When SentriLock entered the real estate market with our lockbox some 18 years ago, one of our areas of focus was on design intent that created added value for users. That focus has been a big part of our success over this time – and a reason why we’ve had a 100 percent renewal over the past three fiscal years.
One specific design intent was to create a seamless and effective way to create temporary access. Our One Day Codes have been a core component of our service offering and a staple for our subscribing members, enabling secure, controlled access for a general contractor, a photographer, or an inspector. One Day Codes have served SentriLock and its customers well.
Leveraging Bluetooth® Technology For a New Solution
About two years ago, following a handful of customer sessions at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) annual show, an idea surfaced that could improve the overall management of temporary access by leveraging the new Bluetooth® technology that was part of our new generation of lockboxes at the time. From those discussions, we created a prototype of a mobile application we call SentriConnect®. Its usage immediately soared.
With SentriConnect, we understood that those agents adopting new technology were limited by codes entered into our box that were based on use cases featuring older technology. Why were we limiting our customers to an experience that didn’t leverage the newer technology already available to us? Apps were finding new levels of value in the App Store and Google Play, and consumers were flocking to solutions that mattered.
So, some of the team and I sat down and, staring at a blank whiteboard that looked all too daunting at the time, we challenged ourselves to develop something that was easy to use for both the real estate agent and the third-party user who would be accessing the property. It had to be secure and ensure the agent, and their homeowner, the same, if not a higher, level of security than we offered through our One Day Codes.
Upgrading Temporary Access to Meet Users’ Needs
We know that the best way to vet an idea is to reach out to the customers directly, so we did. We came up with a few concepts and presented them for feedback to our Customer Advisory Team – an amazing group of people comprised of agents, brokers, and association members. They come from large to small associations, from rural to dense communities. The team gathered all of their thoughts and ideas, and, coupled with our concepts, designs, and storyboards, we created our first version of SentriConnect.
Over the past few years, we’ve learned a lot about how brokers and agents want to provide temporary access. We studied our data, we watched trends, we made some incremental updates and improvements, and we decided it was time for a major update. Some things we learned:
- Agents who are tech savvy want robust features.
- Agents want a familiar process, something similar to what they have with other agents accessing the property such as notifications and immediate updates to access logs.
- Agents want to share more information digitally, such as instructions entering and leaving the property, with their contractors, just as they do with other agents. It’s theirs to manage for their clients, and they want to be able to entrust the technologies they’re using help them with that.
- Agents want to leverage a timed access better, whether it’s for just two hours on a Friday or for access for that same timeframe over five consecutive calendar days.
- Agents want a clean, intuitive interface that makes working with a product benefit them.
- And one of the learnings we hadn’t anticipated was providing SentriConnect to reciprocal boards members that aren’t on the SentriKey® Real Estate system in order to offer them, as well as our listing agents, the same great experience as our subscribing members.
Introducing the New SentriConnect 2.0
From all of this, we’re really excited to be launching our new SentriConnect version 2.0. It’s a total rewrite of the app and provides maps of access locations for direction; photo and contact information of the listing agent; photos of the property so third parties can leverage visual cues that they’re in the right location; and more. We’ve also leveraged new back-end technology to improve performance and speed of processing, and we’ve simplified the registration process for SentriConnect users.
Watch this video to see how SentriConnect works for both the agent and the person who’s been granted secure access. The new SentriConnect app for third-party users makes doing business with SentriLock real estate professionals safer, easier, and more efficient.
I think you’ll find what we’ve accomplished greatly enhances our commitment and focus to the same design principles that have made us a leading service provider in the real estate market today. Our temporary access for our lockbox service is unmatched in the industry, and this next version of SentriConnect pushes us out even further against our competition. Some of our associations have fully adopted SentriConnect as their sole means of granting temporary access, and I imagine as part of this release, more of you will find that same value. I hope you enjoy the new update. Happy showings!