Product People Coordinated a Key Company Initiative for FREE NOW

No items found.

The Client: FREE NOW

FREE NOW is a mobility service provider with the largest selection of vehicles in Europe. Available in 16 markets and 170+ cities, more than 56 million users are choosing from the wide range of mobility options using just one app. FREE NOW is the first mobility platform in Europe to reach Net-Zero - intending to create a sustainable, urban mobility experience in every European city.

FREE NOW is part of the mobility joint venture between BMW and Daimler, formed in February 2019. With total funding of $131.2M raised, the company’s majority shareholders are BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

The company brings together numerous mobility partners to make urban mobility more efficient and sustainable without putting new vehicles on the road. By integrating various mobility brands and payment options, they can book the nearest taxi, rental car with a driver, car sharing, or micro-mobility options such as e-scooters, e-mopeds, and e-bikes within the FREE NOW app.

The Mission: Interim Product Manager

We joined FREE NOW as interim Product Managers for the Core Pricing squad inside the Marketplace domain. Our mission was to replace the previous PM who was leaving the company, for which we needed to onboard really quickly to help the team with ongoing topics and keep the boat afloat.

The Pricing team had recently undergone a team split into 2 squads:

  1. Core Pricing: responsible for setting up different market fees (E.g. Platform fees, Cancellation fees, Waiting Time fees) and internal tooling improvements such as the Fare Management Tool used by the marketplaces to set up fees.
  2. Dynamic Pricing with a ****focus on dynamically changing prices based on the situation of the market (E.g. Surge Pricing)

Our goal was to unblock development and prepare new topics for the team to work on by assessing the product and marketplace priorities and helping to structure the roadmap for Q1 2023, which lacked definition.

Our Main Quest

Launch: Onboarded Quickly

We jumped straight in to fill the Product Manager gap and created some quick wins from week number 2 of our engagement:

  1. Managed urgent feature request - We took ownership and clarified a sudden request from the Polish market to deliver a feature that other stakeholders weren’t aware of which brought clarity.
  2. Ensured priority work continued - We worked with in-house stakeholders to prepare feature specifications with high-fidelity prototypes for one of the in-progress initiatives.
  3. Streamlined the development pipeline - The development team was often overwhelmed by stakeholder requests which distracted them from their main focus. We clarified and prioritized new requests which freed the team up to focus on the main goal.

Explore and Conquer: Solving for the Client

Delivery: High Demand Fee Experimentation

When Product People joined FREE NOW, FREE NOW was in the middle of Phase 2 of the High Demand Fee experimentation initiative.

This initiative explores the possibility of applying a surge-like dynamic pricing lever to taxis in order to balance the supply and demand in the market while complying with the existing legal restrictions for taxis.

We jumped in to align stakeholders and make the last preparations in order to enable the second phase of experimentation, working side by side with the Data Science team to introduce improvements and learnings from the first phase of the experiment. What supported us in this journey was the Data & Analytics playlist from Product People.

After getting the experimentation results from the second phase, we started to prepare for a third experiment, redefining the metrics on which to focus, adding driver incentives, and adjusting the granularity of the experiment given the existing technical limitations.

FREE NOW - High demand fees

Delivery: Introduction of B2C Fees to B2B Rides

At the time of our interim mission, B2B users were exempt from paying B2C fees such as the Platform Fee, Waiting Time Fee, and Cancellation Fee. This implied a revenue loss for FREE NOW since the company would still pay compensations to drivers (like in case of cancellation fees for example).

With a defined business case behind it and as part of the B2B monetization strategy, the goal of this initiative was to roll out all existing B2C Fees to all B2B Users in all countries. As a starting point, we first focused on the Platform fees for Germany.

We aligned different Marketplace teams that would take part in the delivery of this initiative to ensure that we cleared up any potential dependencies and blockers that could stand in the way and kickstart delivery.

Delivery: New Cancellation Fees Flow

As part of FREE NOW's cost savings goal, cancellation fees as a service currently faces different problems which convert into drivers contacting support.

The goal of this initiative is to automate the driver payout/compensation in those markets where FREE NOW is invoicing the passengers (currently the payout/compensation process is done manually via a tool called CUS).

As the team owns the configuration rules for Cancellation fees across all markets, our role was to align product and tech teams on how this process could be improved, define the passenger cancellation fee parameters (when the fee should get issued), and partake in the cross-functional technical implementation.

Delivery: Reducing handling time on rider complaint tickets for customer care agents

Customer care agents received a high volume of complaint tickets from riders saying that they were overcharged and spent a lot of time processing each request. Customer care only had information on the price the rider ended up paying, but they didn’t know what the original quoted price was which the rider had seen when booking the ride. They used third-party tools for manual calculations to determine whether the riders would actually be eligible for a refund or not.

The goal of the initiative was to automate this process for customer care, which would help save handling time on each ticket.

The quick-win approach was to update the existing Booking Management Tool (BOMT) to show quoted values for tour requests. This saved the customer care agents all the time they would spend on manual calculations by directly allowing them to see the difference between the quoted and final tour prices, and therefore, make a quick decision on whether the rider was eligible or not for a refund.

Other Mini-Missions: Our Side Quests

BAU (Business As Usual) Tasks

  • These tasks would usually include the introduction of new fees into existing markets, updates to existing fee configurations, and last but not least, solving for a variety of different bugs related to fares and fees.
  • Oftentimes, a significant portion of the BAU requests that our team would receive would carry an aspect of urgency which would require quick planning in the squad sprints and efficient communication back to the markets.

Onboarded a New Senior Product Manager

  • While Product People's Interim Product Managers successfully led the mission, FREE NOW has found a new permanent SPM (Senior Product Manager) for the team. The new SPM was an internal resource with knowledge about the company and its processes.
  • We welcomed the SPM with a ‘Handover Document’ Product People created and had regular check-in sessions with the SPM to ensure a smooth handover and gradual transition of the new SPM into the team.

Mission Achievements: Delivered Outcomes

💡 Helped coordinate a key company initiative
💡 Defined the roadmap for the upcoming quarter during a period of internal restructuring and change in the company.
💡 Successfully onboarded a new SPM to take over the Core Pricing team.

In the Client's Own Words

Space Crew of this Mission

Associate Management Consultant
Product Management Consultant
VP/Director/Head of Product

For Clients: When to Hire Us

You can hire us as an Interim/Freelance Product Manager or Product Owner

It takes, on average, three to nine months to find the right Product Manager to hire as a full-time employee. In the meantime, someone needs to fill in the void: drive cross-functional initiatives, decide what is worth building, and help the development team deliver the best outcomes.
If you're looking for a great Product Manager / Product Owner to join your team ASAP, Product People is a good plug-and-play solution to bridge the gap.