Updater’s customer-first approach to building Updater | Pro Onboarding

photo of conference call

How we got close to our customers, listened, learned, and iterated on the path to launching a category-defining product.

This blog post was written by George Matelich, the Lead Product Manager for Updater Pro | Onboarding.

The journey of Updater | Pro Onboarding has transformed Updater from an optional tool to an indispensable asset in the multifamily industry. Since our founding in 2010, our mission has been to create a moving app that is so helpful and easy to use, you won’t want to move without it. The idea of Updater | Pro Onboarding builds on that foundation and provides more direct, quantifiable value to our multifamily partners, in addition to their residents.

Where did we start?

We started out focusing on what we knew best: the consumers. Leveraging Updater’s foundation as a modern consumer software application that has revolutionized the moving experience, we set our sights on the next phase. We understood the importance of design, data, and staying ahead of the technological curve. However, we soon realized that this approach alone would not guarantee the success of Updater | Pro Onboarding.

Updater | Pro Onboarding needed to be built with the onsite team in mind, and those onsite teams, we learned, value simplicity, stability, time savings, and ease of use. We heard time and time again that the most valuable time spent is scheduling and touring apartments. The more freedom we provide onsite teams to do just that, the move value we provide. Furthermore, we also have heard that most of these teams interact with 10-20 different software tools and the burden of learning yet a new thing feels daunting. The easier and more intuitive we can make new user onboarding, the better.

How did we build something onsite teams love?

We got close to our customers. With the help of a few major clients like Greystar, Bozzuto, and Beztak, we spent a lot of time understanding their core move-in needs and pain points. We got in front of onsite teams and property managers. We asked questions like “What is the most time-consuming part of your day? Walk me through your average day. What is the most frustrating part of your job? What part of the resident move-in process takes the longest? If you could snap your fingers and solve one problem, what would it be?” All of us at Updater had moved before, but we haven’t worked in leasing at an apartment community. Our customer discovery process inclusive of in-person visits, semi-structured interviews and deep synthesis helped us better understand what onsite teams needed and hoped for from Updater | Pro Onboarding.

As we got close to a point of confidence with the new experience, we went back to clients, asking a new key question: “Can you think of any reason a resident would not be able to use Updater for a move-in?” until we removed all potential edge cases.

Your smallest features can make the biggest impact

A learning: sometimes the smallest features can brighten someone’s day. For example, we introduced a proration calculator that makes it easy to apply a specific proration formula and set move-in costs accordingly. This simple feature was quick to build, and we hoped it would add value. What we didn’t realize is how much delight it would bring our onsite teams that use the app daily. That small time savings compounds on the scale of tens or hundreds of residents! A reminder to always do the little things when you can.

We didn’t stop after our initial discovery

Following the launch of Updater | Pro Onboarding in late November, we visited Beztak in Michigan to gain firsthand insights into the experiences of their onsite teams. To say this trip was insightful doesn’t come close to sharing how much we learned.

The good: people really like Updater Pro Onboarding! The onsite teams had great things to say about its simplicity and ease of use. They also raved about the time-savings.

The interesting: certain aspects of their move-in process differed from our initial understanding, proving that there is no replacement for being in person with your customer and truly learning their day-to-day.

This visit proved to be instrumental in solidifying our priorities for the upcoming quarter. By strengthening our relationship with Beztak and having direct access to key users within their onsite team, we gained valuable insights that will guide our future enhancements and ensure our product continues to meet their evolving needs.

Where We Are Today

As a product team, we promise to continue building and iterating on Updater | Pro Onboarding. I’m always here to listen carefully and ask hard questions in service of empathy and reaching a solution that you can’t live without. With Updater Pro Onboarding, we haven’t pivoted away from our consumers, we just have more empathy for a new user group to keep in mind. This balanced approach has been instrumental in driving higher adoption rates and increased customer satisfaction.

If this story resonates with you and you’re interested in learning more about Updater | Pro Onboarding, click here to schedule a demo, and discover firsthand how our product can revolutionize your move-in processes and empower your onsite teams to thrive.