At 8am every morning, Andrew Jervis eagerly checks his inbox for a very important email.
“First thing in the morning, the first thing I look at is reports I get from Chartio,” Andrew says.
As the CEO and co-founder of ClickMechanic, a UK-based marketplace for car repair, Andrew relies on this daily digital update on his company’s most important metrics. Those include critical stats like number of bookings, revenue, and user sign-ups.
As Andrew explains, ClickMechanic’s business model is similar to that of Uber, in that the company sets a fixed price for various car-related services — though ClickMechanic’s focus is on repairs, not ride-shares. Through its nationwide platform, customers can specify the services they need, and get connected with mechanics who are willing to perform those services at the specified price.
“So, a consumer will come to us, they’ll get that fixed price for what they need to do to their car, and then it will get sent out through the mechanic network. And then, like Uber drivers do, [the mechanics] can either accept or reject.”
ClickMechanic grew from just an idea in 2012 to a 25-person company today, with its platform now featuring more than 1,000 mechanics across the UK.
Driven by data
With so many services, prices, and users to manage, ClickMechanic relies heavily on data to understand the health of its business and prioritize its product roadmap.
“Like any good startup, data and intelligence is absolutely critical to us,” Andrew says.
In its early days, ClickMechanic tried to glean insights manually from a variety of different data sources — Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and its own in-house databases, among others. “It was a little bit slow and archaic,” Andrew says of this ad-hoc approach.
Eventually, one of the company’s engineers suggested looking into a proper BI solution. He presented Andrew with a shortlist of five products, and recommended Chartio as his top choice.
Getting into gear with Chartio
Andrew cites three main criteria for why ClickMechanic ultimately chose Chartio for its BI needs. The first was usability.
“We felt it would be key that laymen could use it, that it would be user-friendly for anyone at the company, that you wouldn’t have to be a coding genius to pull out insights,” he explains.
The second priority, which will be familiar to anyone tasked with procuring software for a startup: cost.
“Some tools can be very expensive and perhaps cost-prohibitive for the stage we were at,” Andrew notes. “At the time, Chartio had different [subscription] levels, which was quite nice, because there was an entry-level for startups, and as you scale you could change the subscription.”
Finally, Chartio’s simplicity and ease of setup were key deciding factors for Andrew and his team.
“Some of these tools are huge, vast, and complex, with a million and one features, and you only need to use a dozen of them. So we wanted something that could do what we wanted, and Chartio ticked the boxes. Chartio was feature-rich, but not so much that it would be so complicated and take years to set up and get the full worth out of.”
Chartio was feature-rich, but not so much that it would be so complicated and take years to set up and get the full worth out of.
—Andrew Jervis, CEO & Co-Founder at ClickMechanic
Fueling more informed decisions
In the early days, the goal was to enable everyone on the ClickMechanic team to use Chartio. While that’s still the case, more specialized lanes have evolved as the company has grown.
“Originally [Chartio] was a BI tool we integrated so that all different members of the team could use it,” Andrew says. “But over time, we had a couple of freelance data specialists who were ultimately responsible for data. We had a process by which they would be the funnel for people who had data requests to make informed decisions, to get that data and pull it back and give it to those teams.”
Today, Chartio usage is very much on a team-by-team basis. Business owners in different departments – for example, the head of operations, or the marketing manager — use Chartio to build a business case for their specific priorities. By regularly checking metrics in Chartio, they can quickly identify issues like problems with the onboarding experience, or underperforming regions of their market, so they can make a stronger case for allocating resources differently or making updates to the product.
“First and foremost, it’s super important that we give a lot of autonomy to the teams,” Andrew explains. “So to be able to be autonomous and informed, and to make those decisions quickly and on an agile basis, people need to be equipped with the right tools and information. So the ability for all those key stakeholders within the business to get access to that data themselves quite easily, quite quickly, to then build business cases to put engineering resources toward something I think is key.”
It’s the opposite of, say, “having a data silo, where at the beginning of the week you put your data request in, and you’ll be told you’ll get a response within 7 days – that inhibits being agile, being quick.”
Looking under the hood
Being able to explore so much data in one place has helped the ClickMechanic team discover plenty of new insights.
For example, for Sales, one priority is signing up new mechanics to the platform. Andrew describes how they’ve used Chartio to create a series of dashboards and charts where they track the entire funnel for new mechanics.
“So we can see, in a particular month, how many [mechanics] have gone into the first part of the flow, how many meet the criteria for joining the network, how many have gone into the onboarding flow where they have to provide documentation. We split that down by different types of cohorts and channels, so we can see the volume of mechanics who come from our search channel, how many come from Facebook. We can then see how many bookings were assigned, how much of that assigning revenue got completed, what their average review was. We can pull all this data apart and look at it in different ways.”
This granular insight into the funnel has helped them spot issues, like which channels are responsible for mechanics with the lowest completion rates, so they can better target mechanics who are likely to accept customers’ requests.
An engine for success
It’s not just sales and product teams that have benefited from these insights, though. ClickMechanic has shared its data-driven takeaways with media outlets as well, capitalizing on current events and market trends to build awareness about the company.
Take a 2018 report in The Sun, for example, which cited ClickMechanic data in showing how, in a particularly cold winter, car battery replacements increased by a whopping 146%. Or how, earlier this year, the company noticed a surge in customers buying pre-purchase inspections – a sign of growth in demand for cars due to people avoiding public transportation during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.
Recent media exposure, a growing customer base, and several successful rounds of fundraising have all put ClickMechanic in the driver’s seat as it pursues its mission: to bring trust, transparency, and convenience to car repair.
“Our whole vision is about making car care easy for everyone everywhere,” Andrew notes.
And by making data-driven decisions to constantly improve its product and services, the company is in a great position to navigate the road ahead, wherever it may take them.