Every business is about finding a “pain point” for a large group of consumers and coming up with a solution to make that task easier. For Dammack Property Software, those consumers were real estate agencies. Dammack wanted to provide a solution that would make all of the elements of managing shared accommodations, from placing tenants to managing contracts to maintaining properties, much easier. Dammack had an idea for a web app to achieve these goals, but they asked CobbleWeb to help them design and build it.
Dammack was looking to build a web app that would make managing a real estate agency easier. The goal was to allow agencies to manage their entire business and track the performance of their agents with the push of the button. The interface needed to be intuitive and easy to use because agents don’t have time to learn a complicated new system. But at the same time, the app needed to be robust, scalable, fast, safe and flexible. It was a challenge to bring all of those traits together in one app. Below is a list of specific elements that needed to be included in the app to achieve the overall goals described above:
The app needs to centralize all job requests so that property managers and coordinators can quickly identify what jobs require attention and what is needed to complete those tasks. The app also needs to be able to sort the uncompleted jobs based on job requirements, how dire the underlying issue is and how long the job has been unaddressed.
To maximize efficiency, the app needs to allow agents to quickly sort through available rooms based on what the applicant is seeking in terms of amenities. This will allow prospective to only see spaces that meet their needs and are available. No more wasting time showing applicants spaces that aren't feasible.
The app needs to allow financial controllers in the agencies to track the financial activities of the company while reducing the amount of effort put into data entry and financial reporting. It also needed to integrate financial reporting into the app while making the process as straightforward and simple as possible.
The app needs to identify activities key to the management of real estate agencies, monitor those processes and alert management when issues arise related to those activities that could inhibit operational activities.
The app needed to model and track key real estate performance metrics so that agents could respond to changing circumstances effectively.
Agency administrators need to personalize each user's experience as well as define the limits of each user's access to information.
The Dammack app is about allowing teams to reach their full potential. The technology is not meant to replace the human element in real estate but to enhance agents’ performance by improving both the process and product. To achieve that, the web app is driven by user experience. We made the app intuitive with stunning visual previews and a lightning-fast interface. With CobbleWeb’s help, Dammack made an app that is a unique experience for its users. Here is how CobbleWeb exceeded expectations and addressed all of the very specific demands placed on this app.
If an available room is undergoing maintenance, it is highlighted so that it will not be made available for showings. These features allowed agents to work more efficiently because they could see all relevant information at a glance. Speed is key in making these deals. The agents are also able to build trust with applicants by only showing spaces that are ready and fit the applicants' needs.
Administrators can also track all expenses associated with each property, including maintenance, utilities costs and taxes. This gives agencies a complete picture of the profitability of their properties. The results of this view are staggering. The time associated with financial transaction progressed five times as quickly and the agency's financial analyses were of higher quality and could be completed in minutes instead of hours
The app was developed in a way to ensure that each user's profile can be customized to only show the information that will be useful to their work. Administrators can set privileges and segregate data in a finite and incremental way to allow each user to see all the information and none of the information they don't.
We used online surveys within the web app which trigger according to specific user scenarios. These helped us challenge assumptions we made at the beginning of the project. We also modeled specialized metrics to better understand different aspect of the user experience on the app. We also monitored what features were adopted by different agents and agencies.
One of the key lessons from this process was identifying the appropriate real estate metrics to provide to administrators through our app.
Usability metrics measure how easy it is for a user to interact and benefit from the app with minimal prompting or outside help.
For this class of metrics, we relied on traditional user testing. We filmed users interacting with the app and tracked JS errors throughout the initial deployment.
We learned that some business metrics were ineffective because they make people feel good but do not provide insight on what actions to improve a process. Meaningful metrics are really important to evaluate business health, especially if those metrics highlight something wrong before it can have a disastrous effect on your business.
We replaced certain metrics or moved them to where a user would look for that information, based on our research of when and what information an agent needs to make an informed decision. After making these adjustments, use of the app increased.
Usability metrics helped us to identify user patterns we didn’t expect and improve the zoning of the web app. We also learned that the save system was generating many problems since agents forgot to save data. This resulted in the real estate agency losing or having incorrect data. So we made adjustments to the saving process to address the issue.
The new app retains the familiar feel of Dammack Property Software. However, customers now have confidence that Dammack Property Software will work for their business because they are getting more actionable insights from the app. For their customers, Dammack's new app reached the achievements stated below. The Dammack web app is revolutionizing how the real estate teams manage their activities.
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