Managing an apartment building is a bit of a headache. Every day you have to perform many small operations, interact with tenants, suppliers, utilities, and ensure everyone is happy. In all this mess, the last thing you want to do is manually enter data into an Excel spreadsheet and draw up the paperwork. With this in mind, the Customer Relationship Mamanegmant (CRM) system is a perfect solution. It automates routine tasks and improves the results of your daily activity. In this post, we will share our experience of building CRM for a real estate company. We’ll trace the project from start to finish and see what benefits the client received from business automation.
About the project
Our client is a big construction company called SAGA Development. It works in Ukraine and implements large-scale projects for life and business. The company is guided by the goal of creating a comfortable environment for all citizens. Its range of services covers all the matters related to housebuilding and facility management.
The client contacted us with a task to create an all-in-one solution for house management. They needed a system that would bring together managers and tenants to ensure pleasant living conditions. At that moment, they had all administrative issues spread across Excel files, Google documents, notes on the phone, and so on. It was extremely outdated. The lack of a unified system prevented effective communication and slowed down the smooth workflow.
The company decided to digitize the business processes and land all questions on one page. They needed a tool that would help their employees work on peak efficiency. This is how the idea of SPHERA was born.
To achieve maximum results, we agreed to build a two-component system: one – for the company’s managers and another – for the house residents. The first one is a web platform, and the second – the mobile app. In this post, we will consider the web-based CRM system designed for the firm’s internal needs. Let’s trace our path.
We were working on the project according to the Agile Manifesto and Scrum methodology. Before starting, we defined long-term goals and a final deadline. During development, the short-term tasks were sometimes updated to achieve better results. At the end of each sprint, we held online meetings with the client to share the work done.
To implement the CRM for real estate, we had a team of five:
- Business analyst
- Backend developer
- Web developer
- Ui/UX designer
- QA engineer
The backend was written in Ruby, while the frontend – in React. Besides, we integrated the system with 1C and connected Viber and Telegram for direct messaging. The project was implemented in six months. Next, we will see what we got at the output.
CRM for real estate. Main features
In this section, we’ll review the CRM’s functionality and show how the interface looks like.
Here, users add and manage content, which is further displayed to residents in their mobile apps. There different kinds of information that can be published, edited, or deleted:
- News. If a parking space is for sale or a new playground is opened, the manager posts the relevant news through the admin panel, and tenants see it in their mobile app.
- Construction reports. Managers add and regularly update information about new objects that are under construction. App users can view it on their phones.
- Documents. Admins place public documents so that users could view them in the app.
- Apartment layout. The CRM users add information about the apartments’ layout in the residential estate. App users can choose a suitable option even before contacting the company.
- Camcorders. This feature allows managers to add videocams for each residential complex so that app users could watch what happens there in real-time mode.
The calendar allows you to make appointments, record events, and leave reminders. It is an essential tool for effective time planning. The building manager interacts with a vast number of people, including tenants and third-party organizations. So, this simple yet, vital feature helps arrange tasks for a smooth workflow.
This section contains information about the clients – those who use the Sphera mobile app. Managers can add, edit, and delete records. Also, they can view and modify the details in the customer’s profile. Here is the list of available actions:
- set up the client’s role (tenant, family member, trustee)
- add/edit/delete personal data
- add/edit/delete documents
- view client initiatives
- view invoices and their payment status
- view claims, orders, and applications for various services
- send messages and see the list of received messages
- delete the client’s addresses (in case they no longer live in the house)
In-built filters allow you to analyze clients by different parameters: roles, residential complexes, debts, initial groups, etc.
This part of the system contains all CRM users. As a rule, they are managers of the company, each responsible for their own work area. For example, middle managers may be assigned to specific buildings. So, they access related data only. Senior managers can view all real estate objects and monitor the work of employees.
It is possible to send information or advertising messages through the following channels: push notifications, Viber, Telegram. You can also add a poll with multiple buttons so that users tick a necessary box. The newsletter can be sent to everyone at once, specific residential complexes, or a selected group of users.
In the mailing statistics, you can see:
- the number of sent messages
- the number of sent polls and received responses
- the ratio of communication channels
- the ratio of mailing types
- delivery and viewing reports
You can also upload the data on a specific mailing to an Excel file.
Documents of internal purpose are stored here. They are not intended for public view and are allowed for company employees only. The functionality is laconic and enables users to add, edit, and delete files. Also, different filters by category are available to quickly find information.
The tenants can create housing improvement initiatives in a mobile app. Such initiatives may include renovations, events, administrative changes, and so on. After the initiative has been created, it goes to moderation. Admin can accept, reject, or put it on a vote. Besides, managers can launch their own initiatives and send them for voting to clients. The analytics section displays a percentage of initiatives by status: new, on voting, withdrawn, accepted, rejected.
Most of the problems faced by the tenants do not require communication with the operator. As a rule, they can be solved in one click. In the Sphera app, you can do so. Users submit an application, and the managers process it through CRM. Typical applications aim to call certain specialists:
After receiving an application, the admin calls the required specialist and changes the application’s status from “new” to “in progress.” When the requested work is completed, the manager closes the application, and its status changes to “done.”
This section stores information on all building objects of the company. When a new residential complex is launched, users add it to the system. The available actions include:
- add building
- edit building
- delete building
- filter buildings by title, address, number of sections, number of floors
To create compliance, the tenant clicks “Complain” in the app, briefly describes the situation, and clicks submit. The manager sees a new complaint in the CRM system and starts processing it. Depending on the current status, the complaint can be marked as new, pending, rejected, or resolved. The manager can also add a comment, attach a text document, image, or video. Thus, CRM functionality allows users to deal with disappointed customers online without meeting or even contacting them by phone.
Here the users can see in-depth information on incoming and outcoming finances. The managers can view debts, payments, utility bills, and filter them by period and building. The system displays data in a handy format using graphs and diagrams. This lets users immediately assess the situation and pay attention to problem areas.
It took us six months to complete the project. At the end of this period, we provided the customer with a full-fledged CRM that brings business processes to the digital format and eliminates the need to manage data manually. Implementing the system allowed the company to improve operational efficiency, reduce downtime, and increase customer loyalty. They got smart automation that put managers and tenants on the same page.
CRM for a construction company was an exciting project. We have gained vast experience and learned many nuances of development for real estate. Now, we stay in touch with the client and update the system according to the changing environment. If you think of building CRM to manage the housing complex, get in touch. We know where to start and what to offer.