The WonderLeon Awards

Scaling Stories: BlaBlaCar


What do we do? BlaBlaCar is the world’s leading long distance carpooling service, connecting drivers with empty seats to people travelling the same way.


Leveraging Your Community Anywhere

During our high-growth international expansion phase (2009-2016), we decided to launch BlaBlaCar in Russia in February 2014. Since that time, we have seen tremendous growth and Russia is today our first market with 15 million members among our +65 million members we have globally.

In this context, we encountered challenges for our community relations team as we had to absorb volumes while keeping a close tie to our community. We also had to keep a manageable size for internal team so that the team could stay focused on high-value requests.
So we had a solution at hand that we already launched in France and Spain that we wanted to scale to Russia: BlaBlaHelp, a community based chat.


The Little Stories Behind the Scaling Story

What is BlaBlaHelp? Our expert members, our Ambassadors, help our newbie members through a collaborative chat tool. This solution helps us assist in real-time our members, reduces “basic” requests for our internal team, have an instant highlight on bugs as well as continuous feedback on our product contributing to the quality of our service.

The Russian peculiarities we had to adapt to were a huge community, the use of cyrillic, few English speakers, remote working issues and a specific Russian tech & legal environment.

The results so far are very encouraging. We contacted 20 000 Russian members, close to half of them opened the invitation mail, 6 000 clicked and 971 registered to become a BlaBlaHelper. It has been a success so far as it shows the engagement of our members and high sense of belonging to our community.

What’s next? We are refining our strategy on BlaBlaHelpers’ acquisition & retention, organizing a first BlaBlaHelp event in Russia and will continue scaling BlaBlaHelp to other markets.


Key learnings & Anecdotes

  • Empower/ involve your local fan base (in our case: russian members) to spread the adoption of your service faster and to keep your teams focused on other local particularities.
  • Local Community is key (local people trust local people) whether it be consolidating your position in a growing market, or to support you in an early stage market, local people, in this case Russian members, are your best ambassadors. Involve them!

Here are some numbers on the operation, for the first batch, we wanted to target 1 000 recipients and finally ended up sending our invitation to 20 000 recipients. This has been an unexpected success, leading us to welcome and onboard 971 active and engaged members. About 87% of the chat requests are answered within 10 seconds by our Helpers.


Team: the Far Eastern BlaBlaHelp

This has truly been a cross-team effort with our Community Relations team in Paris and Warsaw, local Russian team, Marketing team and Tech team.


Associated company