If you've visited Indonesia you've likely seen, and maybe even hailed, an ojek, those ubiquitous two-wheeled taxis popular throughout Asia. Go-Jek, playing off the name of the taxi-alternative, started as a small call center in Jakarta serving 300-400 ojeks. The company scaled fast, and it wasn’t long before they were managing calls for 200,000 drivers. “We had months where we expanded 900%. It was crazy growth,” said Aakash Dharmadhikari, Go-Jek’s chief product officer. Soon Go-Jek was delivering a wide swath of on-demand services, from transportation and food delivery to cleaning services and glam squads, all housed on a single platform.
Now with more than 2,000 employees, Go-Jek is a B2B juggernaut, competing against heavy hitters like Uber. “People sometimes call us the ‘Uber of Asia,’ but we offer much more than just transportation,” said Aakash. “E-commerce companies use our logistics platform, and a lot of smaller businesses heavily depend upon our courier services.”
Aakash credits much of their success on a deep understanding of their markets, saying “We are the only local company among our major competitors. Local knowledge helps us solve key problems in ways that others can’t.” That familiarity has led them to their next move: the launch of Go-Pay Wallet, a direct-debit payment app seamlessly embedded into the Go-Jek platform. While it might seem like a natural fit for Go-Jek’s platform, in cash-heavy societies like Indonesia and other parts of Asia implementing a convenient, secure no-cash payment platform on a mass scale calls for a unique approach. This is where Twilio enters the picture.
"For any payment platform, the first thing you need to do is integrate your customers onto the platform, but how do you do this when most of your customers don’t bank?' asked Aakash.“So we introduced a feature where our customers can ‘top-up’ their Go-Pay Wallet via our drivers. It’s like adding cash onto your debit card. Twilio’s phone verification service lets our drivers complete these transactions.”
Although Go-Jek has multiple ways for customers to top-up their Go-Pay on their platform, they discovered that the most user-friendly method was to go directly through Go-Jek drivers. To facilitate this, the company created a system in which their customers could approach a Go-Jek driver, hand over cash, and say, “Hey, can you top-up my account so I can use my Go-Pay Wallet next time?”
The process is simple: When a customer pays for their service in cash, the driver will ask if they want to store the change in the form of Go-Pay for future use. If so, the driver “deposits” the cash into their digital wallet, and then transfers the funds into the customer’s digital wallet. Go-Jek’s aim is to make it as easy as possible for the driver to transfer money. With this much ease of use, more and more customers see Go-Jek drivers as mobile bankers--approaching them to top-up even when they’re not using the Go-Jek driving service. When a transfer is made, the driver uses Twilio Verification on their phone to verify their identity and finalize the transaction.
With Twilio Verification, Go-Jek drivers feel comfortable knowing their transactions are secure. “Like any monetary transaction platform, security is a high concern for us,” said Aakash. “We make sure the driver has a registered phone number, so even if his phone is lost, stolen or hacked, he won’t lose his money. Without Twilio Verification, a driver’s account would not be well protected.”
Another benefit is Twilio’s simplicity. “Our drivers are not the most tech-savvy. We didn’t want to add another password or PIN for them to have to remember. Creating too many steps can get in the way of using the system, creating friction and causing drop offs. Twilio Verification helps avoid that friction,” said Aakash. “Our drivers are happy and find it very easy to conduct the transactions.”
Go-Jek chose Twilio Verification after evaluating other solutions. Said Aakash, “When a company grows as fast as ours, you can’t do everything on your own. We have a lot of technology partners who allow us to focus on the things we are supposed to work on. We could have built our own system, but Twilio gives us good reliability and visibility into what’s happening.”
Aakash added that having phone verification already integrated into their call center platform was another reason to go with Twilio Verification. “Layering support on top of that was easy,” he explained.“Twilio has very clear APIs and communications, so we didn’t need a lot of handholding. All in all, it only took about three weeks to implement.”
I feel confident having such a big part of our business on Twilio Verification —if it stops working, our customers will not be able to top-up cash, so it’s a very critical part of the user flow and it has to be reliable.
“Indonesia is a very ‘hacky’ society. Our customers will use something meant for one thing in ten different ways,” added Aakash. “It’s beautiful to see our product used in ways we couldn’t have imagined. In a lot of ways, we depend on our customers to tell us where to go next.”