Industry

Field Services

Client

Timeline

Feb 2020 - Jan 2021

INTRODUCTION

Real estate photography is more important to the home-selling process than a for sale sign in the front yard.  Buyers do 90% of their searching online.  Listings with high quality photography sell faster and for about 10% more than those without. Professional photography, video & 3D tours are an essential part of the real estate industry today.

Steve Caroll knows this industry the best. A veteran real estate photographer himself, he owns a real estate photography business, Preview First. The company, based out of San Diego, provides high quality real estate photography services for real estate agents and their clients. These photos are then posted on the real estate’s agent’s website or on portals such Zillow, Trulia and Redfin.

Client comment

The most difficult part of our business model is scheduling.

Every appointment is like putting together a complex puzzle.

"We have to consider the address location, time of day requested, square footage of the home and how long it will likely take, what combination of services are being ordered (e.g. luxury photography, video, 3D, aerial); then filter the available photographers by who's equipped in each discipline, or if multiple photographers will be needed, and where those photographers will be on that day and at the requested time, and then determine the next optimum time slot.  Imagine doing that 75 times per day.  As we grew from 30 to 60, to sometimes 100+ appointments per day, we realized that hiring and training customer service representatives who are capable of this kind of puzzle solving, was unsustainable.  We had to figure out a way to automate these complex variables."

"Our photographers are the best in the industry.  They are often booked on 3-5+ shoots per day, including twilight appointments.  Some homes take 45 minutes, and some take 5-6 hours.  And the calendar is extremely fluid.  With hundreds of active appointments at any one time, things can get very complicated when a client needs to cancel or reschedule. So imagine how challenging and time consuming it is when California gets that odd rainy day and everyone wants to reschedule at once."

As Steve recalls, "Manual scheduling was a nightmare!  Back then, Preview First had a dedicated team of 7 operations staff for scheduling. The team would refer to Google Maps to check the proximity, and write an email to confirm the appointment.  Then we'd add appointments to photographers’ Google Calendars."  Photographers relied heavily on their Google Calendar to see confirmed appointments on their phone while traveling from property to property.

Despite all this work, “we had no visibility as to where each appointment was. The process was entirely manual and open to errors,” Steve says.

As there was no single source of data truth, information was duplicated from Preview First’s website and Google Calendar. The team had to manually update changes on both ends and constantly manage a stream of never-ending email updates.

PREVIEWFIRST’S NEW END-TO-END SCHEDULING PLATFORM

Afi Lab came into the picture to build an end-to-end scheduling platform. The project took only 3 months from start to finish.

The scheduling process is seamless and quick now. First, Preview First pulls in appointment data from the website. The duration of the appointment is automatically calculated based on services required.

Once an appointment is made, an email notification is sent to the client confirming the appointment details. Any schedule changes or cancellations are communicated via automated text messages.

“We can see on a map where all the appointments are scheduled for any or all photographers – giving us a birds eye view of the activity for the day!” Steve says.

ENRICHING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

With most of the scheduling complexities now automated and the complex scheduling time down from 20-30 minutes to 5-10 minutes, Preview First’s customer service team makes fewer mistakes (if any), enjoys their work, and clocks out on-time. Best of all, “We no longer feel like we must recruit and train rocket scientists as customer service representatives. Where the business growth was once unsustainable, we are now highly scalable," said Steve.

GET STARTED

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Vancouver

ADDRESS

595 Burrard Street
Vancouver,
BC V7X1L4
Canada

MAIL

[email protected]

PHONE

+1 415-802-2286

Singapore

ADDRESS

12 Marina Boulevard
Marina Bay Financial Center Tower 3,
Level 17-01
Singapore 018982

MAIL

[email protected]

PHONE

+65 6241-3013