Boingo saw an opportunity. It recognized enlisted military living in the barracks of Army, Marine Corps and Air Force bases as an underserved market. By def inition, this customer would be a challenge to retain though as they are constantly uprooted, transient and subject to relocation beyond their control and sometimes without advance notice. But what if you create a network that extends beyond just one base? That’s precisely what the company did.
With no installation appointments or truck roll, Boingo Broadband is designed to fit into a soldier’s mobile lifestyle. Customers can easily sign in to the Boingo-networked base, made up of more than a million WiF ihotspots globally, without having to change their accounts. This is a huge perk. “If they’re transferred or deployed to another base, they are able to get connected without any issue. It’s part of the entire platform. It’s completely wireless, it connects all the different device types that a customer may have, and so far it’s been a really great product for us,” says product and customer experience vp Scott Ewalt.
And the customers are satisf ied. “I have enough to worry about when I move from base to base,” according to PV1 Lucas Portzel, a Boingo Broadband customer stationed at Fort Carson. “The last thing I need to worry about is waiting hours upon hours for an appointment just to have my cable installed…The IPTV and WiF iservice moves with me wherever I go and will just work when I’m at a new base.”
In a word, Boingo’s customer service strategy is proactive. That’s their mantra, and they walk the walk. For instance, the company sends out SMS text messages to subscribers alerting them of potential service outages as a result of inclement weather or military construction. In conjunction with the SMS texts are web pages deployed in real time to provide more detail on various outages. All this is done on a cellular device as well to accommodate customers’ consumption patterns. The company also communicates new upgrades to the service and marketing events through social media and email. And it has a detailed FAQ section on its website that’s updated in real time.
In the event of direct customer inquiries, a real person responds to a service member’s needs. “The way in which we view customer care is not as a call center. It allows us to gain incredible insights into what’s happening in the f ield and we can leverage those insights to improve and enhance our products,” Ewalt says. “We use it as a very powerful feedback group… As we’ve grown our customer base, we’ve been able to decrease the volume of contacts that we’ve had on a YOY basis.”
Another big plus for this demo: There is no annual contract. “We’ve provided a lot of fl exibility with respect to the product,” Ewalt says. “And we have to be aware of the demographic of our customers. It’s not delivering a general market cable solution; it’s mostly 18-24-year-old males in this group, so we have to be aware of the touch points of communication to engage them with.” That translates to communicating on social and mobile. “Our agents are frequently monitoring Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to understand what are customers saying and being part of the conversation and their lives.”
And here’s a bonus: The service is also a top revenue generator. Since launching in Camp Pendleton in 2014, distribution has expanded to include 58 bases and Boingo Broadband now accounts for 25% of revenue for 2016.
– Kaylee Hultgren