Kylie Davis: (00:01)
Welcome to the PropTech Podcast. It's Kylie Davis here, and I'm delighted to be your host as we explore the brave new world where technology and real estate collide. I passionately believe we need to create and grow a sense of community between the innovators and the real estate agents and sharing our stories is a great way to do that, especially in these crazy times we find ourselves in. Now, the aim of each episode is to introduce listeners to a PropTech innovator who is pushing the boundaries of what's possible, and explore the issues and challenges raised by the tech and how they can create amazing property experiences.
Kylie Davis: (00:36)
My guest in this episode is Fatek Chamma, Chief Experience Officer from Propic. Now, many of you may know for Fatek from his time at Domain. And Propic launched at Eric last year born out of the Dexar Group originally, but now representing a much broader group of stakeholders. It's a modular system of solutions to common real estate issues from CRM through to franchise management, and it's all based around the Salesforce system, which lets the property team iterate technology and new solutions really quickly.
Kylie Davis: (01:07)
And with COVID-19 changing the industry so quickly right now, one of the problems Propic saw that needed a quick solution was creating AI that could help agents deal with the intensity of workflow created by a market with a lot of questions. And so they created a COVID-19 AI, and they're making that available free right now to agencies during this period. So if you're curious to know how AI could help your business, this could be a great time to dip your toe into the water. So Fatek Chamma, welcome to the PropTech Podcast.
Fatek Chamma: (01:43)
Thank you. Thank you for having me, Kylie.
Kylie Davis: (01:44)
Cool. So Fatek, you're part of Propic, you're CxO. Do you want to give us just a quick overview on what Propic does to kick off?
Fatek Chamma: (01:54)
Yeah, no problem. Can do. So we're a property technology business. We're all Australian-made. We solve a number of different challenges for the industry across the different technology offerings, depending on what it is that the customers are trying to achieve. We have artificial intelligence tech, which is the stuff we'll talk about today, where we'll talk to agency customers in real time on the channel of their choosing, so we can have intelligent conversations with customers on websites, on voice, SMS, on email.
Fatek Chamma: (02:30)
We also offer data insight products and protocol reveal where we can offer insights into the market agent competitor insights. We can help agencies recruit new agents through being able to report on the results of certain agents in certain markets. So we track and monitor every property in the country and every listing in the country for sale or for rent. We also have CRM apps that we can help agencies with, whether it's residential, project marketing and property developments, we've got a recruitment app.
Fatek Chamma: (03:05)
And we've also got a franchise management system that we can offer on that signified platform. So it's really all about the problems the agency is trying to solve. We don't try and boil the ocean, we will sit there and we'll talk to a customer about the burning platform they've got the most part. And it's usually where we start.
Kylie Davis: (03:22)
Cool. So just to give a bit of a summary on that based on what we were talking about before. So Propic is a modular system of solutions for common real estate problems. Would that be a good sum up?
Fatek Chamma: (03:33)
Yeah. Pretty much. You can take what you need when you need it. There's no dependency on having other products as a result of wanting one. As I said, it's not about boiling the ocean, it's just about solving the problems that the agencies may have at any given point in time. And the beauty is that over time, as you start to sort of adopt and take on more of our tech, then it's all seamlessly integrated so that the preservation of the concept of single view of customer is really a reality with our technology. I think that's a really important thing.
Kylie Davis: (04:07)
Okay. So just to give a very quick overview of the key products. At the centre of property is Signifi?
Fatek Chamma: (04:15)
Yeah. The core platform is Signifi, yes.
Kylie Davis: (04:18)
And then on top of that comes ... And that's sort of the CRM and the end kind of guts of the whole engine. And then what's the next thing that sits on top of that?
Fatek Chamma: (04:30)
Well, again, it depends on what the customer is trying to solve. But if you were to think about CRM today and what agencies use it for, logically, if you started there with us, then logically, the next best step would be to talk to us about data. Because we have the ability to surface our data insights and all the fantastic stuff that the data scientists and the data engineers are working on. We have the ability to surface that inside our CRM app.
Fatek Chamma: (04:56)
Which means if from preparing myself for an appraisal on your property, then as I start to enter information about your property into my CRM app, I start to be presented with contextual data insights about that property, about the area of the properties and the type of property that it is. So that I'm already starting to get information stuff about that meeting without having to go somewhere else to try and get information about it, which is what I would do normally. So that's probably the next logical step for me is where you go if you started with CRM.
Kylie Davis: (05:30)
And what's the name of that part of the product?
Fatek Chamma: (05:33)
Kylie Davis: (05:34)
Reveal. Okay. So we've got Signifi, Reveal. And then your new baby that you've just launched is Enliven. Tell us about Enliven?
Fatek Chamma: (05:42)
Well, for me, personally, it's my favourite product because I've spent the better part of 25 years of my life talking to customers and working on solving problems for customers at the frontline. And so understanding how important it is to be able to respond to your customers in real time, answer the questions that they're asking of you, and let them do business with you on their terms only means that a product like Enliven AI really gives you the firepower to do that on mass that's really never been seen before in a digital platform.
Fatek Chamma: (06:18)
The AI has the ability to have millions of conversations at the same time, if it needs to. The AI once trained, and once understands, it understands the answers that you want to give your customers, never makes a mistake, like a human. I worked in the Philippines for a long time and I had 4 or 5,000 odd people working in contexts and environments over there for me and I can tell you, it's really hard trying to get all those people to say what you want them to say about a certain subject in the right way all the time.
Kylie Davis: (06:51)
Humans are delightfully inconsistent, aren't we? We get very bored with consistency.
Fatek Chamma: (06:55)
We're incredible creatures. But when you're trying to serve your customers and trying to send the right message, and the message needs to be consistent, then it gets really hard to do that, on scale anyway.
Kylie Davis: (07:08)
Let's break it down so people can understand exactly what Enliven AI can do for them. What does it do? Give us some examples of typical ways that Enliven would work.
Fatek Chamma: (07:22)
Yep. No problems. So Enliven AI, if we think about AI today in a relatively, I wouldn't even say it's a new tech like the ... AI has been around for a while now. As far as tech inside real estate is concerned, then yeah, it's relatively new. We think about AI as the new user interface for customers between ... An AI sits between the agents and the brands and their customer. And they have the ability to have a sort of one to millions of conversations on the channel that the customer chooses, though we can deploy the AI on Facebook Messenger Twitter, as I said earlier, on a website, can do it in SMS, via email and even on voice.
Fatek Chamma: (08:08)
So our technology has the ability to not only have those one-to-one conversations in most platforms, but also contextual handoff between channels. So we could start a conversation in email and then move the customer through the journey of the conversation onto a website, if that's indeed a better experience for them, or if it's going to provide a richer sort of context of information that the customer is trying to present, then we can do that in context. And the AI doesn't miss a beat. It knows that it's still talking to Kylie but it's in a completely different channel now.
Kylie Davis: (08:40)
Right. So what kind of chats would I have with Enliven AI? What kind of inquiries would it handle or what does it do?
Fatek Chamma: (08:53)
Today, we've got a number of use cases that are in the market. We have a use case around using AI to sell projects and developments. We added there actually, and we thought it was a really relevant use case because when you're trying to sell a development, there's just so much that there is, that you can talk to a customer about a potential buyer about. So what we found was if we trained the machine on how to answer the various questions about the development itself, then it could do that. And when we started to use the tech in that sort of vertical, let's call it, we noticed very quickly that the leads that we were sending through the agents ...
Fatek Chamma: (09:35)
This tech is not about selling the listing, by the way, this tech is about nurturing a buyer through their buyer inquiry sort of phase. And as I said, chatting earlier about making sure that when we answer a customer's question, we answer the question as soon as they ask it and we don't make them wait for the answer. So we've got it on certain project development websites. The customers come on, they talk to the AI about the various properties that are available for sale. They're essentially pre-qualifying themselves in versus sending a random email about a certain, how many bedroom properties have you got or have you got floor plans or whatever it is that they're asking or what's the price on a three bedder.
Fatek Chamma: (10:17)
The customers are pre-qualifying themselves in. So by the time they get to an agent, they're actually more primed to buy. And so the conversion that we get on inquiry to, well, conversation to inquire to an agent, are significantly higher than traditional digital channels. And the conversion that we get from the leads we give agents are higher than they will get from other channels because the customer has done a lot of the work for themselves. Right.
Kylie Davis: (10:44)
So you've released this during sort of the COVID-19 kind of locked down or shutdown period. Tell us about that launch, like why have you launched it now?
Fatek Chamma: (10:58)
So COVID-19, the instance that we've built to help manage COVID-19 conversations was designed on the premise that we wanted to help the industry try and manage some of the volume. As we were speaking about earlier, when you're trying to maintain a relationship with your customers in ongoing engagement with your customers, one of the things you have to do is respond to their inquiries. Some of the people that we were talking to were telling us how inundated they are with inquiries that they're getting from their customers on email, or via their web portal, et cetera, and they were struggling to keep up.
Fatek Chamma: (11:37)
And there's obviously been a fair amount of rationalisation of workforces in the industry over the last few weeks and months. There's no business in the world at the moment that's impervious to that. So when I thought about the challenges the industry was having, and went back to my days of when I'd get a context and a spike of 700 calls in a queue and I didn't have enough people to answer the volume, but I had to manage it somehow. I thought, how can I help the industry manage the inquiry that they're getting, maintain relationships with their customers, and do it in the least stressful way as possible in terms of not having to go out and spend money to actually do that.
Fatek Chamma: (12:15)
I thought about creating these conversations, which is what we went away and did. So we've got 12 conversations today. We're giving the tech away to anybody who wants it with these 12 conversations. The AI has been trained to talk about how agencies are handling auctions, how agencies are handling appraisals today, how agencies are handling open for inspections. And it's all about allowing the customer the choices that they want to make through the flows of a conversation, to choose the path that they want to go down and ultimately try and collect some leads if we can for the agency.
Fatek Chamma: (12:56)
So potentially if there's a customer whose interested in attending an auction, then we'll take registration details through the conversation, we'll send that through to the agency so that they're prepared for text made an inquiry about attending an auction. We've also have a number of conversations about the support and relief packages that are available in the market for rental assistance. And that's a really big one right now. A lot of rentals out there, a lot of landlords not knowing what's going on. There's a constant fluidity about the information that's coming through from government.
Fatek Chamma: (13:29)
So we are updating the conversations as they happen with the government. So we're monitoring all the government announcements, and the minute something changes in the ICT or Victoria, whatever state it might be, Northern Territory, we'll jump in. We're amending the conversations and they're immediately deployed to the agencies instance, they don't have to do anything about it. But we are very specific about the states that we're sort of talking to, and all the advice that we give customers on behalf of the agencies government advice so we're not making any of this up.
Fatek Chamma: (14:02)
We're taking straight from the government, we're using government links for ... I'm a Queenslander and I qualify for a support benefit around rental, then we'll take a customer to the government website where I can fill in a page to actually seek assistance. So it's real handholding experience that we provide our customers through this technology to help them. I have coined a phrase recently, scratch their itch, they've got an itch they need to scratch information they need. We've got to help them scratch their itch because that don't stop. It's not like next they make an inquiry to an agent and they don't get a response. They go, well, okay, I didn't get a response about rental assistance. I'm just going to give up. They keep going.
Kylie Davis: (14:40)
Yeah. And then that creates even more volume, doesn't it? For agencies to track and manage. There is no avoiding this. I think it's one of the great ironies of the real ... I might be [inaudible 00:14:52] setting the use of the word ironic. But I think it's one of the great ironies of real estate that we tend to think ... We don't value buyers or tenants as clients, because we make our money from sellers and from landlords. But we fail in that lack of recognition to understand the amount of work that they create for us, and therefore, they are vibrant parts of our business that we need to manage.
Kylie Davis: (15:23)
So what I'm hearing from you around the AI, especially now with COVID-19 in kind of play and everyone being completely over locked down, as we move into what? Our fourth or fifth week? Shut down as we move into it. This is a great opportunity for ... This is a time when the two parts of your four-step client matrix are going to be giving you a lot of work that you probably can't physically delivered to. This is a great time to start to dip your toe in the water of AI and start to test out how this stuff could work for you in your business? Because it's servicing a bunch of people ... It's servicing clients that create volume of busyness but don't necessarily create volume of income.
Fatek Chamma: (16:18)
AI as a technology on it's own, there's been a level of almost hyper adoption of the tech across the globe in terms of consumer propensity to use the technology. I mean, we know roughly 62% of the global population is open to using AI as a channel to do business with, and a good 25% is actually made up of baby boomers. Right? So it's not limited to people that are the younger generations. We're not saying this is an exclusive tech for a millennial, like right through the generational sort of demographics that you see, people are open to using AI as a channel to do business with. So it is quite a valuable tool to adopt and start to think about. And this is a good time to do it, right?
Kylie Davis: (17:10)
Yeah. But I think also too, if you don't think about it as much as AI, because I'm sure most customers or clients don't think about it as AI, they think about, I had an inquiry and my inquiry was answered promptly and accurately and in a way that actually helped me make my decision at the time when I was ready to make the decision. So if my option is talk to a bot that is going to give me my information immediately or talk to a human who I have to wait to get back to me and then play phone tag with, and then maybe not quite get all of the answers that I wanted, and then I have to go back and do it all again. It's a pretty simple choice, I would've thought.
Fatek Chamma: (17:55)
I think so. I agree. And then the world is taking to it. What you're saying is absolutely happening. The world is taking to it.
Kylie Davis: (18:02)
Let's just pause there for a moment and hear a quick word from our sponsors. As we all know, the problems in the world can always be solved with good company and good wine. And for truly great wine, check out Smidge Wines from the McLaren Vale in South Australia. Smidge Wines has been rated five red stars by the James Halliday, Australian wine companion since 2017. Whether you love a big, bold Shiraz, a beautiful well-rounded Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Montepulciano, a Tempranillo or a Fiano, check out smidgewines.com, sold exclusively online and proud to be official wine with Australian PropTech. So what do agents need to do to get access to Enliven AI?
Fatek Chamma: (18:47)
Really simple. So you can reach out to a Propic via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn. Once we get the requests, we can have a conversation if the customer wants us to do a high level walkthrough or you know what the conversations look like in motion. And then really it's we're talking about one to two business days, and we can have the instance ready to go. It is literally a line of code that the agency's web developer will need to embed into their website. I've seen web developers deploy the code in 10 minutes.
Kylie Davis: (19:29)
Because that was going to be my next question. How long does it take to roll out?
Fatek Chamma: (19:33)
We do all the work. We send the line of code over to the agency. The agency gives that to their web developer, they then deploy that code to a certain part of their website. They save it, they go live and the virtual agent is starting to have conversations with customers from that moment on. And so the customer is in control of when the virtual agent is on or off. We can turn it on or off for the customer at any point as well with ease, if they're just struggling to get through the web developer. It's incredibly simple as the technology to adopt.
Kylie Davis: (20:09)
Once we've tried it, we're starting to clear up that backlog of conversations that people have been trying to have with us and getting the information out there to tenants or buyers. When does it start to convert into some paying clients for us in terms of sellers or investors?
Fatek Chamma: (20:30)
I've built conversations for finding sellers into this instance, because I figured, if you're helping existing tenants, you also need to help your buyers and you need to help your sellers. I mean, this is about making sure that the agency is available to the community as the community needs the help. So there is a conversation in there about doing appraisals and trying to sort of find leads for agents through the technology, as well as trying to find leads for buyers et cetera, for in listings that they happen to have at that moment.
Fatek Chamma: (21:03)
So It's already in there and they will get leads from it for appraisal. There will still be people in the market today through force of necessity because they've been displaced and they need to sell their home, et cetera, et cetera, they need to sell their home. So there'll still be some activity.
Kylie Davis: (21:21)
So how does the activity that Enliven AI is capturing as part of these instants? How does that feed back into your CRM? Or how does it kind of ... Like at the moment, what you're explaining to me sounds like great but sort of a bit of a chatbot on steroids. So what's the bit that comes after that, that then makes the information ... That joins that information that has part of the conversation back into your CRM or back into that feedback loop?
Fatek Chamma: (21:51)
So we keep a transcript of every conversation that the AI has with the customer. We can send those to the customer as they wish. There are certain conversations that we've got built at the moment that result in us trying to capture, as I said earlier, trying to capture our lead of some sort for the customer. So in the event that somebody does give us personal information and says, look, I do want to attend an auction or I am thinking about an appraisal for my property, here's some contact details, get someone to call me or contact me on email. We can capture info.
Fatek Chamma: (22:26)
We actually, for the sake of getting this out into the market quickly and supporting the agencies out there through the COVID-19 pandemic, we haven't done any API to push anything straight back to a CRM app. We do have the capability of doing that, obviously, for customers that take on an instance beyond that for other purposes like development, so website concierge are products that we've got today. But in this instance, we'll just send email transcripts to a point of contact who will then run their eyeballs over the transcript and then send that through to the right person then go [inaudible 00:23:06] an action.
Kylie Davis: (23:07)
Right. But if I subscribe to the whole Propic system, what would the what would that experience be? So if you're going to go with the free lite version, you get the transcripts back and you can manually extract the data out from that might lead to a lead. But you can rest assured that all the busy and the noise is being handled in an appropriate way. So there's a benefit there. But then if you're thinking, okay, so this is pretty cool. Now I actually want to understand how I could expand this into my business. What does that look like?
Fatek Chamma: (23:43)
So we do have the ability to push inquiries that we get from Enliven into the Signifi CRM. So if a customer inquires, we'll push it into the CRM, we'll create a contact card if the customer doesn't exist. Depending on the rules of engagement of that agency and how they want to treat leads, then we can work out how to find the leads to specific agents inside that business on a weighted scale, if that's indeed what it is that they want to do. So there's that level of integration that we've got with Signifi. If the customer is using a CRM, and the CRM has the right APIs to receive leads from external sources, then potentially we could also look at building the feed to their CRM that way if they wanted.
Kylie Davis: (24:34)
Right. And so does it do any data matching. So I've been inquired. I'm attendant who has been looking at finishing up because soon in my rental as soon as this stuff's all over, because I want to sell my unit that I own somewhere else and then buy locally. So I'm a potential sales lead as well as being a tenant and also a potential buyer. What's it going to, I know that but you don't necessarily know all those other things about me, how is the Propic system going to reveal this information about me?
Fatek Chamma: (25:11)
So if you're an agency that uses Signifi as your CRM app, then because of our data model and how we preserve the single view of customer, agnostic of what the agents or agencies want to do with their rules around for tech's ability to see your clients and vice versa, at the highest level Signifi preserves only one, let's call it Jeffrey Grey. You know about Jeffrey Grey, he's what you know. And if the agency decides to silo your information from mine, and we're both competing agents, then what you know about Jeffrey Grey is siloed into your access. What I know about Jeff Grey is hidden from you.
Fatek Chamma: (25:57)
But when you take it to the highest level, there's only one Jeff Grey in the CRM and you know from a principal and I've got the ability to see everything about Jeff Grey in my organisation. Now, if we can do that at the highest level, agnostic of what happens underneath it, then we can also see if a customer is a renter of the business. And then subject to how the agency wants to treat inquiries from those types of people.
Fatek Chamma: (26:23)
The CRM is highly configurable, because we build on the force.com platform, the Salesforce platform, which means we get the ability to leverage on their 750 million US dollars that they spend every year on research and development to build their platform. All that fancy stuff that they've done, we leverage. We don't have to write that code, right? So we've got tools that they've got in Salesforce called Process Builder, which means we can design that process you just spoke about into the technology. And then the minute that customer makes an inquiry, if it fits inside that Process Builder criteria, then we just take them on that journey.
Kylie Davis: (27:01)
Fatek Chamma: (27:03)
[crosstalk 00:27:03] complex if you want it.
Kylie Davis: (27:04)
Yeah. So Jeffrey Grey is a great example because one agent has spelt it with a G and the other spelt it with a J and one spelt Grey with a A and one spelt Grey with a E, but they both have the same address, does it match and recognise that it is actually the right person and then-
Fatek Chamma: (27:25)
Yeah. It's actually up to you as a customer to tell us how you want to protect your single view. So we can do a number, I don't want to say infinite, because the tech guys freak out.
Kylie Davis: (27:36)
They hate unlimited and infinite. They're terrible words.
Fatek Chamma: (27:40)
[crosstalk 00:27:40] freaking out technical. There's a number of different criteria that we can look at to match a customer. So we can say, first name, surname, mobile number, address, email address, a combination of all of those things, or just two of those things or all of those things. Some of them are fuzzy, some of them are hard matches. So it's really configurable to what the customer wants us to do to protect that.
Kylie Davis: (28:05)
And is the system able to then give me more information on Jeff Grey to lead score him?
Fatek Chamma: (28:17)
Well, again, it depends on the configured rules. But yes, we can do lead scoring. If we can see that Jeff is making lots of inquiry through a certain agency, Jeff is looking at certain types of listings, then yeah, we can do lead scoring for an agent if Jeff happens to make an inquiry on their listing.
Kylie Davis: (28:36)
Right. Okay. So where do you think all this ... Let's break this question into two parts for Fatek? How do you think we're going to come out of this COVID-19 period? And how do you think AI is going to help us with that? What do you think the next kind of eight weeks, four to eight weeks look like in real estate?
Fatek Chamma: (28:59)
I think at the highest level, the industry will come out a lot more geared towards having an open mind to technology in general. We're having some conversations with some customers who are using this as a really good opportunity to have a look at their tech stack and sort of work out what it is that they should be doing, because they've got some capacity now. I think from an AI perspective the customers that we will work with over the next few weeks and months, I think we'll see immediate value in what the technology can do for them because we're going to handle what I would refer to as low hanging fruit in terms of compensation management for them.
Fatek Chamma: (29:43)
What that will do is free up their people's time. Their resources are constrained to some degree at the moment. It'll free up their time to focus on things that are going to allow that agency to focus back on their core and work out what they need to actually do to get out of it in a week's time. So we can continue to struggle and try and sort of be that swan under, you know the legs under the water, sort of paddling away feverishly. Or you could be the swan at the top that just looks like it's going on quite gracefully because you've got the capacity to do it. Because after you shouldn't have to focus on [inaudible 00:30:18] is being managed for you by tech.
Kylie Davis: (30:20)
Yeah. Because I think this technology is the sort of stuff that allows you ... That lets you decide if you're going to be the centre of ... If as an agent and as a business, you want the technology to amplify all the stuff that you are amazing at and to let you scale it and do it to more people more frequently, more often at a higher quality, or whether you want to hold on to this old fashioned ... Old fashioned notion is probably unfair. But this notion that people have to be at the heart of every conversation, which means that you become a bottleneck for every conversation, which means that you can't actually offer the same quality or level of service to as many people. You actually become physically limited to it.
Fatek Chamma: (31:05)
It's actually absolutely correct. And we're certainly not saying that we want to replace an agent or a property manager. But what we're saying is, let us handle all the stuff that you generally don't need to handle. Let us nurture your buyer or your renter or your landlord or your seller to a point where they feel like they have enough upfront information to actually then want to continue a conversation with a human. And when the human is engaged, as we're learning from some of our real estate agents who receive leads today from Enliven on project development sales, for example.
Fatek Chamma: (31:38)
They're happy and a want to talk to those customers because the customers opted in to the listing. They've opted into the property, they know more about it. As a result, their jobs are made significantly easier. And that's the type of sort of nurture that we want to do in terms of the real time conversations that tech has with the agency customers is just prime them and prep them for the agent. So make the agent's life a lot easier as a result.
Kylie Davis: (32:05)
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Kylie Davis: (32:37)
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Kylie Davis: (33:18)
And it's a great time right now to kind of think about what we've just been through is, isn't it? And think about what's about to come. Life was just insane before all of this happened. I don't know about you, but I was running around like a headless chook. And it didn't seem to matter what I did on my to-do list, which was a very long to do list. It always seemed to be the wrong thing at the wrong time, because something else was always more pressing.
Kylie Davis: (33:42)
And then we had the kind of beginning of lockdown which sent everyone into a complete tether because everything was so uncertain, and so everyone had lots of questions. And again, there was an extraordinary amount of volume that happened in the real estate space as you're pointing out where every tenant on your book, probably wanted to ask a question as did landlords. And when you didn't get back to them, they kept ringing. And then every seller who was already on market was suddenly terrified and your buyers were wondering if they could just drop their offer by about 25% and then keep haggling.
Kylie Davis: (34:22)
We're kind of in the middle of it now, and we need to think about what's about to come and how this tech can actually help us with what's about to come, and how we can use the time now to think strategically through it. Because we're about to head into winter. Winter is typically quiet, except that transaction volumes have been down a bit and everyone's been scared. And so if you are actually allowed to go out during that winter period.
Kylie Davis: (34:44)
I think we're heading towards a quite ridiculously busy spring. Because there's a lot of pent up sales demand that never happened. It didn't happen over Christmas, especially in some states because of the fires. It didn't happen over Easter because of COVID. We're going to hit spring if we're allowed to have our houses and it's going to be insane.
Fatek Chamma: (35:09)
I've been thinking the same thing and I agree. I think if we're released from isolation into the wild, I think it's going to be a relatively busy spring.
Kylie Davis: (35:18)
Yeah. And even if it's staggered out. And also a lot of agencies have responded by cutting back staff, so they're actually going to go into that busy period behind the eight ball. So what should they be doing with AI now to get ready for that period, Fatek?
Fatek Chamma: (35:36)
I think this is a perfect opportunity to obviously learn about the technology and its capability. It's an incredibly safe environment to do it. There's no commitment. You come in, you take it if you want it. We'll help you through the challenging times that are imagined people are experiencing. When you think the job's done, then you just turn it off if you want. Beyond that, if you decide that this is something that you think you can live with, the world is your oyster. Because for the rest of mankind's time, unless we all plug into the cloud at some point, and we've just got information at our disposal, because we're all connected to the internet.
Kylie Davis: (36:17)
Matrix style, back of the head.
Fatek Chamma: (36:20)
We're working on that tech today, right? So there's lots of people out there that will tell you, you'll be connected to the cloud inside of 10 years, but that's a different podcast. But for the most part, customers will always be customers, Kylie. They're always going to be remiss of some type of information on things that we do for them. So this type of technology will always be able to help people educate, make their customers aware of what it is they do, how they do it, why they do it, because that's what customers want know. They're looking for an end to end experience.
Fatek Chamma: (36:54)
It's not so much about just to answer my question and I'm done. The experience today is almost more important than the product and service that people offer their customers. So long as we've customers, we're going to have people that don't know what it is that we do we have to answer those questions.
Kylie Davis: (37:11)
Yeah. And look, questions are great. Questions are a sign of curiosity. And curiosity is display of interest. And so when clients are asking you questions, that means they want to know more, and that they are really genuinely engaged with what you're doing. So we shouldn't be treating them as nuisances?
Fatek Chamma: (37:30)
Kylie Davis: (37:32)
So let me understand a little bit more about Propic just for our listeners out there. How long has probably been around? It started off as part of Dexar, and you mentioned Salesforce before, just give us a little bit of background on Propic?
Fatek Chamma: (37:47)
Yeah. So the company's been around in terms of a company standalone outside of Dexar for the better part of maybe say, a year and a half now. Probably a bit more than that, actually. As a business, we have been operating as Propic formally since, I think it was Jan or Feb last year. We kind of launched at [ARIC 00:38:16].
Kylie Davis: (38:16)
Yeah. I saw the standard, [ARIC 00:38:18].
Fatek Chamma: (38:20)
Yeah. So we kind of launched just before [ARIC 00:38:22]. I remember [ARIC 00:38:24] was an interesting time for everybody who was at the stand, because we were still so new. And the product complexity, for the most part, was a challenge for us in terms of trying to talk to agents about what it is that we do, et cetera. But we've come a long way since then. The technology has certainly come a long way since then.
Fatek Chamma: (38:42)
We've been very busy writing lots of code and talking to lots of customers and taking on lots of feedback, and sort of trying to push that back into what the technology looks like. Because obviously the customer lens on the work that we do is that the customer needs to be happy and comfortable using the tech so we need to take as much feedback as we can from customers where possible, implement it into the technology.
Kylie Davis: (39:06)
So it's not owned by Dexar or any ... It's only partly owned by Dexar or what's that structure look like?
Fatek Chamma: (39:12)
As I said earlier, like Dexar is a shareholder of our business. There are a lot of industry ... We've got lots of industry investors who have come in and said, we believe in what you guys are doing, and we're prepared to support it. So the industry has supported us by virtue of investment quite substantially, actually. And it's really for us because it's nice that the industry believes that we've got a part to play in trying to solve some interesting problems that they've had for the longest time.
Kylie Davis: (39:44)
Yeah. So what do you think the next five years holds for technology in real estate? What's Propic's roadmap look like?
Fatek Chamma: (39:57)
We're going to focus heavily on AI and data. We believe that AI and data for us are substantial differentiator between what we do and what everybody else does.
Kylie Davis: (40:12)
Who are your competitors? Sorry to interrupt. But who are your competitors in this space? Because you're part CRM, you're part-
Fatek Chamma: (40:21)
As far as CRM goes, obviously you've got all your CRM players with the Agentbox, the vaults of the world. Obviously, my days falling into backing with Adam and Scott now. So you've got your traditional CRM players that we compete with. For the most part, we're obviously interested in selling our CRM services if a customer wants. But we want to focus on the products that we think will start to change the agency's ability to actually do what they do in a differentiated way to their competitor. So how you use a product like AI is really important.
Fatek Chamma: (40:58)
AI isn't just AI. The conversations that I use our technology for on our website are very different to the way some of our customers are using it. Right? So with AI, there's this whole world of persona creation, persona management, and you can give your AI a persona and you can take that persona concept as far as you want. I know people that are using AI in the most incredible way where they've created a persona for the AI and they're getting the humans to serve customers in the AI's persona.
Kylie Davis: (41:35)
Okay. I mean, the other AI out there that we're hearing about in real estate include Property Realm that Patrick's working on within property management side and I guess AI and [AIR 00:41:52] the reader for [AIR 00:41:54]. Is that ...
Fatek Chamma: (41:56)
Yeah. The stuff that Patrick's doing is probably closer to Enliven than [Reader 00:42:02]. [Reader 00:42:03] does do some conversational stuff. I have seen it working through email and I think a deployment that they did recently on email. The concept of [Reader 00:42:17] for the most part and certainly the feedback we get from our customers about [Reader 00:42:20] is probably more closely linked to our Reveal product.
Fatek Chamma: (42:24)
In that there's better insights in there that'll mine CRM data and they'll combine it and they'll sort of come up with some ML that says, we think you should call Kylie today and start a conversation with Kylie. Where we're headed without a Reveal product is obviously in very similar fashion. But we'll be using AI in a very different way to try and complement what we do with Reveal which I can't-
Kylie Davis: (42:50)
Can't reveal right now.
Fatek Chamma: (42:52)
Kylie Davis: (42:52)
Fatek Chamma: (42:53)
It not far away, but it's going to be pretty cool. Like I think the [inaudible 00:42:58] is very, very media value.
Kylie Davis: (43:00)
Cool. Before you mentioned Salesforce is that kind of basis that you're built off. So give me all that kind ...
Fatek Chamma: (43:08)
We built Signifi on the force.com platform, so it's not Salesforce out of the box. We get a lot of customers going, Salesforce, that doesn't work in real estate. And they're absolutely right. Salesforce on its own out of the box does not work in real estate. It's probably the only vertical in the world that Salesforce themselves have not been able to crack. It's because they're there out of the box at opportunities and sort of contact management, et cetera, isn't designed for the real estate model.
Fatek Chamma: (43:38)
What we've done is we've written code on the force.com platform that is bespoke specifically to real estate. Which means when you go through Signifi, and you're adding an appraisal, for example, you want to do an appraisal, you add a listing, we'll take you on a very specific customised journey of what that looks like, so it's really specific to the real estate vertical. We're not trying to force a round peg into a square hole. It's written specifically for the industry so that it matches not only the data models that the industry expects, but also the process and the workflows that they're expecting to see if they logged into a different CRM app.
Kylie Davis: (44:18)
Cool. And so I interrupted before, but let's get back to what the next couple of years holds for Propic and where you guys are going. AI?
Fatek Chamma: (44:28)
It's about for us, it's about AI and data. We're not taking the foot off the accelerator with our CRM apps. Not by any stretch. But we want to move towards a world where our customers have the ability to do the things they need to do without having to go to two or three different places to do it. And without having to manually stitch things together as they have to do today. Grabbing [inaudible 00:44:53] from one system and put it into something else, and then they got to do a bit of a hack, et cetera.
Fatek Chamma: (44:59)
We want to be able to land it all in one platform and allow the customers to configure as they need to configure, so the tools and the tech that we provide them actually matches the things that they're trying to do for their customers. And so what allows you to sort of configure the tech to match your way of working without you having to change your way of working to suit the tech.
Kylie Davis: (45:21)
Fantastic. And as part of that not having to change your way of working, we discussed before too, that it's modular, so you can sort of start with one thing and then add more in and it will play nicely with most other bits and pieces so you can phase things in or out, use using existing technology with a lot of it already anyway.
Fatek Chamma: (45:42)
Yeah, that's right.
Kylie Davis: (45:43)
It sounds fascinating. Fatek Chamma, thank you so much for your time.
Fatek Chamma: (45:48)
I appreciate you having me today, Kylie. Thank you so much.
Kylie Davis: (45:51)
No worries. Thanks.
Fatek Chamma: (45:53)
[inaudible 00:45:53] so I love the idea of you advocating for property tech business like ours, and I look for the following you with keen interest.
Kylie Davis: (46:01)
Thank you so much. So that was for Fatek Chamma from Propic. Now, there's no doubt the Propic system is very clever, and Fatek and the team have done a great job at creating an AI based function that will allow agents to test how AI could work in their business. As an extraordinarily generous move, and one that I think will help all of the AI businesses out there, in letting agents become more familiar with what AI can and can't do. And how not threatening It really is. We've seen this a lot during COVID-19, where technology providers have been really generous with their products to help agents get on board more quickly. It's made me personally feel really proud of the PropTech industry that so many of us have leaned in.
Kylie Davis: (46:43)
Trying before you buy allows our clients to feel more secure about what they're about to do. And one of the biggest reasons why people resist technology is because they're a bit scared. I think this interview is also a great example of why it's really important to be able to nail your 10-second elevator pitch around what you do as a technology provider. You may be able to do a lot with your tech but it's impossible to explain all of it all the time, and keeping it simple can make it easier to digest. But if you enjoyed this episode of the PropTech podcast, I would love you to tell your friends or drop me a line either via email, LinkedIn or on our Facebook page.
Kylie Davis: (47:23)
You can follow the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcast, Anchor and iTunes. I'd like to thank my audio support Charlie Hollins, the fabulous Jill Escudero. And our sponsors Smidge, official wine of the PropTech community, and HomePrezzo, turning your data into amazing marketing content, which has never been more important in these days of social isolation. And don't forget to check out the free content that HomePrezzo is offering agents to support your digital marketing. So thanks, everyone. Until next week. Thanks, Fatek and the team at Propic. Stay safe and keep on PropTeching.
Content marketing strategist, researcher, journalist and presenter specialising in the real estate industry. I'm passionate about proptech, digital disruption and all things property, big data, leadership and entrepreneurial ideas, have an MBA and specialise in social and digital media content creation and automation.