As lead data analyst at Redfin, Meghan Kilgore uses data to understand what improvements will drive increased customer satisfaction, and partners with the brokerage’s agents and engineers to implement those improvements.
Lead data analyst at Redfin
Time at Redfin: 2 years
What she does: I use data to understand what improvements to Redfin’s real estate service will drive increased customer satisfaction, and partner with Redfin’s agents and engineers to implement those improvements.
Age: A woman never reveals her age.
Degree: Master of Science, Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan
Location: Seattle, Eastlake neighborhood
While I was a graduate student at the University of Michigan, I helped teach a course on queuing systems, the mathematical study of waiting in lines, which captured my imagination.
The course was about determining the rate and distribution of a system’s arrival (like customers coming into a Starbucks), and the rate and distribution of a system’s server (like how fast a barista can take and make your order) and using that information to determine wait time in the queue (the line at Starbucks). Given all that information, you can determine the most efficient way to serve the system (like two cashiers and three people making drinks).
I loved seeing how data could be used to make processes more efficient.
That prompted me to focus my graduate work on scheduling optimization, the study of assigning different jobs to different servers at particular times to maximize efficiency. It’s a choice I’m so glad I made.
After graduating in 2011, I wanted to work for a company where I could use those skills to make an impact I could recognize. When I found the Redfin analytics team, I knew it was the perfect fit because of the entrepreneurial environment and openness to change. I joined Redfin in January 2012 as a data analyst.
My first project at Redfin involved finding ways to make home tour scheduling better for agents and customers. I dug into Redfin’s wealth of data to find answers to questions such as, “What matters most to buyers when scheduling a tour?” and “When do buyers request tours and when do they want to tour?” and “How do buyer preferences vary throughout the year and in different geographic locations?”
One of the most exciting things I have helped implement at Redfin so far is a texting feature. When agents are in back-to-back tours and closings, they can’t always check their email. With this texting feature, our tour coordinators (the real estate professionals responsible for booking the tours) are able to contact agents and verify availability immediately. This has helped us increase fulfillment of same-day tour requests.
Today, I’m leading a team of talented analysts who continue to focus on improving the home tour process and dig into our data to find ways to strengthen our listing business.
Favorite Twitter account?
I’m not very active on Twitter, but the best thing I’ve read lately is “The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss. It has all the adventure of a good fantasy novel, but it is also a poignant and deeply human tale.
What is your favorite food?
Beef bourguignon is my favorite dish, but I also like a good slice of wedding cake.
What is your favorite video game? I have always enjoyed being outside more than video games. My favorite sport is rugby. I played on the University of Michigan women’s team while in college.
What is your favorite city?
I fell in love with Vienna when I traveled abroad in college, but my favorite place in the world still has to be Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Who’s your favorite band or singer?
Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Coldplay. Their new album is beautiful.
What do you hate about technology?
Cellphones at the dinner table!
What is one thing you would like to fix about the real estate industry?
Make the process of looking at homes simpler and easier for customers.
Do you think technology can change the industry?
Yes, I think that it already has, and will continue to. For the change to be positive, technology must be married to a commitment to service and doing what is right.
In or out of real estate, is there one problem, large or small, that you would like to solve?
I’m passionate about women’s health and the role our culture plays in it. There is so much pressure on women to do unhealthy things to their bodies, from dieting to tanning and more. I think that education and positive role modeling are our best opportunities for solving the issue, and technology can impact both.
What motivates you?
Learning how I can better love others with a more humble and hopeful heart.