Vadim Ishchenko, Uklon Chief Marketing Officer: “Integration with Corezoid gave Uklon almost 13th month in business volume.”

Vadim Ishchenko, Uklon Marketing director

Vadim, how Uklon started?

Uklon appeared in 2010, when our founders worked in one of the IT companies. They often ordered pizza online. At some point they thought, why is it not possible to order a cab over the web? At that time, people used to call a cab by calling a dispatcher by phone. First, Uklon launched as a website, and a little bit later, a mobile application appeared. In the beginning, our mobile app was “monolithic”. Since last year, we have switched to microservices and became more flexible.

What are the “microservices”?

I like the analogy with a house, a high-rise building from the 90s. If the house had a problem, let’s say started “shaking”, then to fix it you needed to rebuild everything from scratch. You can’t do much, when dealing with a monolith built from concrete. Microservices are like Lego bricks. When changing a part of the application, you have no risk of damaging the entire ecosystem as a whole.

For example, now we have a separate microservice responsible for communication. I believe that communication with customers is a strong feature of Uklon that sets us apart from the competition.

I believe that communication with customers is a strong feature of Uklon that sets us apart from the competition.

Why is communication a strong feature of Uklon?

Of all the ride hailing services, only Uklon has a team in Ukraine that manages communication with customers. Our international competitors have very small or no local marketing teams. At Uklon, we create strategies for communicating with customers locally, well understanding the specifics of the Ukrainian consumer.

Previously, we did all mailings to clients manually. It was complicated. We work in 21 cities of Ukraine. The customer base is very different. Thanks to Corezoid, we have automated all communication with the clients. The customer's life cycle was divided into 8 different stages. Communication at each stage of the funnel have their own KPIs.

Thanks to Corezoid, we have automated all communication with the clients.

A person's trip, from the moment when he just thought about it, to the moment when he got out of the car and gave a rating to the driver, is a series of micro-moments. It is very important to communicate with the client in real time. For example, on average, after a person has calculated the cost of a trip, he presses the “Find a car” button within 6 seconds. If we see that this time is longer, then there is a high probability that the person is a "switcher".

Who is a "switcher"?

This is a user who went to calculate the price of a trip from competitors and there is a possibility that he will "switch" to their service. At this very moment it is important to communicate with a person, offer him a discount, bonus or something else to persuade him to stay in Uklon. It is super-important for business.


What other segments are there in Uklon?

I will not reveal secrets. Highlevel, we have the following stages: a person downloaded an application, plans to become a client, but has never ordered a car. A person ordered a car for the first time - and here the task is to make him a regular customer. A person consistently uses our service. The person actively used Uklon, but recently less and less, and there is a risk of leaving. The user has stopped using application X days ago. At each of these stages, we have set up our own rules for communication with clients.

How did you learn all this? Do you use any of the techniques described in the books? Or is it your creative search with the Uklon team?

We do a lot of creative search within our team. We have a very strong team. When we send something to a client, we enter his comfort zone. You need to be careful here. You know, for example, there are well-bred dogs. They do not make sudden movements. If they meet another dog on the street, they first carefully sniff, and only then begin to play. And there are dogs that, although friendly, but swoop in right away, scare other dogs, and they either start snarling or run away, but no longer want to play.

Communication with clients is a very intimate thing.

Communication with clients is a very intimate thing. Part of our team moved to Uklon from METRO, for example, our Head of CRM Elena Orlova. Back at METRO, we found out how difficult it is to send the right message to the right customer at the right time. One careless step - and people just unsubscribe from you.

Elena Orlova, Head of CRM at Uklon

Can you give an example of successful communication at Uklon?

When we sent out communication in the old way, manually, the conversion rate was around 4-6%. I mean people who made the trip after communication. When we automated mailings using Corezoid and thanks to real-time communication, our conversion increased 2 times. Integration with Corezoid gave Uklon almost 13th month in business volume.

Integration with Corezoid gave Uklon almost 13th month in business volume.

Please, tell me more about your team in the marketing department?

Uklon employs about 150 people. Usually, we divide the company into 2 parts. We have Uklon Tech. This is the department that deals with software development and support functions (business analysts, project managers, etc.). At Finance, we have administrative functions. In Operations, we have the 1-st line of support, which we are very proud of, a regional development team, key partners team, and our 12-person marketing department.

In marketing, the team is divided according to the principle of the customer life cycle. We attract new clients mainly through digital channels. There are people who work with the 1-st stage of the funnel: these are customers who either don't know anything about Uklon yet, or have heard, but have not tried it yet.


The work of these people ends at the stage of attracting people to the mobile application. Next, our task is to involve people in using Uklon and make them regular customers. This is already the task for the growth\retention team. At this stage, we work together with the art director, marketing communications staff in order to convert leads into loyal customers with minimal costs.

We work a lot with social media. We have almost 700,000 followers on Facebook, good Instagram coverage. At TikTok, we are one of 5 brands in Ukraine that were able to reach over 1.5 million views with a small investment. The task of social networks is to involve people in what we do, to make them fall in love with our service. Also on social networks, we talk about new features and success in our social projects.

We have also launched a customer experience project this year. We will start measuring the NPS index, and learn more about why people stop using Uklon. This way we can constantly improve our churn models.

Can you define who you consider to be a “lead”? Who do you consider to be a “client”?

We have simple definitions. Lead is the person who shared his contacts with us. For example, a person, that downloaded the application and registered, but have not made a single trip yet. A “client” is a person who has made at least one trip.


Who is the “dream client” for Uklon?

We have such a concept as “permanent client”. This is a person who has fulfilled his “travel quota” within 30 days. There is a lot of talk nowadays about working with “unit economics”. We strive to understand the profitability of each individual client, and not of a group as a whole. This approach will make it possible to work with every customer personally.

What technology stack are you using in the company, besides Corezoid?

We have a corporate Google GSuite package. We use Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, of course. Our corporate messenger is Slack. Also we use Telegram to talk with those whom we cannot include in Slack.

How do you attract the best talents to work at Uklon?

It's not easy, because there is a perception that Uklon is a taxi company. This is not true. We have no cars or drivers. We have a software development office, marketing team and so on. Uklon is a full-fledged IT product company. Our HR and marketers are focused on building an employer brand these days.


How would you describe the Uklon corporate culture?

Before Uklon, I worked for large international companies. Compared to them, I like that Uklon doesn’t have any bureaucracy. At the same time, Uklon has clear processes and an understandable hierarchy. Any employee can offer their ideas for implementation. We created a separate branch in Jira for such ideas.

Uklon is open to innovation and change at all levels.

When we started using Corezoid at Uklon, I didn't have to go through 7 circles of hell. Uklon is open to innovation and change at all levels. My team and I made a business-case, proved the need for Corezoid, I took responsibility as a head – and so we began to use a new technology for communication with the clients.

Vadim, do you go in for sports?

For a long time I went to SmartAss club. Also I have a cat and a Jack Russel dog, that I usually walk.

Jack Russel terrier

We took a dog for the kid. My son is 5 years old, and he manages the dog. Also we have a cat, British exotic one. A cat is a mixture of a Persian cat with a British blue-haired cat. This cat has soft fur, and he is like a plush.

British exotic shorthair

Vadim, could you please advise useful books, movies, online courses that played an important role in your life?

Two years ago I graduated from CIM - The Chartered Institute of Marketing. This is a British educational program, a very good course. All student work is sent to the UK for verification. CIM constantly collects the world's best practices in the field of marketing. In many ways CIM are trendsetters in marketing.

Talking about the books, I can advise the one, that I’ve read recently: “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days” by Jake Knapp.

"Sprint" by Jake Knapp

There is also a book called “Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter. This is a business tale, I even read it to my son when he was little. This is an ingenious book about penguins who needed to move from one iceberg to another with the whole flock.

“Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter

Also I love TED Talks with Simon Sinek. In general, I do not have one single book that greatly changed my approach to work. I was just very lucky to work with strong teams in cool companies.

Could You name a few?

Samsung left a strong impression. There is a special corporate culture based on toughness and at the same time high professionalism of people. I worked at Samsung 5 years ago. We had a strong team. I understood that these are the best people that could be found on the market. I have learned a lot in terms of understanding business processes, P&L, working with finance, negotiations, communication.

Then there was work at METRO Cash & Carry. I had a strong leader, and I learned a lot. METRO, in principle, invested heavily in the training and personal growth of its employees.

Without revealing any secrets, can you tell us what mission, ambitions, big goals Uklon has for the coming years?

Our big goal is to be in the TOP-3 in every city where Uklon operates. A social mission is also important for us. Since 2014, we have been supporting the “Come back alive” foundation, Yanina Sokolova's “Worth Living” foundation. In the spring we drove doctors during a pandemic, drove those in need of hemodialysis, cancer patients. We are also working with Elena Pinchuk's AntiAIDS Foundation on the Mobile Clinic project. Recently we made the first trips in the Lviv region. We also have a project related to the problem of domestic violence in the family, which we are doing together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of UN Women Ukraine.

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