Imagine you need to be somewhere in 15 minutes but have no car, and it’s too far to walk. If you’re in Paris, Nice, Milan or Barcelona, you check the Cityscoot app to see if there’s an electric motor scooter nearby: it costs slightly more than a metro ticket, but much less than a taxi. In three clicks you’ve unlocked your temporary transport and then zip through traffic to arrive early.
Since it was founded in 2014, Cityscoot has grown exponentially, with a current fleet of 7,000 mopeds, or electric motor scooters, serving more than 180,000 users collectively taking up to 25,000 daily rides. Across the company, from field operations to customer support to technology and development, everyone relies on Slack. When growth manager Alexis Marcadet first started using it, he urged teammates to ‘stop what you’re doing and try out Slack. It’s a game changer.’
While Cityscoot initially used Slack to crowdsource real-time alerts on the status of electric motor scooters, Slack is now central to the continuity of a service that operates around the clock. ‘Seven thousand electric motor scooters in four cities generate a lot of information, but it’s not a burden because most of us view it in real time in Slack channels,’ says head of production Sébastien Alonso. Employees connect with field agents, monitor and maintain the physical fleet of electric motor scooters, facilitate fast decisions and capitalize on ideas from every department in Slack. ‘We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Slack is one of the ways that everybody stays connected,’ says global operations manager Dean Ackah-Miezan.
‘We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Slack is one of the ways that everybody stays connected.’
Centralising real-time electric motor scooter alerts and reporting in Slack
From the start, Marcadet had a hunch that Slack was the right tool to scale Cityscoot. ‘We manage a fleet that’s on the street 100% of the time, and we needed a communication tool that allows us to get alerts in real time for many different issues,’ he says. ‘Email doesn’t work. I knew we needed Slack.’
Ackah-Miezan’s field operations team, which has 150 to 200 agents on the ground at any given moment, uses Slack for mobile to seamlessly report on the fleet from the field – and receive updates directly from headquarters. Even though the team is away from their computers and constantly on the go, ‘they can see an overview of the entire fleet in the Slack mobile app,’ Alonso says. ‘They can select KPIs [key performance indicators], open Google Sheets and find relevant information in their dedicated Slack channels.’ Day or night, they can leverage this information to maintain the fleet, recharge low batteries, sanitise seats and helmets and ensure that electric motor scooters are evenly distributed.
Back on their computers, Alonso and his team’s main focus is to analyse and improve production processes. ‘We use Slack as a reporting tool and to centralise the information,’ he says. They previously reported the majority of alerts manually and had to switch between resources to piece together the full picture. Now, ‘we’ve increased our speed and reduced the number of information sources. It’s all in Slack.’ Employees have access to a stream of real-time information in dedicated Slack channels, including:
- Availability of electric motor scooters
- Number of rides taken every 30 minutes
- Battery levels
- When an electric motor scooter is immobile, moves when it’s not supposed to (possible theft) or faults during a reservation
‘We use Slack as a reporting tool and to centralise the information. We’ve increased our speed and reduced the number of information sources. It’s all in Slack.’
Most alerts are generated by the electric motor scooters themselves, and are routed through Cityscoot’s proprietary internal system before being posted by a Slack bot in the relevant channels. ‘That real-time information arrives on 12 to 15 Slack alert channels so that we can make fast decisions,’ Ackah-Miezan says. By necessity, some reporting is still manually added, such as when a field agent needs to send a picture of a fallen electric motor scooter.
When Cityscoot recently launched in Barcelona, it applied these best practices to hit the ground running. ‘Slack helped us to centralise communication between the Barcelona and Paris teams, share information and answer questions quickly,’ Alonso says. ‘It’s quite easy to help when everything matches up.’
‘We manage a fleet that’s on the street 100% of the time, and we needed a communication tool that allows us to get alerts in real time for many different issues. Email doesn’t work. I knew we needed Slack.’
Pivoting quickly and shortening the time from idea to product
To better serve riders, Cityscoot uses Slack to quickly generate ideas and deliver new solutions. During the pandemic lockdown in Paris and Nice, Cityscoot set up ‘CityHelp’ to offer local carers free access to 30 minutes of transport each day. The company built the end-to-end program in 24 hours in Slack, using the platform to both receive and approve applicants. Carers simply sent proof of profession via Typeform, and the Zapier Slack integration piped their answers into the channel
#fr-coronahelp. Marcadet used dedicated emoji to denote next steps, and to confirm that carers had been approved, that the team needed additional proof or that they had been declined. ‘We could activate someone in two minutes because we managed everything in Slack,’ he says.
Across the company, Cityscoot employees share thoughts and suggestions in the
#idea-box channel. Each month, Marcadet reviews the ideas with the head of customer support. ‘Once, a field agent shared an idea in Slack that became a reality in two days. It really helps us to cut down the decision process,’ he says. ‘This Slack channel is a great success because it empowers people who don’t normally participate in project decisions to share their ideas.’
Cityscoot also uses the Zapier and Typeform Slack integrations to source feedback directly from customers. Since the results are funnelled directly through Slack, employees don’t waste time in unnecessary meetings. ‘It’s a huge benefit to have a dedicated Slack channel for gathering feedback on the Cityscoot user’s journey. It makes us closer to the user,’ Marcadet says. In the city-specific channels such as
#stats_barcelona, ride KPIs are updated and posted every 30 minutes. ‘It helps us to decide what kind of marketing pressure we need to put where.’
‘Once, a field agent shared an idea in Slack that became a reality in two days. It really helps us to cut down the decision process.’
Seamless collaboration between partners with Slack Connect
To collaborate with partners such as Uber, Cityscoot uses Slack Connect, the secure way to work with multiple organisations in Slack. The two companies recently joined forces to give riders an easy way to book electric motor scooters through the Uber app. When they integrated services, Marcadet says, ‘both of our teams’ engineers used Slack Connect to facilitate communication and collaboration.’ Cityscoot and Uber’s tech departments continue to share information and report bugs in Slack.
This strategy also works with Cityscoot’s other external stakeholders, such as tech partners and creative agencies. ‘Since employees are often tackling many things at once, ownership isn’t always clear with these partners,’ Marcadet says, ‘but it’s reassuring to know that whoever’s available will speak for the team in Slack and can make decisions in real time. Slack Connect enables us to solve issues faster than email.’
With a 24/7 business that operates both a fully functional app and a physical fleet of thousands of electric motor scooters, Cityscoot relies on Slack to connect employees, make efficient decisions and successfully scale into new markets.