Thousands of BDR Thermea Group customers across Europe are using our connected smartphone app to manage their thermostats. Now we’re working on an improved version of the app that will deliver smart solutions to make customers’ lives easier. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the app’s evolution.
Looking back on how the app has evolved, Francesco Reffo, Group Product Manager Digital (B2C), BDR Thermea Group, says: “We were new to the game when we started out making apps five years ago. We manufactured heating equipment; we weren’t app developers. We’ve certainly come a long way as a company in how we work, and design and deliver digital value in apps – and we’re excited to share this with our customers.”
Start by listening
Delivering this next-level app began with one thing: listening. “The starting point was to hear what our customers were saying and take their needs into account, both in what we added to the app and removed.”
In the past, the focus was less about design and ease of use than including as big a toolbox and as many functionalities in the app as possible, says Reffo. But as it became clear that more and more people were using the app to adjust their heating, the development team knew it had to be more precise about giving people what they wanted.
“We got strict about working with customer feedback and analytics, rather than opinion and probability,” he says. “Our departure point was to ask: is this function useful to the customer? Will it make the app easier to use? Will it make it faster?”
Francesco Reffo | Group Product Manager Digital (B2C) BDR Thermea Group
Icons in the app were also harmonised, removing those intended for the installer and creating a simpler interface and intuitive structure.
The team has learned a huge amount from first iterations, says Reffo. “In early versions, we weren’t sure what we needed, so we included everything. But adding elements brick by brick means you struggle to achieve coherency. By stripping elements away and knowing more precisely what to include, you achieve that coherency. Now we know upfront what elements are used most.”
Technology aside, it is BDR Thermea Group’s people and way of working that has enabled the development of this new app. The days of siloed working are over, and teams now collaborate in amuch more multidisciplinary way.
“We’ve embraced modern principles such as agile and scrum,” says Reffo. “This not only leads to a better outcome for the users, with new functionalities constantly being developed, but it also makes BDR Thermea Group a more fun place to work.”
Of course, the new improvements won’t start and end with version 2.0, says Reffo. “An app is not a static asset; it will change along with customer needs.”