By Sooraj Rajmohan
Did you know Gojek’s Transport team (which oversees the ride hailing products of our SuperApp) has a ‘Pickup Experience’ pod?
No, we’re not helping you get better dates, you’re on your own there. ?
I’m talking about the customer pickup experience on booking a ride with us on GoRide (2-wheeler taxis) and GoCar (4-wheeler taxis).
You know the feeling. The feeling of going to a big mall in an unfamiliar place, trying to book a ride, but not knowing which is the most convenient pickup spot.
Do I try the north entrance? Oh wait, there’s a one-way there, might need to wait a long while.
Ah, I got a driver but I don’t know how to tell her which side I am on. Wait, there’s a Starbucks here. I’m in front of Starbucks!
Oh, you’re near McDonalds? Wait, maybe I can just come to you. But, how do I get to McDonalds now? ?♂️
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
Pickup points may seem like trivial things, but when you operate on a scale of millions of orders per day, smoother pickups which require less coordination (and time) mean our customers get places faster, and our driver partners earn more.
In this post, we’ll talk about how Gojek improved the pickup experience for customers and partners using Points of Interest (POI) — like a mall — and then streamlined pickups around these areas using Pre-Defined Pickup Points (PPOI).
Many of the cities Gojek operates in are highly congested urban settings, where locations are often not properly labelled on maps and pickup points can be hard to determine. This initially led to a lot of additional coordination between partners and customers over the phone, which is not the best use of anyone’s time.
In order to streamline this process, we first began identifying POIs in popular areas. Once this was done, we located areas around these landmarks where lots of pickups happened, and began suggesting them as pre-defined pickup points to our users. Making these suggestions within the app was the first step in reducing the cognitive load associated with pickups. (If you’d like to know how we identified these spots. Check out this post).
Our next step in the process was to provide customers some details about the quality of these locations. We started showing them more details about the pickup points near them—are they sheltered from weather, in case the driver needs a couple of minutes to reach them? If it’s night, is it well-lit?
But wait, there’s more…
PPOIs have contributed hugely to streamlining pickups and making life easier for our stakeholders. But what if the customer is new to an area and cannot easily identify the locations we’re suggesting? Could we do more?
Of course we could.
Up until recently, pickup points showed up as map pins on the customer app based on their location. We decided to add some additional functionality, starting with images.
If you’re making a booking from an unfamiliar location, or have unreliable GPS connectivity, how do you know you’re at the correct point suggested by the Gojek app? By adding images to the corresponding pins, we gave our customers the advantage of being able to visually confirm they were in the right place.
With the two-factor confirmation of GPS pin and visual, our customers could confirm their pickup point, and wait in peace. Not bad, eh?
At this point, our app could cater reliably to most of our users, whether it was regulars who already had a lot of context on ideal pickup spots or users who were new to an area. However, we wanted to go even further to make a more airtight solution. What if a user was near a pickup point, but did not know how to reach it?
This was a problem with significant impact, as a user walking a short distance to a nearby well-served pickup point would be significantly faster than a driver partner navigating to an unfamiliar location nearby. Driver partners would potentially run into obstacles like one ways, or areas in Jakarta where odd-even rules are implemented.
However, we didn’t want to put the onus of navigating to the PPOI on the user. The least we could do in return for their cooperation was help them with directions.
So that’s what we did.
Being able to leverage technology to help users book rides is an achievement in itself, one we’re proud of. But stopping at the solution is not how Super Apps are built. We exist to solve problems, and then delighting our users further through ease of use.
From vague pickup points defined by often inaccurate GPS pings, our pickup experience had evolved to the point where a user with zero knowledge of an area could easily identify the best location nearby for smooth pickup, understand whether it was convenient to wait at, navigate there, and confirm their arrival by sight. Utter delight. ?
That said, all our bookings don’t happen in dense urban areas with defined PPOIs. We’re working towards having PPOIs in most major areas, but sometimes, good old chat-based coordination is still the default fallback.
We did learn a thing or two from our experience of putting images on PPOIs, so we worked with Gojek’s Platform team (which handles our chat functionality), and baked in the ability to share images in Driver-to-Customer chat. Even if all else fails, our customers could still click a picture of their current location, and share it with our partners to help them identify it.
It’s safe to say that putting in the effort to help our customers get to their rides easily has paid off.
In the areas where we’ve deployed these features, we’ve seen pickup accuracy double on average. ✌
There’s always more.
Even as we continue to roll out this functionality across more regions we operate in, we’re working towards making it better—by allowing our users to give us feedback on how accurate our images/directions were, and even upload PPOI images themselves.
We’ll keep you updated on how we fare. In the meantime, follow us for more stories, and sign up for our newsletter! ?