How we turned one customer review into a feature in our webapp

If you’ve been to Cuba recently and you used YoTeLlevo to find a driver and car to move around, you might be able to recognize at least three of these:

drivers-collage

That is because we decided that since you contacted our drivers directly, then you should see their faces as you talk to them via email. That’s why their emails bring a small picture along with what they replied to you, and you see their faces close to their words.

The conversations you establish with our drivers have been working like that for about three months now, and I think it is cool to see the face of the person you are talking to and who can potentially be your driver in the island -or even more than your driver, the first person you meet here.

But I know the face in the emails and a few words arranging a tour or transfer from the airport is not enough to engage with a remote person you don’t even know, so I’ve been thinking for quite some time now about how we could provide a way for the traveler to better know the drivers.

It turns out, I was questioning myself the wrong way. I almost forgot that in spite of the cool feature of meeting the person that is going to be your driver, YoTeLlevo is a driver with car hiring service. Did you notice what I highlighted there? with car. Yes, the car is important too -mind you o_0.

How do I know that? One of our customers let us know in an email after using our service (tldr; read the last paragraph):

paul rogers' review
Image quote created at quozio.com

Okay, Paul wrote a lot of nice things about our service -and much nicer things about Lois. I thank Paul for that -he also gave permission to use his words as testimonial.

But, did you notice what he said in the last part? It is not a complaint, but a hint on what we should do to improve the service. Paul is pointing us to the next step, and he even provides a use case that shows how important it is for a traveler to know details about the car in case he or she is carrying luggage. In terms of software development, you would say he is providing a very good user story.

Now, Paul is requesting that the drivers describe their vehicles when they respond. I know some already do that; they attach pictures of their cars. Not all do, and those who do it don’t do it all the time because attaching a picture in an email can be costly due to the very slow and unreliable Internet connection we have here.

So in some way, our drivers have been telling us for long that the car is important too. Of course, we are not totally dumb and we knew that the cars are important, but crucial? No, crucial no.

The thing is… it was crucial for Paul. Had he hired a different driver whose car didn’t suit his needs, his words would have been very different.

We should listen to Paul!

Or even better, we should do something about it.

But let us not do it straight. Let’s not ask the drivers to talk about their cars when they respond; the best case scenario of the driver describing the car on his own is when he attaches a picture of the car, but that would be asking too much from them and we would not be making sure it happens all the time.

Instead, let us ask them to send a picture of their cars to us once, and we will create a profile page of each of them showing those pictures. With that, we could simply add a link to the driver’s profile page along with his avatar and his response in the emails. The traveler would have instant access to some pictures of the driver and the car the moment she receives a response. Simple and powerful.

Would that be okay Paul? - I asked Paul in a further email.

That is even better, Martin. Make sure you talk about their proficiency in English too as some travelers might need that.

We certainly will ;) What else would you need?…

So, we quickly put a bunch of pictures of our drivers’ cars together and created profile pages like these of Lois, Roberto, Osvaldo, Rubén, Ernesto or Felipe (and we have more), which you’ll be able to visit as you talk to them  -or right now:

Spoiler alert: The design of the profile pages is not very… well, it is crappy right now, actually. For now it serves a practical purpose only: that you see the driver’s car.

After doing this, it looks straightforward and also weird that we didn’t realize a solution like this before. That’s part of the evolution of every startup, I guess.

This solution is even scalable since everything about our drivers can be added in their profile pages. And the drivers could promote their own profile pages which will generate traffic to us. And travelers could review the driver’s services in their profile pages and leave comments. And… you get the idea.

(…)

And that’s pretty much it. That is what I wanted to show you. I know it is not fancy but it is a showcase of what we can do for our customers and how we should listen to them so we can improve ourselves.

I’m now going to tell Paul that not only did his review turn out to be very valuable, but he provided us with material to write this blog post!