How Community Engagement at Careem Powers the Middle East’s Super App
A responsive social presence and a focus on customer experience have been key to rapid growth for Careem
Careem, the multi-service platform in the middle east offers services ranging from transportation and delivery to payments.
From its beginnings in 2012 as a ride-sharing app, Careem has quickly expanded to become a regional super app. Today, in more than 100 cities, people use Careem for everything from booking transportation and restaurant reservations to ordering grocery delivery or arranging a home cleaning service.
“Our aim is to simplify life for people in the Middle East,” says Mohannad Baig, Head of Community Management at Careem. “We want to make a difference in people’s lives, and we do that.
To manage engagement with its rapidly growing community across its social channels, Careem turned to Sparkcentral by Hootsuite. Since 2016, Careem has used Sparkcentral to engage with brand advocates, deliver world-class customer care, and discover actionable insights to help grow its business.
- 6.29Mfollowers across social channels
- 25%of conversations on Facebook Messenger handled by a chatbot
- 96%CSAT score since 2020
What they did
From the time of its initial launch as a ride-sharing app, the team at Careem understood the importance of being social and responsive. The brand would be built on positive word of mouth, and while operational issues were inevitable, the brand could build a positive reputation by resolving issues quickly and communicating clearly with customers.
“We rely on our customers to help us improve our business—whether that is our marketing, our services, our app,” says Mohannad Baig, Careem’s Head of Community Management. “Managing active, social communities is vital.”
The company’s transport and delivery services rely on its growing community of drivers (which it calls “Captains”). Using Sparkcentral, Careem is able to engage efficiently with its Captains while also delivering responsive care to its customers across social channels.
“We don’t just want to wait for customers to come to us. We want to be initiating conversations,” Baig says. “That’s how we’ll create unique products and services.”
How they did it
Sparkcentral’s unified platform gives Careem’s social teams an easy-to-use workflow to handle engagement across social channels from anywhere—a critical feature in a time of distributed teams and remote work.
With teams working across different objectives, the ability to tag and filter messages helps the team make sense of a deluge of inbound communication. The team uses Sparkcentral to report on KPIs, then shares reports with marketing, service, operations, and partner teams to spot issues or opportunities and mine for insights.
Careem measures CSAT across its messaging channels, making it easier to spot and handle complaints or bad experiences immediately.
Engaging active communities to drive operational improvements
The team at Careem knew that while its service needed to be responsive, the company would also have to look beyond the complaint-response cycle to create constant improvement in the services it offers. The business aims to be in a rolling state of product development, with new ideas constantly tested and then improved or dropped.
Sparkcentral reports are now a crucial part of Careem’s organization and a good way to spot issues or rising questions from customers early on. Different departments depend on Sparkcentral’s information to retrieve valuable insights for their operations.
With teams working across different objectives and regions, the use of tags helps Careem identify issues, plot trends and share reports across the business. Messages are immediately tagged, routed, and prioritized. With a deluge of inbound communication incoming, each team now gets to see only a couple of messages in their inbox they need to focus on.
“If there is an issue, we want to close the loop: fix it, and let customers know what we’ve done. It’s important we move quickly,” Mahdi Belbeisi, Community Management Manager at Careem. Sparkcentral allows the business to move at speed and scale, delivering on its service-level agreement of one hour to respond to an issue, and three hours to solve it. Clear tagging then informs new service development.
Service improvements include redesigning the app to make FAQs more visible, creating a dedicated channel for emergency issues, and testing marketing messages for different markets. Most notably, the launch of Careem BIKE—the first large-scale, bike sharing initiative in the region that was launched through a partnership with Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). It sprang from conversations with customers around Bike-sharing allowing them to access easy and affordable pedal-assisted bikes!
The company’s CSAT scores continue to track positively, rising from 93% in 2018 to 96% in 2020. “Our goal is to maintain a score above 95%,” says Belbeisi.
Scaling up a partnership to support start-up growth
Careem’s business has grown substantially since the company first started using Sparkcentral—and Baig partially attributes the growth of its community to the continuing evolution of Sparkcentral’s platform.
“We found each other at the right time,” explains Baig. “Our strategy and our goals have developed since then, yet Sparkcentral continues to be relevant. We continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis, and I feel our feedback is listened to.”
Today, Careem has 6.29 million followers across social channels and handles 400,000 monthly social conversations—a 350% increase in inbound traffic in the past two years.
Resolving inquiries faster with smart automation
The Careem virtual agent currently deflects 25% of inbound inquiries in Facebook Messenger, its busiest inbound channel. Baig credits the chatbot’s success to high-quality content delivered in a friendly, conversational tone:
“We spend a lot of time making sure this is a seamless experience. It’s built in a way that users wouldn’t know they’re talking to a bot. And it’s getting smarter.”
The virtual agent ensures customers get fast, efficient service for routine inquiries, while also freeing Careem’s social teams to focus on more complex engagement. “Sparkcentral made automation such a quick win for us,” adds Belbeisi.
With Careem’s services continuing to expand across categories from transport and food to lifestyle—and with more to come—the company’s wealth of insights about regional consumer preferences and activity have become a lasting competitive advantage.
And as the business continues to grow, it continues to look for new ways to use these insights to inform more authentic social communications.
“To improve our services, we want to share data around the business while respecting data privacy,” explains Baig. “We want to engage with people at a personal level. One of the things that have made us shine is our ability to humanize our communication.”