The owner dashboard

TurnKey managed thousands of vacation rental properties in 50+ markets around the US. In doing research on client sentiment, it came to light that clients were frustrated that 1) they couldn’t easily assign maintenance tasks to our team and 2) that they had no visibility into pending cases.

CompanyTurnKey Vacation RentalsYear2017Duration12 weeksRoleResearch, interviews, wireframes, high-fidelity mock-ups, design quality assurance

Project goals

Often projects have an opportunity to be a win for the clients and a win for the business - this was one of those. Autonomy is one of those key drivers of happiness - if we could create more autonomous clients, not only would they be happier but their autonomy would come with the benefit of reducing operational burden on TurnKey support.

Goal

Efficiency gains

Manual processes were inefficient and costly and we could do something about it

Goal

Improved CSAT

TurnKey clients wanted an easier way to report issues at their property

Goal

Improved task assignment

The field operations team used Salesforce for task assignment, but it was clunky, expensive and inefficient

Phases of the project

This project started with a classic 'we need to build [X].' In this case, we had time to understand client needs and build requirements from there. We could shape the output to maximize solving a need uncovered during the research portion of the project.

Researching user needs

Conversations with internal staff and clients alike helped illuminate the issues we were seeing with client-generated work requests

Initial design exploration

Working through ideas, talking with clients, talking with execs, more design work

Refinement and confirmation

Working on hand-off documentation and prepping for development

Impact

"If it doesn't move the needle, rip it out"

Researching user needs

To start, I conducted phone interviews with TurnKey clients and operational staff

Research

Initial design

Refinement

Impact

Two sets of users emerged from interviews

TurnKey clients described a need to reduce ambiguity about events happening at their property; and a need for autonomy, so they could request work without needing to call and speak to their support representative.

Clients

I want visibility and ease

I own a vacation home which TurnKey manages. To request work means a phone call to TurnKey client support. I'd also like to easily know when work is scheduled to start on issues, and what the status is.

Staff

Help me be efficient

I'd love an easy way (not Salesforce, please) to view my tasks, communicate with clients, take pictures and know that information is automatically being passed to clients

TurnKey’s field operations team could use the app as a task management system and use it as a way to communicate asynchronously with customers.

Stakeholders at TurnKey saw an opportunity to become more efficient, to allow a smaller cadre of support agents to represent a larger number of clients.

Research content and user stories for an app designed to increase the efficiency of our field operations team

A jobs-to-be-done framework helped organize and operationalize what we'd learned in research

Interview notes turned into a jobs-to-be-done spreadsheet. Shown above, organizing the needs of so-called 'backstage' actors (the field operations staff) who actually do the maintenance on the home.

To buy or build?

TurnKey used Salesforce as a CRM, and the company looked into developing with Salesforce Lightning. The problem was the cost of seats was prohibitive, given the sheer number of field operations staff who would be using the system. Zendesk was an option we explored, but ultimately the needs of the team were so specific that no existing tool would yield significant improvements to the current process. These apps were excellent inspiration.

Definition by design

We made some fast sketches to get alignment with stakeholders and clients

Research

Initial design

Refinement

Impact

We had developed a relationship with some of our early interview participants, so we called them up and asked them to use an interactive version of the paper prototype. We could then take these to the COO (who was leading the project) and get additional feedback on our approach.

To move the needle on client satisfaction, we decided to focus on client needs first

Clients

I want visibility and ease

I own a vacation home which TurnKey manages. To request work means a phone call to TurnKey client support. I'd also like to easily know when work is scheduled to start on issues, and what the status is.

Staff

Help me be efficient

I'd love an easy way (not Salesforce, please) to view my tasks, communicate with clients, take pictures and know that information is automatically being passed to clients

'Research-lite' conversations with clients validated the direction we were taking the product

We jumped to high-fidelity work. Accurate contextual information gave this work more heft and credibility as we shopped our work to executives.

Flow charts doubled as part of a hand-off to the engineering team

As prototypes get more complex, they get less useful as a requirements artifact. Flow charts can be a helpful starting place for making sense of a proposed system.

Unified naming conventions helped during handoff

Practices like this help make small efficiencies across a design and engineering process.

Solidifying our approach

Solidifying

Core functionality gave TurnKey clients direct access to service and support

Sometimes well-executed basics can move the needle. This app gave clients a history of everything that was going on at their property, and it allowed them to easily ping support to kick off a case if something needed attention.

Research

Initial design

Refinement

Impact

Refinement continued with a 'Design QA' ceremony

This project kicked off a tradition at TurnKey. Rather than go back and forth in JIRA to resolve issues we saw in the product before launch, we decided it would be faster (and more fun) to all get in a room together, and to run quality assurance in person. Taco Donut Palace II was sure to be found at these events.

The impact of our work

The founder of Indeed once said that at Indeed, "If it doesn't move the needle, we ripped it out. Even if it was neutral - it's not worth the tech debt." That quote stuck with me.

Research

Initial design

Refinement

Impact

+32%

Improvement in resolution time for cases created on the project board

+9%

Increase in five-star ratings, for cases created on the project board

Success

Efficiency gains

Originally this was conceived as 'fewer phone calls' but we ended up seeing big gains in case resolution time.

Success

Improved CSAT

We had a nearly 10% bump in 5-star cases created in the dashboard

Paused

Improved task assignment

Operational workflows were pushed until a later time

In this case, we had an unalloyed win on our hands. We took a 10% increase in 5-star reviews for tasks completed in the owner dashboard to be a measure of overall customer satisfaction. The next piece here would be to market this service to clients and get everyone on board. The bigger surprise was in case resolution time. In my opinion our clients and field operations staff were missing some crucial tools. We were able to deliver value, and they were able to resolve cases much, much faster.