Since 2013, UpNest has been changing the way we interact with their real estate agents. They have created a marketplace that connects home buyers and sellers with the top local agents who compete for their business. They also happen to be one of our favorite customers here at Jaco. We caught up with Travis Sawrie, Product Manager at UpNest to learn a bit more about how they use Jaco.
Steve: What brought you to Jaco?
Travis: I go through cycles of obsession with producthunt.com. Lucky for me, I checked out Product Hunt on the day that Jaco was “hunted.”
The timing was serendipitous because that morning, our team at UpNest was discussing the pains of discovering bugs, user research, etc. I quickly shot an email to our CEO about Jaco and we signed up that day to give it a try.
Steve: How has Jaco helped UpNest solve your product pain?
Travis: Jaco is like a digital one-way mirror that lets us make high-impact qualitative observations. Analytics software like Mixpanel and Google Analytics are essential for quantitative observations, but they don’t provide rich qualitative observations.
This is a very basic example, but a real estate agent on our platform might tell us that they are having an issue with a certain page. Jaco will show us that they didn’t notice an important button necessary to accomplish what they were trying to do. Our follow-up actions are to both educate the user on how to use our site the way it’s currently built, and also make that important button easier to discover.
Additionally, we move fast as a development team so that we can iterate and test quickly. It’s extremely rare to get a new feature right on the first try. Jaco provides us with instant user feedback sessions to make observations.
Steve: Who uses Jaco at UpNest and how?
Travis: We want everyone at UpNest to wear the product manager hat, so we’ve given access to most of our employees. Our sales, customer support, and marketing teams are able to use it however they want. Whether that be troubleshooting to make a customer with an issue happy, see how a landing page is performing, or reach out to a customer that saw an error page. We’ve even generated quick access links on our internal dashboards that will pull up a user’s session based on their IP.
However our dev team of engineers, designers, and myself as a product manager use it the most. We mostly find bugs, see how users are interacting with a new feature, discover front end edge cases for specific devices, and troubleshoot for specific user types.
I like to say that for every 30 minutes of user session time watched on Jaco, you’ll likely come up with at least 1 product improvement. With all of our employees able to watch user sessions, there should be no shortage of improvement suggestions!
Steve: Who do you think Jaco works for best?
Travis: I can’t imagine anyone working in web software not getting value out of Jaco. But if I had to choose a specific role, I’d have to go with startup product managers. I’m a little biased, though.
It depends on the scope of a PM’s role in their specific company, but PM’s should know their customers and how they interact with their product. I say startup product managers specifically because startups are often unable to conduct expensive user research sessions. Jaco allows product managers to quickly see the true behavior of user interactions.
Steve: Let us in on some of your secrets. What are your favorite resources for inspiration and innovative ideas?
Travis: For new and innovative ideas I’m usually found checking on outside sources like Product Hunt, podcasts (I highly recommend Intercom’s “Inside Intercom” podcast), other mature marketplaces, and case studies from communities like growthhackers.com.
But I personally don’t care so much about incorporating technology innovation if it doesn’t fit in with our customer needs. Simple ideas can have huge impact. I read that the best ideas are usually a new combination of existing functions. Sometimes a light bulb will go off with a team member at UpNest that realizes we can combine two existing functions that will make things easier for our customers. If you say, “why didn’t we think of that before?” in response to an idea, you’re probably onto something.
I’m fortunate to work right next to our account management team. These team members are on the front lines talking to our real estate agents, home buyers, and home sellers. They’re able to receive critical feedback from these users on how we can improve.