If there’s any one trend that has upended the real estate industry in the last decade, it’s the proliferation of software. On the consumer side, there are dozens of apps to find agents, list, or search for a home.
On the real estate agent side, there are numerous applications to help manage and market their businesses.
RE/MAX, one of the world’s leading franchisors in the real estate industry, has stayed on the leading edge of both trends with a 100+ person product, training and support team responsible for building and integrating new software, and training the network of 130,000 agents in 110 countries how to use it.
Their goal: to provide as much value as possible to agents, ensuring that they can operate thriving real estate businesses. And that, ultimately, drives loyalty to the brand.
As the company prepared to launch one of its largest software projects to date—a new agent CRM platform called booj and the new booj-powered remax.com—the team brought in Pendo to automate onboarding and training for agents and track usage and adoption over time. Data from Pendo would help the product team continue to iterate and the training team determine where to invest in additional education and support.
This was no small task. Most agents had used prior RE/MAX tools or their own matrix of spreadsheets, perhaps for decades. Any training used by the RE/MAX team had to help agents feel comfortable moving thousands of leads and contacts to a new system, and give them confidence a new tool and processes could make them more efficient and successful agents.
The team had considered a variety of in-app guidance tools to help onboard agents to the platform, and to supplement live training, webinars and other tactics. Pendo offered guidance functionality, the ability to solicit feedback, as well as analytics to help the team A/B test different strategies, iterate, and track adoption over time. A big selling point was the ability to provide training while agents were using the app, rather than forcing them to visit another site or portal.
“When we deliver a new piece of software to our membership, we’re able to quickly onboard them through the guides, through the experience,” says Jason Romig, RE/MAX vice president of product development and support. “They’re able to give us feedback right away, and that helps them understand that they’re getting a differentiated value proposition from RE/MAX than they would from another brand.”
Starting with A/B testing and user feedback
As soon as RE/MAX installed the Pendo snippet into booj, the team launched a series of A/B tests to try out various onboarding sequences with agents prior to launch. For example, they gave access to a small section of the CRM to about 500 agents and created a 34-step guide to show how to complete specific tasks. They used insights from Pendo to measure the success of that sequence in driving the desired outcome, and a poll to have users rate the experience, making changes based on the usage data and poll response.
As a result of insights from Pendo, one seemingly small piece of feedback—a suggestion to move the menu from the top of the product to the left side— impacted how the entire platform was built, and its use today, Ashley Rosa, RE/MAX’s director of technology engagement, says. Her team continued to iterate up until launch, eventually creating about 65 guides to help agents navigate through the new system. The team believes the testing period led to a successful launch—one third of the RE/MAX network with access to the CRM is now using it.
Onboarding at their own speed
To provide ongoing education and training, RE/MAX created a Pendo Resource Center that sits in the bottom right corner of the application for easy, on-demand access when an agent needs help. The center includes a series of guides that teach agents how to do different tasks in the application, like, for example, add a new contact.
They also use Pendo guides to make announcements, like bug fixes, product updates and feature launches. It’s become a critical communication tool for the company, says Romig.
Segmentation has been key as well. As agents begin to adopt aspects of the CRM, the team delivers guides to show them new functionality so they get deeper into the platform.
“We wanted to make sure that we have a platform that is both robust and easy to use. Guides range from really simple—how to add a contact into the CRM—to more granular—how to set up something called task plan automations,” says Josh Stengl, manager of technology engagement and consulting. “So, it really hits all of our different users and what they’re trying to learn and experience in the system.”
The team’s initial goal was modest: they hoped to extend the reach of their live, in-person trainings, which happened in 125 U.S. cities. But onboarding using Pendo surpassed expectations, helping them reach agents in 325 cities in the first 90 days. And those users spent, in aggregate, 150 days using the platform, a stat Stengl calls “shocking”.
But the real a-ha moment came when they could get a detailed view of usage and adoption by location, brokerage, even down to the individual agent. In the past, there was no way to measure the success of training—using Pendo, they could finally understand what was helping to drive engagement, what wasn’t, and set data-backed priorities for ongoing training efforts.
“We are now able to see who’s logged in, how often they’re clicking on things, when they’re logging in. And that type of information is gold for a training staff,” says Rosa.
Supporting digital transformation and future acquisitions
Rosa and Stengl’s team are constantly gathering insights from Pendo to learn from how agents interact with the training and make tweaks to messaging and guide sequence. They’ve started to add videos into Pendo guides to satisfy a desire from agents to watch and listen to instructions, rather than read them. Eventually, they plan to expand booj, and training using Pendo, outside the U.S.
Ultimately, they hope to add Pendo to every RE/MAX software platform, so that agents can go to the Resource Center anywhere and learn. Training then becomes more about driving engagement and loyalty, than simply providing a service to agents.
“When an agent is using the tools that are proprietary to a brokerage, it makes it harder for that agent to leave,” Rosa says. “They fall in love with the tools that support their business, and if they can’t get those tools or the training that comes along with it anywhere else, then they will stay with RE/MAX.”
According to Romig, Pendo has changed the way RE/MAX launches software and communicates with its membership, supporting the company’s aggressive technology acquisition strategy and continued digital transformation.
“Change management is a huge part of any technology roll out,” Romig says. “Getting information to a large group of constituents fast is a big portion of what we have to do to enable the organization to change as the technology changes. The nice part about Pendo for us, we can get value to our members as quickly as possible post-acquisition, get them trained, get them using the product so that they continue to experience the power of RE/MAX.”