What we did
Well-informed guides in the wilds of real estate
Real estate is a search that never stops. It’s not only a hunt for a good price, a better bath–bed ratio, or the best neighborhood. Whether it’s buying or selling, expanding or downsizing, residential or commercial, real estate is about who people want to be, and where they want to be, in the next chapter of their lives.
To help each customer through that unique search, realtors must be attuned guides. They should be equipped with all the information needed to make the market feel less like a wilderness and more like a personalized journey. They need to understand buyers’ and sellers’ criteria and accurately crossmatch those to what the market has to offer. And they’d better move at the speed of search engines, where most customer journeys begin.
With an abundance of market and customer data to master – not to mention fierce competition joining the chase for the same information – where do these guides go for guidance?
Plezzel has been helping real estate agents and companies build their brands and connect with the right buyers and sellers since 2010. More than 7,000 agents in Australia use the Plezzel platform to launch targeted digital advertising campaigns, streamline lead capture and management and run intelligent, automated inquiry follow-ups to ensure they’re responsive whenever and wherever customers are online. But to take its products and services to the next level in a fast-moving market, Plezzel wanted to keep evolving its capabilities.
Guiding the guides with simpler reporting
The Plezzel platform captures leads and inquiries from multiple online and social portals and then pipes those leads back into its clients’ customer relationship management (CRM) software. Clients, the real estate guides who Plezzel supports, then maintain ownership of that data.
Serving thousands of real estate agents, companies and developers, Plezzel is keenly aware of the value of timely data reporting – but that hasn’t always been easy for its teams to deliver. While data reporting can help its clients spot trends and make better business decisions for promoting future listings, behind the scenes it took hours for senior members of the Plezzel team to manually grab that data, run queries, plug it all into a spreadsheet, generate graphs and wrap everything into monthly performance reports for each customer. As well as being time-consuming, the work ultimately didn’t add value since, by the time reports reached customers, they were far from reflecting real-time conditions.
Plezzel prides itself on making work easier for its customers, and it knew it needed help to inject similar modernization into its own internal processes.
“We’re all about automation and ease at Plezzel,” chief operating and financial officer Cecille McCutcheon explains. “We’ve got such rich data sets on the backend, but we needed a more efficient way to present that data across our company and for all our clients in a nice, presentable dashboard without a lot of intensive, manual effort.”
Slalom produced something in a small amount of time that we were able to get business value out of right away.
Less manual work, more insight
Plezzel wanted help not only simplifying its reporting process but readying its technology architecture for new standards and practices just over the horizon. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Plezzel was eager to use predictive modeling to serve up the most relevant listings to in-the-market buyers. These listings would reflect users’ interests demonstrated at a precise level of granularity – right down to preferred house colors.
But first Plezzel needed to get its data house in order, so to speak.
For phase one of the engagement, our team introduced Plezzel to Amazon QuickSight, a cloud-powered business intelligence service that makes data analysis accessible, even conversational. We knew that once we did the heavy lifting of migrating the data to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon QuickSight could enable Plezzel to slice and dice that data into any visualization it needed. But before implementing the new dashboard, significant data engineering was required to ready the data. Turns out Plezzel was relying on over 8,000 tables or ad hoc extracts and reporting strategies.
Within the six-week project timeline, we built a data lake on AWS, then migrated and transformed the data and streamlined those 8,000 tables into 65. Now the system automatically feeds data into Amazon QuickSight, where anyone on the Plezzel team can easily explore the existing data, regardless of technical experience, and produce useful reports lightning fast.
“Slalom produced something in a small amount of time that we were able to get business value out of right away,” McCutcheon says. “Getting all the platform statistics, as well as digital marketing statistics and advertising metrics all in a simple dashboard was brilliant – and the team was brilliant, too.”
Our consultants also provided comprehensive documentation and demonstrations for the Plezzel team to ensure they had all the tools and knowledge to use the new solution effectively. After all, dashboards don’t do much if you don’t know how to use them or what you want to do with them.
For many of our consultants, training is a rewarding part of our co-delivery model because it’s a way to help our clients feel more confident and inspired by what they can accomplish with the technology. “Our dev team liked working with Slalom,” McCutcheon confirms, “and it’s something we want to expand on.”
Simpler, faster reporting – and room to build
Soon after we completed the first phase with Plezzel, success was confirmed when the CEO discovered he could prepare performance reports for a client meeting instantly – a process that had previously taken hours, even days. Spread this time-savings across all of Plezzel’s clients and you have a huge win for the bottom line, not to mention team morale.
The next phase will bring customizable, interactive dashboards directly to clients, which the Plezzel team is extremely excited about.
“At Plezzel, we want to be our customers’ partners,” says Kristina Blanksby, Plezzel marketing and product manager. “The dashboard gives us more capability to make the right decisions to help them grow their business in the future. It’s a competitive advantage for Plezzel, certainly, but I think it benefits our customers even more.”
With better access to more accurate data, it’s easier for Plezzel to help clients forecast how, when and where to reach the right customers. And that’s only the beginning.
As Plezzel continues to augment its digital advertising and analytics services with innovative automation and personalization, it can help its partners more confidently guide people through that relentless search and into the next chapter of their lives.