How WeShare Uncovers Customer Insights to Unlock Growth with Braze
Founded in 2018 with headquarters in Berlin, WeShare is a 100% electric car-sharing service available in Berlin and Hamburg owned by Urban Mobility International (UMI), a subsidiary of Volkswagen. I spoke with one of the brand's growing team of 95+ employees—Katty Guaycha, CRM Manager at WeShare—to learn how Braze enables the company to create smarter segments, get real-time customer insights, and accelerate growth and engagement KPIs across users, car-sharing frequency, and car-sharing duration.*
Tell me about your journey working in CRM. How has your understanding of managing customer relationships evolved?
My first experience with CRM was very basic—we focused purely on email-based customer engagement. I didn't even directly interact with the tool that we used to send our emails, and we used Excel files to manage our customer subscriber list. Since I liked the concept of CRM, I thought, "Okay, I should move to another company or another industry to learn more," and that's when I found an opportunity at a fast-growing startup, where I grew my knowledge of CRM and embraced cross-channel customer engagement. Before starting this job, I had no idea of the full potential of CRM. It was in this role that I first got exposure to Braze, and grew to understand the more technical aspects of CRM and also how to interact with other teams across product and customer experience to be able to better engage customers. After that experience, I decided to keep pursuing CRM, but for a company that’s more rooted in sustainability. That’s how I found WeShare, since we’re the only car-sharing company featuring all electric vehicles.
As part of a lean company with limited resources, how are you able to get the most out of Braze for your CRM efforts?
Since I do not have a tech team supporting me and our company's CRM efforts, I have to have not just a strategic focus, but also a technical focus, and I have to be able to implement things on my own.
For example, I'm working to implement Connected Content [the Braze platform’s dynamic content personalization feature] to utilize the weather integration for our real-time campaigns all on my own. I'm not afraid to get into the technical side of things because I know the Braze customer support team has my back.
At previous employers, I've worked with email designers, but in my current role I'm on my own. Thankfully, the Braze drag and drop email tool gives me the freedom to create a strong design and brand approach all by myself, which is super cool.
The Bonfire Slack group [the Braze digital customer community] is also an amazing resource for brainstorming and problem-solving for people like me that don't have the support of a bigger team.
How has Braze helped your company stay relevant and grow, even during a tough environment during the pandemic?
Braze has been a very helpful tool for understanding user behavior. As a quick example, when I joined WeShare, we were seeing that some users were not coming back to the app as often as they were using us before the pandemic. This gave me an idea—that we could use Braze to ask users directly what was happening and why they were no longer using our app. Using the Braze platform’s new in-app survey templates, I was able to create a quick survey within a day, and get insights right away. One of our biggest learnings was that those previous users no longer needed our services because they'd gone on to get their own cars. Now that we have this knowledge, we can pivot our strategy in order to adapt.
It's helpful that Braze offers these kinds of tools that you can use right out-of-the-box—that you don't have to ask for help to use. They're super easy to spin up and provide key insights relevant to our business needs. Due to the success of this first survey, we’ve continued creating more surveys with other use cases to better understand user behavior. We've shared these learnings with other teams across the organization to benefit the entire company.
How is gaining a better understanding of user behavior key to helping WeShare grow?
We have seen that not only can we grow organically by expanding to other cities, but we can achieve gains in frequency of use among existing customers. That's why we're working hard to pinpoint the best use cases where car-sharing is relevant. For instance, when our customers land at an airport within our service coverage area, we want to be able to send personalized messages right when and where they land.
Another area in which we can expand is by increasing the duration of user trips. That involves educating customers about the opportunities to take advantage of longer car-sharing experiences, like booking a car for your Easter or Christmas holiday travels.
What’s next on your CRM roadmap at WeShare?
Next up, we plan to implement Content Cards in order to surface helpful content for users right within our app. Since our vehicles are all electric, we know there’s a need to provide our users with more education around how to use these cars. I’d like to be able to set it up so that when they open the app, we can use Content Cards to have some relevant information there, like how to turn on the navigation system, et cetera.
As we focus on acquisition to grow our user base, there will be a lot more we can do with Braze, especially around improving our data and the custom attributes and events we’re collecting to use in our campaigns. I’m especially excited to be able to use all that additional data to train our AI models, like for churn prevention. I want to be able to use data to make our CRM more personalized and smarter.
For startups exploring investing in a customer engagement platform like Braze, what suggestions do you have for the evaluation process? What should they look for or prioritize?
My number one piece of advice is to consider how user-friendly a given technology solution is. I've worked with other tools that are not user friendly at all. For me, the best thing about Braze is how simple and yet super powerful it can be. That's the beauty of the tool—you can build really complex experiences and sophisticated customer engagement messaging, but you can also just keep things simple if you want.
Take creating segments, for example. I've seen legacy platforms and other tools where this basic function is a total nightmare. With Braze, it's so easy to create very specific segments.
As you're evaluating solutions, it's important to see what it will be like for you to work in the platform, without any technical help. If you are not able to use it by yourself and you need support from other teams, then it's likely not the right tool for you.
Hundreds of innovative small and growing companies like WeShare, Quil, Elevate Labs, Doktor24, YNAB, IDAGIO, Branch, and Grover are using Braze to disrupt their categories and achieve success within their industries. See for yourself why Braze is the secret weapon startups turn to to gain a competitive advantage, engage thoughtfully with their users, and ultimately drive business outcomes like user growth, conversions, revenue, retention, and more.
*This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Sunny Manivannan is the VP and GM of Global SMB at Braze, and thoroughly enjoys being a Boston sports fan in New York City. Previously, Sunny served in various marketing and general management roles at Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP), and was formerly a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and an aerospace engineer at General Electric.