, and vice versa, so try not to mix them up!

On the other hand, a single touch-point experience can be delivered by more than one touch-point at the same time, for example, when you are purchasing online, you may call the hotline for assistance. In that case, two touch-points, online and call center, are used to complete your purchase experience. Similarly, a single touch-point experience can be delivered by more than one function. During Annemiek’s in-flight experience, the local newspaper was delivered by IFE (In-Flight Entertainment), the Italian bread by catering (Operations), and the disgusting odor by the aircraft (Product). A touch-point experience can be delivered by more than one function or channel.

The Static TCE Model
When we have mapped all the relationships between each touch-point experience and the corresponding channels as shown in Figure 1, we derive a two-dimensional—touch-point experiences (denoted horizontally by TX1 to TX12) and channels (denoted vertically by C1 to C6)—and static TCE model, to depict the matrix of these relationships.

Now, everyone, no matter which function or department they belong to, can have a bird’s eye view of how their organization, by different channels, without regard to touch-points, functions, or entities, interacts with customers at different life-stages and throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Each channel can visualize their own work and correlate it with the total customer experience. The map also depicts the total customer experience by different life-stages or by phases, depending on the goals of the organization, such as acquisition, retention, growth, or referrals. It gives an unprecedented common view and common language for everyone in the organization to manage the total customer experience.

In the next section, “Section FIVE: American Airlines and the Dynamic TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model“, we are going to add importance levels—the third dimension—on top of touch-point experiences and channels, thus transforming the static TCE Model into a dynamic one.


1. TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model is based on the United States patent-pending Branded Customer Experience Management Method invented by Sampson Lee, president of Global CEM (Global Customer Experience Management Organization), in 2007.

This document “Total Customer Experience (TCE) for Airlines” is composed of five sections. Part of the content of four sections are contributed by the Global CEM International Partners: Annemiek van Moorst from the Netherlands, Candice Chee from Singapore, John Chisholm from the United States, and Silvana Buljan from Spain, and in the foreword by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink, in the United States.

Section ONE: Total Customer Experience (TCE) for Airlines
Section TWO: Lufthansa and Total Customer Experience (TCE)
Section THREE: Air Asia and Touch-point Experience
Section FOUR: KLM (Air France) and the Static TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model (current section)
Section FIVE: American Airlines and the Dynamic TCE (Total Customer Experience) Model


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