I got an e-mail notification this morning from Kiva to let me know that my account had automatically sent out the balance to a new loan. Usually I just archive these notifications immediately, but this morning it reminded me how much I actually loved this feature. Let me explain...
I love everything about Kiva and I try to increase my lending on there every other month. In the past, I would lend out the money and then wait for it to be repaid. But I didn't always keep up-to-date with that repayment balance, which meant my account would accumulate for weeks (to $200 / $300) before I would send the money out on loan again. Essentially that meant that the funds I had earmarked as donations were just sitting - inefficiently - in my account.
A couple of months ago though (along with their redesign if I remember correctly), Kiva added an auto-lending option. What this does now, is that as soon as my account reaches the minimum loan amount of $25 it is sent to lenders in the demographic that I've specified (out of interest, I have a soft spot for food-related projects in Africa). In my mind, this is the perfect solution, because it doesn't even require me to log in, yet Kiva is getting the most out of my (passive) engagement as I'm still re-lending the money at a much more efficient rate.
User engagement is one of the leading metrics that startups are using at present and is much more accurate than - for example - total amount of users. Leading VC, Fred Wilson, also published a great article a while back on how you shouldn't be excluding your logged out users.
So in a world, where user engagement is everything (especially since it may just positively influence Customer Lifetime Value), it's these kind of "set & forget" features that can increase user engagement easily. Low-hanging fruit basically.
This same logic can apply to monthly subscription plans that are cheap. I know of a couple $5 subscriptions that I forget about every month, even though I barely use the service. Sure, this doesn't drive user engagement, but it brings in some passive revenue.
Just a few thoughts... What do you think? Does any of the services that you use have these "set & forget" features?