Cross-Functional Teams Deliver Innovative Wins for RentPath Customers during Coronavirus

RentPathers have spearheaded another cross-functional initiative to develop some amazing solutions for our customers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Khet Richards, our Sr. Director of Core Advertising Products, shared some insight as to how the B2B, Product and Engineering teams came together to make it happen.

“When it became clear that we would nationally move to a stay-at-home environment, we realized this would impact our customers (property management companies and communities across the United States) and their ability to secure leases while renters were not physically visiting,” Khet shared. 

A cross-functional team was created in our first week of working from home, and aligned across four key workstreams focused on the key moments of need in the customer/renter lifecycle: 

  • Messaging to Renters
  • Enhancing Video Content on site
  • Converting Tours from physical to virtual
  • Encouraging online applications.

Each workstream focused on quick wins that we can deliver to customers, while at the same time, designed and developed innovative solutions to address customer needs. “In just 5 weeks, the results demonstrated the true strength of RentPath’s two-sided marketplace and our ability to work together to serve both customer and consumer (renter) needs”, says Khet.

What we’ve delivered to clients and renters so far include: 

  • 100% discounts on products that help them communicate with their renters & prospects
  • Website COVID-19 messaging, including renter blog and customizable office hours header for customers
  • Increased access to existing customer virtual tours to allow renters to view properties from their homes
  • Industry leading ‘stay-at-home videos’ module that allows customers to upload unlimited, pre-recorded videos to showcase their spaces (previously limited to one video showcasing a select few property features)
  • Customizable touring options allowing customers to indicate which types of virtual and in person tours they support, and allowing renters to indicate which they are interested in when submitting a lead

William Keck, Director of Product Management for Apartment Guide, managed the 3D tour and video initiative end-to-end. “We fundamentally changed the way that we work together and autonomously.” The teams synced up, started chatting on the projects throughout the day, then went heads down to get the work done. “Our scrum masters helped us move to a streamlined scrum-ban process and figure out how to groom, point and reprioritize constantly so we could meet our deadlines. Having a singular focus across all of our teams really allowed us to speak the same language, share the same objectives and work closer to achieve them.”  

“What stood out to me was what happens when the entire company is aligned around a single goal. To quickly meet our customers’ needs, we established cross functional teams that fully owned delivery of each feature from communication to the customer through display on the sites”, says Daryl Sistrunk, Head of Platform Engineering.

It was no small feat to bring all of the resources together internally to make these features happen, and “we had to think fast on our feet and decide what parts of the process we could bypass or skip altogether to ensure we delivered with quality”, says Lia Schiza, Director of Engineering for Rent.com. “Sometimes it was more about communication over process and trusting our folks.” 

One of the key elements of success was having “100% confidence in my co-workers ability to do their part, including those I hadn’t even worked with before this initiative,” says Patricia Pichardo, Director of Product Management. “One of my favorite things about RentPath is feeling like I know implicitly that people will do what they say they will do, and are able to do so collaboratively and with a sense of urgency – two of our core competencies. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for sure, but I know that not one team member would stop short of getting it right.”

“Despite being remote, that focus matched with transparency across teams didn’t deteriorate quality or speed.  I think we’ve all learned a lot from this and didn’t just perform well during this crisis, but will be better teams coming out of it, too,” said William. 

Caleb Wright, Sr. Product Manager, summed it up best when he said,

“In times of crisis, we chose, without hesitation, adaptability over efficiency, action over debate, and the safety of our customers and renters over profit.”

A huge shout out to the Consumer Product Engineers, Consumer Product Managers, B2B Product Engineers and the B2B Product Managers for their work towards “disrupting for the greater good.”

Written by Stephanie Haigh

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