Product in Focus — SafeBoda

by their orange-colored Helmet and Jacket, you shall know them.

Interface of the SafeBoda App
Image from the SafeBoda Website

When I decided to move to Ibadan, I didn’t consider that the transport system was not like Lagos — where I was coming from.

Thing is, navigating a new city & one as big as Ibadan (the largest city in West Africa) can be intimidating. Especially as a newbie. Although I speak the native Yoruba language, I do not pronounce the names of certain places like the locals. So I am either confusing a bike rider or exposing myself to people who’d rather exploit my “newness”.

I learned that the SafeBoda app is good for navigating the city. …and it is popular among young and tech-savvy individuals. I installed the app immediately and ordered my first ever ride back home.

PS: This is not a promotional post.

SafeBoda is a motorbike hailing app. The name originated from its founding country, Uganda where Bike riders are called Boda-Bodas

My first ride was seamless. Except that ordering to “pay with cash” was much easier than navigating the app to redeem my first free ride, Lol.

Using the app helped me to not only save waiting time but helped to guarantee my safety for navigating the city. While avoiding unnecessary hikes in ride fares because I am new to the city.

Image from the SafeBoda website

I spent some time looking through the SafeBoda app from a product perspective. Here are my observations.

How it works

I’d say the app does its number one job of “matching riders to passengers” very well.

When you log in to the app, you can select any of 3 major features; order a ride, deliver a package or buy airtime. I have only used 2 of these 3 features “order a ride” and “buy airtime” which worked just fine. I will focus only on the “order a ride” feature in this article.

Order a Ride

When you click to “order a ride”, you will be able to input your destination and current location. You will then see estimated fare options and select to pay via cash or the SafeBoda wallet. After which you will be matched to a nearby bike rider.

When you are matched to a rider, you will be able to view details about the rider like their name, phone number, and Safeboda ID number. With these, you can track the rider’s location via the in-built map and contact them to help navigate their way to you.

At the end of every ride, passengers can view their calculated fare and share feedback about the rider.

Other features on the app are “send money to a friend or contact”, “top up your account” and “view your transaction history”.

My favorite features — some of the things I like about the app

  1. Fare estimates — I like this because I know I will always get a fair rate for either known or unknown destinations.
  2. The onboarding process is simple and allows you to use the app on the go. You can download and get a ride in 10 minutes or less, depending on your location of pick–up.
  3. Flexible payment option — you can pay via cash or credit your SafeBoda wallet to make payments. Users get discounts when they pay via the wallet.
  4. Easy to navigate interface.

How I’d improve the app.

Strategies for improving the SafeBoda app are at the intersection of business goals and customer satisfaction. Hence I’d recommend these 2 key objectives; growth in customer acquisition and retention of existing customers.

I identified 2 key customer segments(for the business) — Drivers and Passengers

For passengers,

A key metric I will optimize is “passenger wait times”. By reducing wait time, passengers are less likely to consider competitors. This will also encourage them to share their experience with friends. — Resulting in an increase in customer retention and acquisition.

Also, I will encourage users to input names of popular locations and destinations on the map. This will provide relatable information to riders and enable customers to get matched faster. The name of a place like “Dugbe post office” is easier to relate to than “Ibadan Southwest”.

On one occasion, I was at a particular popular mall and was ordering a ride to go home. I noticed that a rider had cancelled my ride and I proceeded to order another one. On arrival of the new rider, The first thing he asked was “where I was going”. After I told him, he explained how he was almost cancelling the order too because of the map location(Ibadan Southwest). He proceeded to share the tip above with me which has made using the app easier, and also reduced my wait times.

Ability to save historical locations. As a user, I will save time if I am able to select past locations instead of typing the name every time.

For Riders,

Based on my interactions with Riders, a key metric I will optimize is to keep Riders satisfied. Meeting the needs of Riders will be helpful for retaining existing users and gaining new Riders.

Unlike others, SafeBoda Riders can lift one passenger per time. I’d invest in ongoing “rider orientation programs” to align with the company vision.

Also, I will create periodic “completed ride targets” to keep riders committed and motivated.

ps: SafeBoda has a separate app for Riders.

Have you used SafeBoda before, I’d like to hear your perspective on the app.

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