Turo is the world’s largest car sharing marketplace where you can book any car you want, wherever you want it, from a vibrant community of trusted hosts across the US, Canada, and the UK. Turo.com →

We were stuck using a clunky tool that wasn’t designed to streamline our research process. Then we found Ethnio ✨ Ansaria MohammedLead UX Researcher at Turo

The Challenge

The design team at Turo is growing rapidly. At the same time, there’s an increasing demand for complex research projects with both the guests who book vehicles, and the hosts who list vehicles. Turo saw the perfect opportunity to streamline their recruiting and participant management processes, by uprooting their legacy tools in favor of an end-to-end solution; They needed a way to centralize their invites, screening, scheduling, and payments in one system. The trick was finding a tool strong enough to meet their high standards for communication and UX on a company-wide level.  

Broken Processes, Broken Promises

Turo’s Lead UX researcher, Ansaria Mohammed, set out last year to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of their participant management process. What she immediately discovered was the tool they were using made a lot of promises around centralization but failed to deliver on the details. 

Here’s what she needed:

✔️ Upload lists of drivers and hosts
✔️ Segmentation
✔️ Branded email templates approved by marketing (and the CEO!)
✔️ Participant screening
✔️ Bulk invites
✔️ Route to unmoderated testing tools
✔️ Payment hub
✔️ Engagement tracking
✔️ Governance & rules for frequency of contact

Unfortunately for Ansaria, her expectations weren’t quite met. Before Ethnio, the team was juggling inconsistent documents and homemade templates. They were manually copying and pasting invite emails into their previous participant management tool, which was more focused on selling their own panel of participants than empowering researchers. This not only increased the chance of human error, but guzzled hours of time her team could utilize on other tasks.

Another speed bump for the Turo team was the focus panel-based approach to participant recruiting. As researchers ourselves at Ethnio, we understand the importance of scaling research, but the real value comes from diverse, high-quality participants across a range of user types.

The Solution: Fine-tuning Turo’s research email machine 

After switching from their previous tool to Ethnio, Turo now has a set of 20+ highly designed templates, approved by design (and even the CEO), all built within Ethnio. Not only do the templates save time, but they drive a message of quality to participants. 

Before – no branding available (left) and after – Ethnio’s email editor (right)

Something as simple as sending mass email invites to their own target audience was impossible with the previous platform, as is common with panel recruiting tools. Turo were forced to hack together their own mass emails using the dreaded mail merge. Now, with Ethnio, all the features they need are under the hood.

And when it comes to emailing specific segments, there’s even a feature to automatically randomize a subset of the audience; Turo simply chooses their desired number of participants, and voilà! Ethnio will also automatically exclude that random audience from the next invite based on clever cool down rules.

For unmoderated studies, Turo emails and screens their participants in Ethnio, then uses the helpful third Party URL feature to hand participants off. This feature allowed Ansaria’s team to create a set of closed-ended questions to pre-screen participants, and send them to a URL of their choice.

Communication matters to our team, and everyone from the CEO on down needs to reflect the brand and tone of Turo. Our Ethnio emails are the first step in building an authentic connection with our participants, so polish and first impressions matter.Brian BeaverSenior VP of Design at Turo

This ability to email large groups, subsets, or cohorts based on segments and tags has dramatically improved Turo’s operational efficiency. They analyzed their new workflow, and found that Etnnio saved an estimated four hours per research study, allowing the research team to spend less time managing participants, and more time listening to them.

Turo used to struggle without the features they needed in one integrated survey tool. Today, they do everything in Ethnio. And email templates are not the only area of Ansaria’s workflow to get a full valet…

Unlocking Insights with Intuitive Segmentation

Ansaria works with two main types of participants: Hosts and Guests. Let’s say she starts by exporting a list to CSV. She quickly uploads the list to Ethnio and adds some filters such as “number of trips for guests”. From there, she adds metadata filters that pull past research history and internal product attributes; the result is a concise list of valuable participants. No convoluted Excel formulas or tedious workarounds..

Ansaria is able to use a combination of tags, segments, and filters to organize both participant types in Ethnio. All three of these organizational options make it simple to carve out powerful sets of Turo users ready to receive their beautifully designed email invites. For example, if the team only wants to speak to hosts who have completed 10+ trips and haven’t participated in our research studies in the last six months, it only takes a few clicks:

Part of the Turo workflow, common among other research teams, is they usually ask for more potential users, and attributes, than they will ever need. This helps to drive conversions, of course, but it does cause a large amount of filtering and segmenting before sending out invites. Ethnio’s smart import feature eases this headache by remembering the columns in your CSV file, and mapping them to future uploads. Piece of cake.

From Manual to Automatic with Custom Tags

Turo quickly realized rating participants can increase the quality of their panel over time. So, Ansaria created a custom scale, which upon completion of interviews the team would rate. Not only does that automatically show up in all future use cases, but since Turo has a host community, they can use the ratings to invite hosts to special studies in the future.

This empowers the research team to make better decisions: to invite or not invite participants based on insightful past context. This is incredibly important for Turo, because some of the tools they use require training and knowledge of think-out-loud protocols, which a lot of people struggle to pick up. 

Ethnio has streamlined our research ops without sacrificing a fantastic experience for participants and researchers.Ansaria MohammedLead UX Researcher at Turo

A Smooth Ride for Turo’s Research Operations

Since Turo decided to upgrade their participant management with Ethnio, their research operations handle like a dream (we promise to stop with the car puns… soon 😉). We love working with research and design teams like Turo’s, as they care about their participants and always strive to improve their research quality. 

Moving to an all-in-one platform has enabled Ansaria and her team to source, schedule, track and incentivize participants in one place; and their easy-to-edit email templates have created a seamless experience for users to provide the team with meaningful information.

We’re looking forward to seeing where Turo’s research ambitions go next… and we’re riding shotgun! 

Ready to Switch to Ethnio?Join thousands of other research ops folks and researchers who care about the details of participant management.