UX Research - Socar App

UX Research - Socar App

How might we re-imagine a better car rental experience?

Disclaimer: This research was done on April 2023. Any updates to the app and more recent reviews are not accounted for.


In this research project, I will share the process and analysis of reviews. The purpose was to understand user pain points and situations in which users have a negative experience which can be distilled into insights for improving the product.


What is SOCAR?

"SOCAR allows you to rent and drive a variety of cars by the hour, day or week all through the SOCAR car rental app!..."

SOCAR makes renting a car on demand easier and faster, providing a range of different brands and vehicles to explore and drive using your smartphone.


SOCAR and car sharing in general come with their own set of challenges such as maintaining a consistent level of quality, safety, and cleanliness across the fleet.

Additionally, technological upkeep of the mobile app and backend systems, providing support on demand. All of these are major factors that can influence the user experience leading to churn and a negative outlook.

Why Socar works well with Malaysian drivers

Car-sharing platforms like SOCAR have a lot of positive drivers. Here are a few points.

  1. Convenience: Multiple pick-up locations offer a range of vehicle types for short-term rental without the burden of maintenance, fuel, and parking.

  2. Economical: For people who drive occasionally this is a cost-effective option without the ownership hassle.

  3. Mobile App: Manage bookings and functions as the remote control of the car using Bluetooth and the internet.

Research Method

To get a picture of the user experience I decided to check the reviews on the app stores.

Here is a quick snapshot from both Apple and Google app stores.

There is a strong contrast between positive and negative reviews. Let's dig into the research process.

User Reviews on App Stores

I scrapped user reviews on Google Playstore using python on Google Colab and exported them as a .csv file to look for areas of improvement and research pain points.

For data analysis, I am using a tool called Count which can run SQL and help filter data. I am focusing only on recent reviews.

Since January of 2023, there have been 119 user reviews submitted as of 30th March 2023. Here is a score to the user rating count table showing most submissions are 1-star rated.

Here is a snapshot of the SQL query and boundaries I've set for this dataset of 2,161 reviews. Moving forward, I've applied an additional filter, to only consider scores of 3 and under for the study which leaves me with 87 reviews.

Qualitative Analysis

After reading through the reviews, I've identified few key themes in the reported reviews. Here is a snapshot of the user reviews grouped into the key themes.

Here is the link to view the count canvas with the reviews and groups of themes.

Results and Key Themes

Car pickup location difficulty

Users expressed that they had trouble locating available cars through the app. This suggests that the car-sharing service might have issues with the accuracy of its car location data or the effectiveness of its car-finding feature.


  • "Unable to find Socar zone..."

  • "No car and no show. Car wasn't delivered and made me look for the car...took two hours for CS to get back and find location... unreliable"

  • "Sometimes there are no car showup nearby when usually there are many car around my area... many errors with this new update"

  • "Hard to find a car. App design is bad and does not work most of the time..."

Mileage, payment and charging issues

Users expressed confusion over the mileage charges and felt that the explanation provided was inadequate. It suggests that the rental service may not have effectively communicated the breakdown of charges, particularly regarding separate mileage fees, leading to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction.


  • "Mileage charge not explain properly. why separate charge?"

  • "Scammer type billing - (fee + mileage) billed with extra mileage on return..."

  • "It charge you double... what 14 days?... didn't have option to move your card"

  • "Can't pay with grabpay"

  • "Charged RM 100 penalty without notice"

  • "my legit reason on the parking ticket reimbursement. Rejected"

  • "I have rent for 5 days but mileage not included... mileage left -824 for 4th day..."

Customer Support Dissatisfaction

Excerpts point to several shortcomings in the customer service and support provided by the service or platform.

To address these issues and enhance the user experience, the service should focus on the following areas:

  • Improving Contact Options

  • Reducing Response Times

  • Enhancing Issue Resolution

  • Optimizing Verification Processes

  • Continuous Improvement


  • "How do I contact customer service or helpline..."

  • "Slow response"

  • "Customer service cannot solve issue"

  • "processsing is way too slow to do verification"

    10+ more

Login Problems

Socar app or service should focus on the following areas to improve the user experience and address the reported issues:

  • OTP Functionality

  • Account Management and Sign-Up

  • Inactivity Handling

  • Persistent Login State


  • "Wrong OTP error, unable to login" x2

  • "Cannot log in, sign up error saying account already taken"

  • "If you don't login to app for a couple of weeks, it will not login back again"

  • "I already have socar account. But everytime log out I need to sign up back"

    5+ more

Registration hurdles

The Socar app or service should focus on the following areas to improve the registration and verification process and enhance the user experience:

  • Facial Recognition Improvement

  • Document Upload Enhancements

  • Phone Number Recognition

  • Clarity on International License Requirements

  • Faster Verification Process


  • "Unable to verify face, camera issue"

  • "failed to upload registration documents"

  • "Error 'phone number' already exists, cannot sign up"

  • "Requirement for international license no clear guidelines"

  • "It takes ages to verify. Not useful if you're in rush."

Driving Experience Challenges

To address these issues and improve the overall user experience, Socar should focus on the following areas:

  • Regular Car Maintenance

  • Cleanliness and Upkeep

  • Safety Measures

  • Parking Card Management

  • Improving Connectivity and Bluetooth


  • "Terrible car condition - car is not maintained, alert is on"

  • "Car condition-dirty, breakdown cause of battery low"

  • "Car locked during booking with personal belongings..."

  • "Parking card not paid"

  • "No (internet) reception/bluetooth pairing issues"

General app usability concerns

Socar app or service should focus on the following areas to improve the user experience:

  • UI Design Improvements

  • Enhance Information Accessibility

  • Simplify Unlocking and Returning Process

  • Resolve Smartkey Issues

  • Improve Reimbursement Process


  1. "Bad UI design"

  2. ""trying to find out about fuel ruling and cannot find answer. Even FAQ... tells us to go account and to live chat which doesn't exist..."

  3. "Can't unlock the car for almost one hour... has lots of charges, complicated step... can't return cause failed to snap car picture..."

  4. "Not for serious users... smartkey issue, unreliable and not stable... refuel reimbursement claim fail.. RM250 for a day of stress and many day of reading email"

That's all folks.

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