Abdul Rashid, Backrub, and now, Intermiles

I remember picking our daughter’s middle name just on deadline. It was an intense research program to find names that were beautiful, meaningful, usable and that would travel well. In the corporate world logos have declining value, which smart companies realize – Facebook just changed its corporate logo to, well, FACEBOOK. (The era of the million-dollar logo is at an end!)

But what about names? Intermiles is an inoffensive bland name, but the big story is that it is the erstwhile loyalty program of the now-defunct Jet Airways rebranding and relaunching itself as a travel rewards card. While it earlier wanted to you to have loyalty to the airline, now it wants you to have loyalty to itself. Intermiles rewards you for travel, stay, shopping, and using co-branded cards. In its new avatar competitors would be online travel aggregators like MakeMyTrip. Is it a lucrative space? The financials of incumbents would say otherwise. Will people pay for an amazing customer experience? Yes, a premium is possible, as Amazon and American Express have proven.

I was listening to a podcast by Joe Pine, the author of a book, The Experience Economy, and he mentions that there are two types of customer experiences – “time well-spent” and “time well-saved”. In either context, you charge the customer for their time – spent or saved. Most connected experiences consist of customizing a disparate set of commoditized offerings to provide something unique to the customer. Why is this so hard?  Because you have to crunch data about each customer and then curate an omni-channel, omni-provider experience that they value. You have to manage a large eco-system of providers in real-time and crunch their data too. It’s a Jeeves meets Sheldon Cooper scenario.

How can you put together such an experience? I’d strongly suggest our article on how to build a modern customer experience created for Let’sTalkCx in association with Oracle. This is the era of the CX land-grab – if you don’t own your customer loyalties someone else will.  And once an Amazon, Netflix, Swiggy, Uber, or American Express shows them how to spend their time meaningfully, they won’t be satisfied with the old ways any more.


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