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Case Studies: CBRE.

CBRE is Cambodian’s leading real estate agency, with a broad cross-sector focus that includes advisory, consultancy, property management, and listings.

CBRE had recently implemented a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform called Salesforce to manage their property listings and wanted to automatically update the website to reflect the latest data held in the CRM.

Additionally, their website had not received regular maintenance for a significant period of time and was hampering their efforts to constantly improve both their discoverability as well as the general user experience of their website visitors.

Mäd’s scope of work was as follows:

  • Salesforce Integration
  • Wordpress Update
  • Migrate to AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Quality Assurance & General Improvements

Salesforce Integration.

For the Salesforce integration, we worked in collaboration with CBRE’s Salesforce partner Pathmazing, a highly competent software development company based out of Phnom Penh.

They created the key APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that would allow us to access and send data to Salesforce, while we worked on ensuring that we defined the key requirements that the website needed from Salesforce.

CBRE’s website lists hundreds of properties, and so we had to come up with a way to ensure that we had as close to real-time data as possible on the website. Obviously, we could not collect data from Salesforce each time a website visitor loaded a page or made a search as this would put a lot of stress on the Salesforce system that is used by all of CBRE’s agents.

The solution was to create a regular automatic scheduling of all the listing imports that would happen six times per day, ensuring the listing information on the website was never more than four hours old.

Additionally, we also wanted new leads through the contact forms on the website to create leads on Salesforce that would automatically be assigned to the correct agent, and so we ensured that each contact form was linked to Salesforce, and also saved into the Wordpress CMS incase there was a loss of connection between the systems. This secondary backup of data was extremely important because losing information on potential qualified leads can cost companies a significant amount of revenue.

Wordpress Upgrade.

We had to upgrade CBRE’s website CMS across three entire major version releases and also ensure that the entire website continued to function correctly with over a dozen extensions used as well.

One issue we encountered was that some of extensions were no longer officially supported or outdated and dormant, therefore we had to either find replacement extension that offered the same or similar functionality, or code the functionality ourselves.

We also implemented a significant number of Wordpress best practices, ensuring that their Wordpress instance was scalable for future customizations.  

Migrate to AWS (Amazon Web Services).

Great websites are always backed by great infrastructure. We moved CBRE's website across from their existing shared server infrastructure to a dedicated instance on AWS, which greatly benefited their website in terms of speed, response time, and general availability.

We also moved CBRE's DNS (Domain Name Server) to Cloudflare which provided us with the ability to instantly switch where the domain was pointing if we wanted to update servers, and also gave additional speed and security benefits to CBRE's website.

QA & General Improvements.

Our QA team reviewed every aspect of the website to ensure that all the legacy issues were uncovered and addressed. They flagged over 100 separate issues that our development team fixed to ensure a smoother, less frustrating experience for CBRE's website visitors.

We also added additional functionality:

  • Messenger Chat. We integrated Facebook's messenger chat module to give a way for website visitors to chat directly with CBRE's team when visiting the website and get their questions answered in real time. This often leads to a significant increase in conversions because users are engaged and have a positive experience with CBRE immediately.
  • Map Location to Properties. We added map locations to properties that showed the approximate location of a property on a Google Map, so that website visitors can understand the area in the city where a particular property is located.
  • Print Stylesheets. We also created specific print stylesheets which easily allows website visitors to print out property pages and have these pages formatted correctly for printing.

2021 Updates.

CBRE welcomed the new decade with new updates that included an interface makeover with additional smart features to keep the Cambodian arm of one the global real estate giants, at the forefront of the sector.

Immediately upon landing on the new CBRE website, visitors are greeted by a typing interaction that communicates the core services that CBRE has to offer—such as helping their clients find a new home, new office, condominium, development plot, and more.

At first glance, the site is sleek and modern, once again setting a new standard for the real estate market in the Kingdom.

Smart Features Suite.

Digging below the sites visual upgrades, we crafted a suite of smart features including a dynamic loan calculator, advanced search functionality and a knowledge base. Matching these features with an equally impressive look and feel that persist throughout the website, we struck an important balance of ease of use and convenience for CBRE's growing customer base.  

Loan Calculator.

To start, we integrated a dynamic loan calculator to help visitors make informed buying and renting decision. Having it dynamic means that the CBRE team can easily update the calculations providing customers with the most accurate information. This is important in strengthening trust between CBRE and their clients whilst smoothening the often complex buying and renting process.


Search Filter & Advanced Search.

In addition, we added a brand new Advanced Search feature that allows clients to filter a range of criteria that best suit their needs i.e. rent vs buy, property type, sub type, location, sub location, price range and number of bedrooms.

Having such a feature at a clients fingertip helps them navigate the thousands of listings on the site in a quick, convenient and easy to use way.

Knowledge Base.

The final feature in the suite of updates is the knowledge base. Having the award winning CBRE research reports and presentations all easily accessible on the website, further positions CBRE as both a local and global expert offering clients and investors with the most accurate and insightful market knowledge. This international standard of research is often hard to come by in Cambodia, so the knowledge base will continue to be a valuable asset for both clients and the longer-term strategy of CBRE Cambodia.  

From Figma to WordPress.

Despite this project being led by the Mäd development team, we used our go-to design tool Figma to rapidly create testable designs that we could quickly share and get feedback on from both users and the wider CBRE team.

Conclusion.

By handing over the maintenance and management of the website to Mäd, our design and smart features suite significantly improved the online presence of CBRE Cambodia, ensuring the local branch is on-par with other international offices. Alongside the upgrades, we came up with clever solutions to fix troubling issues that had caused problems in the past for the team.

Additionally, the Salesforce integration allowed the CBRE team to display the latest properties close to realtime, so that the website visitors always have the largest and latest selection of  properties available to view.

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