MileWise is a web/phone application that helps you save money by maximally utilizing your various airplane reward programs (ex: Alsaka mileage plan). Once you sign up and add your various mileage/reward plan accounts into their system, you can search for a particular trip and it would print out various suggestions that save mileage for future flights. Its main landing page is showed as follows:
This post will focus on MileWise’s customer retention and referral strategies. I’ll focus on 4 different perspectives (1) The bottom line: product (2) social media sites (3) customer support (4) referral program
(1) The bottom line: product: Compare to my experience using other travel search sites like Expedia and PriceLine, both MileWise’s web and mobile app are very easy to understand and use. On the website, a simple three tabs, Search/Explore/Account, satisfy pretty much what I expect to do for using MileWise. The “Explore” page contains Pinterest-like photo tabs that are interesting for me to spend more time on the website or the app, while at the same time it contains sufficient incentives, the dollars and saving information, to drive customer on using their core service to generate revenues.
In the account page, MileWise includes an easy-to-grasp graphic report on how well you have done on saving for your travel, and a volunteering surveys to further improve personalized travel search (probably by machine learning techniques similar to the one I posted before ). In my opinion, MileWise could further improve this section for customer retention/referral by adding gamification elements. For example, to offer badges and ranks for top trip saving users (and even award them for small amount of mileage), to share users’ best saving practices (in a privacy-concerned way), and make the survey more interesting and less tedious to complete (currently it took me to answer almost 20 questions to get to %100 complete on travel profile ). Also, I did not get any email welcome page/first user tips/good deals from MileWise, and it might improve customer retention if they do so.
(2) Social Media site: MileWise’s Facebook and Twitter pages are both very interesting and engaging to retain customers. On its FB page, MileWise posted a balanced materials of graphics and texts, fun stuff and self-promotion, company-generated materials and shared links. The frequency is not too often to have a feel of spamming, of about once/twice a week. On the Twitter page the conversations are more frequent, almost everyday. Finally, MileWise’s blog post focuses more on education and updates of its products. Overall I think MileWise does an excellent jobs on utilizing social media sites for engaging customers. Some further suggestions might be to announce deals through its social media sites.
(3) Customer support: In my opinion, I think MileWise does Really Well on customer support. On their website they have a FAQ section, contact us, and more, a live chat support. From their Twitter page their responses to customers were very timely and helpful. From their apps, they have a “feedback” email function in the “more” tile, and it automatically pops up a feedback survey for you when I tried their apps for a while (which you could easily delay/deactivate it). Finally, MileWise gives useful tips while they search and process your travel inquiry. A slight suggestion for improvement is perhaps a quick walk-through when the users first download this app, and make the customer support functionality also in the app (without overly complicate it).
(4) Referral program: MileWise currently practices organic referral strategies. For example, they have the standard social media/email share functionality in its main page, explore page, and in travel search results. Furthermore, they thank every users that compliment and mention their products on Twitter page. In my opinion, MileWise might be able to add referral programs similar to Dropbox to give users extra mileage/coupon code by referring MileWise to their friends, or has some “gift” functionality for users to refer and send deals to their friends. Finally, I did not find any Youtube videos about MileWise, and perhaps a viral promote video might be helpful for customer referral.
To summarize, MileWise does an excellent jobs on customer support by its multiple help channels (FAQ, live chat, Twitter) and on customer referral by sincere thank-you replies on social media sites. It could explore gamification strategies for customer engagement/ community building and mileage/coupon reward strategies for customer referral.