Topic of the Week: Is it Smart to Publicize a Social Media Response Time?

KLM has long been heavily involved in social media, but last week it didn’t something interesting. It started publishing the amount of time it will take for people to get a response. When I looked, here’s what Twitter showed.

KLM Response Time

A 31 minute response time seemed strangely precise. But after KLM failed my test of their 1 hour guarantee two years ago, I had to give it a shot. Sure, enough, my question was answered in a mere 22 minutes.

KLM Conversation

This can certainly backfire, but is there enough benefit for the airline to make it worth updating this number constantly? (It updates every 5 minutes.)

(Visited 75 times, 1 visits today)

Get Posts via Email When They Go Live or in a Weekly Digest

Leave a Reply

12 Comments on "Topic of the Week: Is it Smart to Publicize a Social Media Response Time?"

newest oldest most voted

Enquiries on twitter are very similiar to phoning a call centre. A good (but very busy) call centre will give the following message to those hanging on the phone “We value your call and will answer you as soon as possible. You are a queue position number 9 and we expect to answer your call within the next 11 minutes”.
Twitter doesn’t have quite the same urgency pressure – people can be doing other things while waiting for a response, but providing some sort of (varying) time commitment to a response encourages customers to maintain contact.


it would be nice to know how long to wait for a response. I have had instant responses and ones that have taken an hour. By setting the expectation, even low, KLM is giving customers a better idea than what they have in their head!

David SF eastbay

Would be interesting to know how they do when a flight is delayed or canceled at the last minute and 200 people on the flight start wanting answers via Twitter

Greg Wesson

I think this is a brilliant idea – as long as KLM can keep the promise. As Noah above said, as long as the set an expectation they can at least match (and hopefully beat), I think people will be satisfied. If, however, they can’t meet the timeframes they set, that will just upset people more.

Nick Barnard
The response time is strangely precise because they update it as they go on. Currently its at 11 minutes. I’m really interested in what software they’ve got generating that information. Since they’re updating it every five minutes, they’re probably doing something like looking at the oldest unanswered tweet versus the tweets answered per minute in the last five and doing a little math. Its a nice simple innovation on twitter, but it is something we’ve had on call queues forever and a half. That being said, I still can’t make heads or tails out of their response. Its good they… Read more »

Forget the response time, an answer to the actual question would be beneficial….


Cranky, KLM didn’t answer your question. I would rather wait an hour for an actual answer than receive a tweet in 22 minutes that has no helpful information in it.

People seem to be thinking that this is a promise, NOT a calculation based on previous interactions. I run a software company where we have trouble tickets. We implemented a system similar to this, when a customer is entering a ticket, we mention the time that it took us to close the last 15 tickets. However, we include a disclaimer that this is not a promise but an estimation based on previous tickets. More complicated issues may take more time to resolve. As for them updating the number, it takes no effort on their part – it’s probably part of… Read more »