Car Next Door: Delivering company-wide data-driven workflows

About Car Next Door

Car Next Door is an Australian company that facilitates peer-to-peer car rental, a system by which individuals may rent privately owned vehicles on an hourly or daily basis to other registered users of the service.

Industries: Transportation
Location: Australia
Products: Looker

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How Looker helps them boost customer experience, drive product development, and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Google Cloud results

  • Personalized messaging to customers and prospects to keep borrowers safe on the road and ensure they know about new cars available locally
  • Boosted customer experience, including reduced support ticket time resolution by 85%
  • Product development focused on customer features and updates, closing a 10% product usage gap by identifying and listening to customers

97% increase in efficiency for the process of adding new datasets

For years, Australia-based car-sharing service Car Next Door relied on a homegrown data analytics solution. Over time, the fast-growing company’s internal development team invested a disproportionate amount of time servicing data requests rather than product development. By switching to Looker, Car Next Door gained company-wide access to trusted data, along with the power to make better decisions and the flexibility to deliver custom data experiences to meet all user needs. Along the way, Looker uncovered insights that led to the creation of new applications that boosted the customer experience, drove product development, generated substantial cost savings, and helped Car Next Door continue on its mission to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Car Next Door is making an impact with its unique car-sharing service to help foster a cleaner, greener environment. Through the Car Next Door platform, neighbors help neighbors reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions by safely, easily, and cost-effectively sharing their idle cars by the hour, by the day, or for longer periods of time. Car Next Door estimates that for every car that’s shared, there are up to 10 fewer cars on the road, as car borrowers are less likely to purchase and use their own vehicles.

That’s good news for the environment. On average, the process of manufacturing an automobile creates as much carbon as carbon used during the vehicle’s lifetime. The Sydney company was launched in 2012, with 20 cars and 60 borrowers. By 2019, the total number of shared cars increased to more than 3,000. With its environmentally conscious ethos, Car Next Door offsets the carbon produced from every mile that’s driven. To date, offsets have planted 40,500 trees in biodiverse Australian forests.

Faster, more reliable analytics with true business value for everyone

Chief Technology Officer, Dave Trumbull, found persistent problems with the company’s in-house data analytics tool, which required days of developer time to change a simple statistic or fine-tune a chart. While the entire company could access dashboards and some high-level data, employees could not use data effectively because of the time and resources required to pull information from various sources. Data dumps were requested via the development team, which resulted in delays and outdated data.

There also were issues with inconsistent metric definitions and data accuracy. Users typically worked with static data in spreadsheets, so human errors were often undetectable, causing distorted results. Relying on 20 people to use the same spreadsheets and interpret information the same way was nearly impossible, resulting in inconsistent conclusions from the same set of data. Trumbull searched for a way to relieve the burden on the development team with a solution that would make data easily accessible to the company at large. In addition, he wanted to provide real value across multiple aspects of the business—from marketing and customer support to fleet management and platform development—to help propel growth and innovation.

While Trumbull and his colleagues looked at several visualization tools, they ultimately selected Looker for its power and flexibility. With Looker, they can now access and analyze trusted data in real time. Implementing Looker resulted in a 97% increase in efficiency for the process of adding new datasets. These updates to the data model are now made in minutes versus days.

Looker has enabled richer and faster analytics for Car Next Door and created a data-driven culture that improved efficiency across the business. Every department has created custom data experiences based on their unique needs, allowing the entire company to make better decisions for a more sustainable future.

“Looker’s flexibility and integration with other tools allows us to drive meaningful personalization across our products and services.”

Andrew Bieber, Head of Customer Experience, Car Next Door

While the Car Next Door team extracted value from Looker in many expected ways—optimized marketing, faster support, efficient product development—some of the greatest benefits of Looker were as unexpected as the weather.

When parts of Australia were hit by a dangerous hail storm, the event caused damage to many cars enrolled in Car Next Door’s sharing program. This led to high insurance and repair costs and losses from inoperable damaged vehicles and revealed new potential risks.

To mitigate future downtime and losses, and to ensure continued excellent customer communication and experience, the Car Next Door team quickly developed and deployed a solution using Looker’s data platform for analytics, Segment’s customer data platform to facilitate integration, and Braze’s customer engagement platform to drive communications to customers. To prepare for any unforeseen events, Car Next Door is now able to identify at-risk cars and drivers. Looker’s geospatial functionality identifies cars in locations associated with weather events. Segment then creates a cohort of users associated with those cars. And Braze SMS sends alerts to drivers about potential hazards to help them get to safety and prevent loss or damage to vehicles or personal property.

Looker automates marketing and provides deeper insights

For the marketing team, Looker proved to be invaluable for automating and reporting on everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to targeted campaigns promoting certain products and services.

Looker enables the marketing team to drive promotion of specific services by targeting unique cohorts (groups of customers with common attributes). The combined power of Looker, Segment, and Braze enables marketing to automate and personalize communications to increase customer engagement.

For example, if Car Next Door has a surplus of convertibles, people who have previously borrowed convertibles are identified and can receive a custom prompt on their app that serves up vehicles available near them.

The marketing team also uses Looker for lead prioritization to ensure they contact prospects in the right order. From there, they take marketing automation a step further by creating audiences and sending targeted campaigns in Braze.

Search Marketing Manager Sam Ficek explains that Looker provides more granular insights into both paid and organic campaigns. “With Looker, we can effectively measure not just the number of borrower sign-ups, but the lifetime value of those customers.”

“With our SEM activity, we can attribute lifetime value back to the type of query that the user searched for, and adjust our allowable costs per action (CPAs) accordingly. For example, when a borrower converts from the keyword ‘van hire,’ they tend to only use us once, possibly for moving or collecting a large item they’ve purchased and the average lifetime value tends to be relatively low. Conversely, when a user searches for ‘car sharing,’ the intent is often to find a longer-term alternative to car ownership, giving these customers a higher lifetime value,” Ficek observes.

Recently, Ficek arranged for the website landing page and referring domain for each new user to be available in Looker. “With this data, I can see the results from organic search traffic, and place a dollar amount on the return from SEO projects. Getting internal buy-in and developer resources for SEO is always a challenge, so I expect ready access to this information to be a game changer.”

“The accessibility of the data in Looker is key. It brings together information that used to live in four to five different tools. In every aspect of the business where it’s being deployed, it’s being driven by those teams rather than a data scientist or development team. Each business team has created unique data experiences in Looker, empowering our people to look at data from their lens.”

Andrew Bieber, Head of Customer Experience, Car Next Door

Customer support and fleet management makeover

Looker has transformed Car Next Door’s customer support across multiple touchpoints, resulting in faster ticket resolution and improved customer experience. The development team rebuilt the repairs and claims processing system, integrating Looker with the Zendesk customer relationship management platform. Now, when customers report new claims, the information is tracked in Looker so the Car Next Door team can monitor claim performance and manage loss ratio.

Access to data with Looker gives support managers a clear and complete picture of what’s going on. They can get a high-level view of claim trends or drill down into individual cases and support representative performance. This enables managers to monitor and predict car maintenance needs before issues arise, identify and coach their team on best practices, and ensure a smooth customer experience. In addition to improved visibility for managers, support reps receive daily notifications in Slack via Looker’s Slackbot, which lets them track their performance and gain data-driven tips and best practices for continued improvement.

The results have been dramatic. Issue resolution is 85% faster, with a reduction of response time from six days to 24 hours. Cars are running more efficiently. Waste has been minimized. And—an important win for any support team—customer satisfaction has increased.

More efficient fleet management

Since accessing Looker, the Car Next Door fleet management team gained a broader and deeper understanding of car reports and user reviews involving routine maintenance issues, such as oil changes, low tire air pressure, vehicle cleanliness, and more. The team now can quickly drill into deep information on specific cars, as well as discover broad automotive servicing trends across the fleet. Providing this level of visibility has not only helped the fleet management team solve problems faster, but also anticipate problems before they happen, creating efficiency at every level.

With Looker, fleet managers have now identified trends between related issues, helping them anticipate and prevent certain issues before they arise. This level of visibility and proactive approach allows the team to keep cars in top shape, create a more positive user experience, reduce costs, and contribute to a healthier planet.

Increased product adoption and more bookings

Before implementing Looker, the product development team spent entire product development cycles on internal data analysis instead of building new features for their customers. Now that the development team is freed from supporting the legacy data analytics tool, they can use their skills to make continual improvements to the Car Next Door platform. With easy access to Looker, they can monitor and analyze product usage trends, identify barriers to user adoption, and deliver a road map driven by customer success.

The product team recently launched a new feature allowing car owners to keep track of the condition of their cars by prompting borrowers to upload photos via the app. This feature quickly achieved a 90% adoption rate, but then adoption flattened out. To uncover the reason, the product team used Looker to identify the 10% of users who were yet to adopt the feature to ask about their experience. The product team took findings from these interviews to revise the product road map and deploy updates that would increase user adoption. By modifying the software based on exact feedback from borrowers, the development team made it easier to use certain features, measurably boosting adoption rates. As a consequence, developers closed the 10% product usage gap.

“This outcome was identified in numerous surveys as one of the biggest friction points for car borrowers, so we made the proper feature enhancements to our app. In that year, we had more bookings than we had in the previous five years combined. Looker has contributed substantially to the growth of our company,” says Bieber.

With more time and better data available to them, the team has released an income calculator—Powered by Looker—so that prospective car owners can estimate their earnings based on postal code and vehicle type.

Empowering employees and healing the planet

Looker has become fully integrated into Car Next Door’s culture and is now part of the employee onboarding process. In an environment where everyone—from marketing to product to customer support—works closely together, Looker has become invaluable. As Car Next Door continues to experience explosive growth, the management team believes all employees can do their jobs better with access to data. This culture of collaboration and empowerment helps them excel in innovation and customer experience.

On a global level, Looker also supports Car Next Door’s mission to move the world away from the “one person, one car” mentality and reduce carbon emissions. A more user-friendly platform, faster resolution of support issues, and laser-focused marketing insights have led to increased customer engagement. And that means fewer net new cars per capita being purchased and driven—all contributing to a greener planet.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Car Next Door

Car Next Door is an Australian company that facilitates peer-to-peer car rental, a system by which individuals may rent privately owned vehicles on an hourly or daily basis to other registered users of the service.

Industries: Transportation
Location: Australia