The key to Reonomy’s product success is our dedication to understanding the needs, goals, and attitudes of our diverse user base. I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead the full scope of user research planning, implementation, and synthesis preceding the launch of our flagship product and to continue iterating following the launch.
Quick research Stats
300+ interviews conducted in-person or via Bluejeans
6 months as Defacto Customer Success Lead
1000+ Intercom tickets closed and tagged
5 surveys completed and analyzed
The first step was to build a solid understanding of Commercial Real Estate (CRE) professionals, who would be the initial users of the product we were planning to build. This phase of research was scrappy - I enlisted product managers, sales people, and even the CEO to work their contacts to find potential users to interview. At one point, I did an interview en-route in an Uber with a retired CRE sales broker. To focus on clear business goals and gain buy-in from the rest of the company, the product manager and I decided to use the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to synthesize our findings.
After synthesizing our initial round of research, we broke out our user base into clear groups so we could decide which problems to solve with our new product. An interesting aspect of CRE is that there are many segments and sub-industries whose users are basically doing the same thing, but with different specific data or delivery needs. For instance, Sales Brokers and Debt Brokers provide different services (finding sellers and buyers for properties or finding buyers for debt), but their workflows are almost identical. They find qualifying properties based on their own criteria and then attempt to uncover the owner of the property and contact them. Automating the uncovering of the true owner and contact information would simplify both workflows.
We broke our users into four archetypes (Seeker, Dealmaker, Researcher, and a fourth unknown archetype), plotted on axes of Prospecting and Analysis - the two main workflows we identified. Over time, with a deeper understanding of the various CRE and non-CRE segments, we were able to map these segments onto the archetypes. This was helpful in aligning the company towards solving for common workflows across segments - and away from solving for specific industries.
With this thorough understanding of our potential user base, we were able to design and implement a beta product over the course of six months. Shortly after, we began signing up paying customers. Within the first year, we had thousands of users sign up, generating seven figures of revenue and dozens of positive reviews from across market segments.
As Reonomy became more well-known, we started to see many users from previously unknown market segments sign up for the product. I conducted dozens of contextual inquiry studies and discovered use cases for Roofers, Solar Panel Installers, and Tax Professionals that fit almost perfectly with the product we had built for an entirely different industry. These “Service Provider” segments are now our second largest market and we have made many improvements to the product to better serve their needs.
While Jobs-to-be-Done was a useful framework for building out our initial product offering, I believed it was important to create personas to help the company maintain empathy with our users as we grew. These personas (as well as the archetypes shown above) are used as part of the onboarding process for every new Reonomy employee.
Using research as a guide, the team at Reonomy was able to deliver an innovative product to the market, setting a new bar for UX design in CRE tech. The most satisfying outcome for me has been hearing from happy customers who love our product.