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ServiceMaster DSI provides emergency disaster restoration & cleaning services nationwide. Its sales and marketing team were seeking a top notch UX design agency to help plan and develop a cross-platform mobile app to support its customer acquisition, support and retention goals.
The initial criteria for the app was that it should be cost effective and personalized to serve its larger, commercial customers across the US. The mobile app’s purpose was to communicate accurate weather data and real-time weather conditions collected from pre-assigned regions. Under certain conditions, the weather app would send timely notifications to approved Android or iOS powered mobile device users.
The client came by way of a strategic alliance between Artisan Talent, a top creative staffing firm in the United States, and Sydcon, a custom mobile app development company in Chicago. During the exploration process, it was clear that ServiceMaster DSI was in need of a nimble mobile app design agency. However, it also needed the expertise of a cross platform mobile app development company to really bring their new digital product to life. Combining these disparate talents under one banner made the most sense.
During the exploration process, we uncovered several issues that ailed the current ServiceMaster DSI weather app. As we learned more about the previous weather app’s functionality, we discovered that it was woefully over-engineered, making it highly cumbersome for its customers to use.
What was worse, the previous mobile application development company required its users to constantly recall login details that were a chore to retrieve. Once a user passed this first hurdle, a second, and heavier obstacle to use the app was presented, requiring users to download large mounds of data for product synchronization purposes.
Scouring analytics revealed an interesting insight. Although the current weather app’s usage appeared to be anemic, requests to access the app (i.e., forgot password) were quite high. This misalignment suggested that persistent user authentication was a must, as to avoid customer service overhead.
Another key innovation we felt needed to be addressed was the sheer amount of unnecessary functionality that the current weather app development build possessed. Functions that existed, yet had little to no usage, involved file management, photo storage and disaster recovery checklists. On the surface, the functions appeared to be necessary. However, when examining customer behaviors, it was clear that these functions were redundant, since most of ServiceMaster DSI’s national customers used their own proprietary systems to collect and store its documents.
Our approach to develop a weather app was grounded in essential practicality, while harnessing the latest technologies in user profile management, API integration and cross platform app development. As with most UX design firms, “less is more” became our matra. Breaking down the app to its most essential components, and creating far fewer screens, allowed us to build something with higher focus while driving down risk (and budget).
ServiceMaster DSI appreciated the fact that we helped bring focus and clarity during the exploration process in order to build something of higher value to its business while driving down costs. Additionally, they realized this project as an investment to provide scalable, personalized and direct communications with its national customers vs the typical mobile app development services project (a direct cost center).
As with most traditional app development agencies in the USA, UX and UI designers play a pivotal role in shaping the initial user experience. To that end, Artisan Talent’s amazing talent helped bring visual clarity in the form of clickable wireframes and user interface prototypes that matched the ServiceMaster DSI brand. Sydcon’s top app developers helped round out the team to help produce, program and test the app against specific use cases and business requirements.
Once engaged, we treated this project as we would any other project, establishing an agreed upon project timeline, an online project management board as well as weekly standing meetings with all team members. Because we took steps each week to (candidly) address project wins and obstacles, together we achieved our anticipated 4-month deadline, just in time for the hurricane season.
The app garnered positive feedback and generated much anticipation amongst customers. Usman Group was solution-oriented and open-minded, which set them apart from other providers. The team facilitated a smooth and collaborative process by communicating seamlessly and meeting deadlines. Usman Group definitely exceeded my expectations.
VP of Sales and Service
After the project was completed, ServiceMaster DSI initiated a soft launch, inviting select customers to participate in a beta group, where real user feedback was collected. Feedback was largely positive, and surprisingly, users were asking if they could add more internal staff to have direct access to the app. Sales was happy to activate new user accounts, while Leadership was pleased to see high scores and engagement from key customer groups.
To best understand user engagement, we created a “like” button, attributed to each material piece of content related to weather reports and news stories. Users interacting with this interface element helps content creators as well as account managers better understand the types of content that resonate most with specific customers.
Another key feature that made a significant impact in understanding user engagement was the “Emergency Call” button. In most large disaster recovery situations, frenzy and panic were typical phrases used to describe the state of the user. Knowing that a calm, collective mind was highly unlikely, making it programmatically easy to reach one’s assigned account manager with a press of a button was key.
Needless to say, ServiceMaster DSI’s customers greatly appreciated this feature, as it further reinforced their brand promise for immediate access (24/7 Emergency Services) and urgency during highly stressful times.
Since we intended the app to achieve minimum viable product status, we deliberately removed features that would be too complex for initial customer use. We plan to include more automation as it relates to weather map creation and relevant tips. We also plan to allow users to track specific storms in real-time, from inception to completion. As the product continues to service its customers, sales and marketing teams are diligently collecting real-world user feedback in order to find their way into the next phase of the digital product roadmap.
The best part of any project is receiving positive feedback from key stakeholders.
The VP of Sales and Service, Drew Draisy, noted that “the app garnered positive feedback and generated much anticipation amongst customers. Usman Group was solution-oriented and open-minded, which set them apart from other providers. The team facilitated a smooth and collaborative process by communicating seamlessly and meeting deadlines. Usman Group definitely exceeded my expectations.”