Customer Spotlight – InterMiles

The CEO shares his experience working with us

Manish is the CEO of InterMiles, which is the world’s leading travel and hospitality rewards program. He has got a wealth of experience in loyalty and customer experience, strategy, and digital and business transformation.

InterMiles today is a ubiquitous digital currency, which can be used across various platforms. All our initiatives, whether in the pipeline or already which have gone online, have been designed keeping in mind the customer mindset, how best can we engage with our members.

What we did, we strengthened our partnership in categories like shopping, et cetera. But during the COVID time, what we also did was we strengthened the partnership in e-learning, online subscription, healthcare, fitness, knowledge series, webinars to name a few. All this was possible because there was a platform which was available on which we could bring in partners and enable them through gateway integration.

I’ll give you an example of a recent innovation which was done. It was done in true partnership with Apexon. The ways to earn miles, the ways to get rewarded were changing in the lockdown scenario. And we wanted to be relevant to our customers in the sense which we were picking world’s health as a priority. We don’t have a health tech partner, but what we have is health insurance as a platform. So what we went through is look at how do we create a healthy lifestyle and be relevant in our members lifestyle. And from that perspective, the idea state, how do we reward members for their healthy habits and the most important and common thing came across as, how many steps do you take? Do you actually walk? Do you run? Do you jog?

So this idea came, it started off in June, 1st week. The POC, which Apexon did. Within 15 days, it got approved and then went into production. July end was the test run. And just last Monday, we released it in the market where it is in the app where members are getting rewarded for steps they take. So the whole concept is to stay relevant in the category. And we were able to do that in a faster manner and adapted because of the platform which was created along with Apexon.

Every single unit, every single department follows the same practice. Which essentially meant that most of our partners or most of our people are tuned towards working in Scrum or working in Kanban approach. Very few projects, and those are largely something in finance, et cetera, which are driven as the old style model. But the fact that the ability to go and test and learn was ingrained as a culture with the right partner, with Apexon who also believed the same approach. This effort, which we saw was a joint effort.

I think the overall approach of the business over a period of next few months will evolve. And the crus of this is largely to remain … How can we remain adaptable and agile as things will shape up. We are a travel centric brand and travel will be key going forward. The economy and business will come back. We need to be ready with our solutions, which are adaptable to the new normal, which will be there.

I’m impressed with the idea. From idea to executing and giving a proof of concept, the speed at which in three or four days, a proof of concept is on the table for us to look at. That’s impressive. Number two, when you’re looking at and thrashing that idea out there is one way. I can give you an idea and I can have a conversation and explain that idea. The other way is the other person builds on that idea and makes it something bigger. That’s one thing which I appreciate that people are able to understand and contextualize the business we are in and build on that idea to make sure that final solution or the architecture is scalable. And lastly, as I said, the architecture piece. These are the three things which I would say I’m quite impressed by. I’m very happy with the way we have come about and partnered with Apexon.

My intention is that with InterMiles, our members should never need another reward program. And therefore we would venture into creating digital products and digital capabilities, which will be mapping our members lifestyle. We have covered travel, we have covered some of the lifestyle areas. We still haven’t covered effectively financial services. We are building some of the financial services product. We just recently launched something at InterMiles everyday. We’re seeing significant traction on the InterMiles everyday. We see if this evolves, and if this is successful, we could create a product in itself with InterMiles everyday as a concept. The whole idea is, from a digital transformation is to assist us, to enable us to reach that particular objective and to fulfill a goal, which is fulfill members aspiration with a memorable, rewarding experience. The aspiration will keep on changing for different set of customers. How do we get a sizable set of customers and cohort, which will make it worthwhile for us to make that investment and to make it work for both our members, as well as our partners.