Air France-KLM Soars to New Heights with API-first Approach
Streamlined customer experience, greater loyalty, fast time to market for digital capabilities
The airline group that includes KLM, Air France, and low-cost carrier Transavia was aiming to become the most customer-centric in Europe. There are a lot of steps involved with air travel, and Air France-KLM wanted to streamline the process to improve the customer experience.
Air France-KLM implemented an API-led customer-centric strategy with TIBCO Cloud Integration and TIBCO Cloud Mashery software. It connected its vast environment of applications and data to provide partners, developers, and end-users with a seamless experience—and the business with the ability for agile change.
Streamlined Customer Experience, Improved Customer Loyalty
APIs make it easy to connect systems, and for apps to consume digital services, which leads to streamlined experiences. Air France-KLM wanted to streamline the travel experience for its customers by ensuring applications across every relevant channel—call center, kiosk, mobile, travel agency, web—are synced and aligned to the same process.
"We make sure all of our customer processes are delivered via APIs and make any necessary changes within the API. That way, all customer channels are profiting from faster innovation," explained Stijn Bannier, digital product manager of open APIs.
By connecting customer channels via APIs, the company can make one change and it updates several customer and partner channels without changes needed to individual platforms. Its API-first strategy has increased Air France-KLM's Net Promoter Score by 20%, which means the group's mission of being the most customer-focused is on track. “Where we try to stand out, especially in Europe, is to be the most customer-centric carrier with the best network that takes people to the other side of the world and creates memorable experiences,” said Bannier.
Fast Time-to-market for Digital Capabilities
Connected systems and API management help Air France-KLM deliver digital capabilities much, much faster. It can iterate capabilities and offerings without dealing with backend complexity. Using APIs, digital product teams can ideate, implement, and go live with new digital services for both customers and partners in rapid fashion.
The airline has been taking advantage of the collaboration APIs afford, both within the company and with outside partners. There are dozens of teams developing and managing APIs, and they are working more closely than they did in the past to bring new ideas faster. While it used to take several months for back- and front-end changes, API updates, testing, and deployment, now it takes only about 1.5 months—about 81% faster time to market for new mobile app features.
APIs also make it easier to connect and do business with partners. The group's loyalty programs and those of its partners (hotels and transportation services) are all accessible to program members. "Our partnering companies can consume the same APIs and add or use credits from the customer’s loyalty account." By collaborating with businesses in related industries, Air France-KLM is broadening customer loyalty, an approach the group is excited about. "These are the new opportunities we see in partnering with other companies. We have an open ecosystem, and we’re ready," Barrier said.