COVID-19 forced personalised service back into style. Smart agents are doing service smarter – leveraging the power of data and Ai with RiTA.


“In early March, our customers were simply trying to deal with the potential impact of the lockdowns.  Most experienced operators were familiar with the process of preparing for a market downturn, but it was the operating restrictions that presented a whole new challenge for most principals.  How can their agents be productive without actually transacting real estate?  The embedded KPIs of appraisals, listings and commission were going to be redundant for the next 12 weeks at least.”  


“This is where we found a huge increase in demand for RiTA.  RiTA focuses on the leading behaviours to the transaction and relationship building.  We saw a doubling in new customers joining us in the June quarter because all of them knew that they couldn’t do much more than call their existing database and start building that pipeline for when restrictions eased.  Our entire platform is designed to optimise and facilitate this process so it was a natural fit. “


“The fundamental KPIs of calling also saw a spike with connection rates rising by 20% during lockdown.  We also measure the percentage of calls that result in a property owner indicating that they are considering selling in the next 12 months.  Interestingly, this conversion rate did not shift much at all with most customers reporting that people were simply delaying the timeline to take their property to market.”


That is a pulse check from AiRE CEO Ian Campbell, or RiTA’s Dad as many know him. Working with thousands of agents across Australia and New Zealand – it has been fascinating to see the renaissance of the old school enhanced by new tools during COVID-19. 


Good friend and client of AiRE’s, Chris Hanley of First National Byron Bay, said that this period of crisis would force everyone to do real estate in the way that we all ought to have been doing it: Building relationships with personal attention and giving people our time, over time. Doing that wins trust. Trust wins business. 


It’s an undeniable formula.


“RiTA takes the guesswork out of prospecting,” says Caitlin Ellis of DiJones in Sydney. “It leads to more relevant conversations and warmer calls. Instead of ringing the same prospects every quarter at the same time and going through the motions — ‘How’s it going? How’s the dog? Did you get a new boat? Do you want an appraisal? No? Okay.’ — RiTA combines the information in our CRM with marketplace data, such as new listings, sales or rentals in the same street as the client, and gives the agents a reason to call.”


“We’ve definitely increased our engagement because of RiTA, and that’s led to more appraisals and more listings and more sales,” Caitlin says. 


Yet for so long, we abandoned these ‘leading’ activities thinking there were shiny silver bullets that would drop listings into our lap and I can’t help but think that everyone lost out in that equation. When you take the personal out of personal service and you stop doing those trust-building leading activities – then real estate becomes about who can scream the loudest (expensive) or who will work for the cheapest (zero sum-game). It’s not good for agents and it’s not good for customers.


Technology, for us at AiRE, has always been about enabling human connection – using data science to put the best people in front of the best agents, for the best possible reason at the best possible time. We use data from multiple different sources to segment and optimise the data assets of a real estate business so that agents get the most out of those leading activities. 

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Yet it was COVID-19 that brought good old fashioned service back into style. Good agents are just doing service smarter – leveraging the power of data and Ai with products like RiTA. There is nothing like being forced to change in order to actually make a change. We’ve all got a story about why that is true and here is a current one for me.


I’ve recently moved from Brisbane to Sydney and there is one thing that has been really striking that they do differently down South: wheelie bins. They are half the size of Queensland wheelie bins – my family of 5 (almost 6) – is now serviced by 120L of weekly waste disposal. 


And here is something I want to confess. We’ve never been better than half-assed recyclers. Every atom in my body understands and believes the science about why we should have been paying more attention to cutting down our waste and making consumption choices that consider the planet-friendly disposal of our goods. But we haven’t been doing that, I am ashamed to say.  As a large and growing family that has been balancing hectic executive roles, we’ve been part of the problem.


However, now that we have a 120L wheelie bin we are a family suddenly reformed….doing all of the things that we should have been doing this whole time. Buying low waste groceries, sorting rubbish fanatically, embracing a compost system and naked lunches, which are not as fun as they sound it just means you wash up small containers instead of buying individually wrapped things or using glad wrap and soft plastics. 


This great and accidental transformation of our family is another example of the transformations that we have seen in 2020 – we’ve seen a sharp lift in interpersonal hygiene and we have seen non-digital industries adapt to zoom meetings and cloud solutions that help humans connect with each other, despite the tyranny of social distance.


It hasn’t been the CEOs or the CTOs that led the transformation of the real estate industry – it has been forced upon the real estate industry by legislators and by COVID-19. It is strange to think that a virus from the wet markets in Wuhan, China was able to push the real estate industry to cloud platforms and to get everyone robot ready, even when the benefits have been so obvious for so long. But like my 120L wheelie bin, often it is the case that we’ll only adapt when we are forced to.


One of the main benefits of the great and accidental digital transformation of real estate is that most businesses are now in a position to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, primarily this means participating in the API ecosystem and they are ready for the exponential productivity gains that solutions like RiTA can provide to real estate agents and businesses. 


APIs (which stands for Application Programming Interface) allow one piece of software to integrate with another piece of software or data source. When you can leverage features and data across platforms then you start getting some serious productivity gains. 


And that is the space where RiTA lives. For agents and businesses looking to increase the productivity and effectiveness of their prospecting, RiTA uses data science techniques and automation to connect the dots between different data sources from the business and the market..connecting dots that have previously been fragmented.


RiTA’s powerful suggestion engine produces a list of the best people to connect with, at the best time, for the best reason and gives that list to the best person from your team to call.


Smart agents are using these powerful lists to get powerful results – and thriving in whatever market 2020 wants to throw at them. 


Want to meet RiTA? Like most relationships, this one starts with someone making the first move. So SAY HELLO to our team at AiRE and we’ll show you what our clever little girl, RiTA, can do.


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