APEX in Profile: Ryanne Van Der Eijk


Ryanne Van Der Eijk
Senior Vice-President Customer Experience

Ryanne has an extensive background in the hospitality and travel business in the Netherlands and abroad. As a results-oriented people manager and executive, she maintains a continuous focus on changing an operational company into a customer-driven organization. After more than 20 years with KLM in various management roles, she now oversees Customer Experience for the airline, reporting to the CEO.

Location: AMS
Now reading: Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
The future of flight will be: Customized
Favorite Airport: AMS
Favorite Aircraft: B787
Paper or electronic boarding pass? Electronic

What are some of the hurdles currently faced by an airline trying to improve the customer experience?
Having all staff, not just customer-facing staff, realize how they contribute to the customer journey. We are always looking for ways to improve the 360 degree feedback of our customers and have staff apply the right information at the right time.

Social media is very important. It is an easy, personalized and quick way to interact with your passengers.

How important is social media for an airline in the digital age?
Very. It is an easy, personalized and quick way to interact with your passengers. However, at times of disruptions, it is almost impossible to keep up with all those personal contacts.

What new technology do you think will have the most impact on the airline passenger experience?
I think all technologies that have human interactions will have the biggest impact. They also need to be good and in place, up to standards – but the personal interactions will make the difference.

Is there anything you think the hospitality industry is doing well that the airline industry could improve on?
Treating every passenger as an individual. Call them personally instead of sending standardized letters. Listen to their feedback and apply it when possible. Improve the 360 degree feedback of your passengers so all staff are aware of the customer experience. Train your staff inline with hospitality standards.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?
Working for charity abroad.

Every job has a cool factor: What’s yours?
The extensive range of challenges that come across my desk.

What’s the one item you can’t travel without?
My iPhone.

Something that only a frequent flyer would understand?
That not everything can be fixed right away. Providing a good explanation is crucial in keeping frequent flyers loyal.

Two things that you miss most about home when you’re traveling?
My favorite breakfast and my kids.

Your top three films of all time?
The Power of One, Sliding Doors and The Best of Youth.