Digital product development for PlanetHome – six steps to innovative tools for process optimization

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7 minutes
Clever software solutions support real estate consultants in their communication with partners and clients, in the acquisition and sale of real estate. Simple and intuitive usability and direct connection to all important portals and tools for all processes from property valuation to property management are essential for the success of this software. Together with PlanetHome we have developed digital solutions from the needs analysis to the wireframe.

The PlanetHome Group is one of the leading real estate service providers in Germany and Austria with the core areas of brokerage and financing of residential real estate. The focus of the business model is on close cooperation with banks, insurance companies, and financial service providers (employees of these cooperation partners are referred to as partners in the following). By cooperating with PlanetHome, these partners expand the range of services offered to their customers on the subject of real estate and at the same time help to refer people looking for and selling apartments to PlanetHome.

At over 120 locations in Germany and Austria, the real estate advisors of PlanetHome accompany each year thousands of customers with the sales and purchase of real estate.

All relevant information at a glance at the right time – The clean interface seamlessly combines familiar and new functions. As wireframes, the concepts were handed over to PlanetHome for implementation.

The goal

At the beginning of the project, two core questions were at the center of the collaboration with our innovation experts:

  1. How can PlanetHome improve the acquisition phase for brokers and partners?
  2. How can the sales phase be improved for brokers and customers?

Based on these basic questions, the following key points could be formulated for the project’s objectives:

1. Real estate consultants and partners should become more convincing in the acquisition process.

2. Processes should be made more efficient in order to be able to move more quickly into the marketing phase.

3. The marketing process is to be optimized in order to sell properties more quickly.

4. Overall, the customer experience should be improved in terms of communication and information exchange.

The method

To pave the way for a tailor-made software solution for PlanetHome, we focused – in line with HYVE’s DNA – on collaboration with our clients and the end users with a clear focus on their needs. In order to develop user-centric digital solutions, our versatile team of experts accompanied PlanetHome along many key points of digital product development: from the gathering of user needs, their analysis, and concept development, to prototyping through wireframes and concept validation.

HYVE’s innovation experts conducted interviews with end users, developed ideas with relevant stakeholders in digital workshops on Miro, and validated the concepts in qualitative and quantitative surveys.

Customized online settings for creative ideas
The collaborative online platform Miro, allowed the project team to work in real-time with stakeholders and
representatives of the user groups in real-time from the comfort of their own homes. To ensure an engaging workshop atmosphere in the digital setting, the workspace was designed as a floor plan to match the topic context. The workshop participants moved from “room to room” and worked on various tasks there.

Six steps to a solution

1. Status quo analysis
HYVE familiarized itself with the existing tools for brokers: inside PlanetHome and investigated broker software already established on the market. In addition, the know-how of key stakeholders was obtained through interviews.

2. Interviews & Service Blueprinting
Through remote interviews with 24 real estate agents and eleven partners nationwide, HYVE’s innovation experts gained a better understanding of the workflows in the acquisition and marketing phase, found individual best practices, and evaluated challenges and needs to uncover new opportunities. From the interviews, HYVE derived a classic service journey and identified areas for optimization.

3. Workshops
The service journey and the identified points of attack served as the basis for two ideation workshops, in which new ideas for an optimized user journey were developed together with stakeholders and representatives of the user groups.

4. Prototyping
HYVE’s UX/UI designers visualized the concepts for digital tools for the acquisition and marketing phase in the form of wireframes.

The concepts were developed in close cooperation with future users. Qualitative and quantitative user feedback was used to ensure that the concepts provide real added value for the daily work of brokers.

5. Evaluation
For the quantitative evaluation, we conducted a survey among all real estate consultants, project managers, and other PlanetHome employees involved. Eight concept ideas were presented and evaluated by a total of 250 participants. This allowed us to directly take into account the perspective of the target group of these concepts and to ensure that new solutions gain a higher level of acceptance. In addition, the results of the survey enabled us to prioritize the concept ideas.

6. Refinement & Validation
The concept ideas were refined in iterations and then validated with the help of the realtors’ assessment in a qualitative survey. The development potentials for new software solutions were handed over to PlanetHome as wireframes and concept slides and will be implemented successively.

Brokers are constantly on the move – so it was particularly important to HYVE’s experts that the digital tools offer an optimal user experience on all devices.

The benefit

For brokers

  • Improved communication between real estate agents and their cooperation partners
  • Simplification of workflows through digitalization
  • Increase in the number of leads (tips from partners for potential properties for sale)
  • Reduction of workload for time-consuming tasks through automation
  • More effective work through clear structures for an optimized interface

For clients of PlanetHome

  • More transparent communication about the process
  • Simplification of the process through digital touchpoints

For partners

  • Unterstützung zur Kommunikation mit den Kund:innen
  • Optimierte Übermittlung von Leads an PlanetHome

HYVE’s expertise has resulted in concepts that are groundbreaking for the further development of our tools. The results not only help us to support our brokers in the best possible way, but also to offer our partners and customers a comprehensible and user-friendly digital experience.

Georg Schreiner, Team Lead Product Innovation & Digital Transformation PlanetHome

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