As 2019 wrapped up, the team at CINC found they had a problem.
The team had been heads down on their goal to be the technology that powers the business of the best people in real estate. To do that, they had to create a consumer experience that would outdeliver and outperform the competition. And they did it.
“We doubled the amount of leads we delivered to our users, for the same cost,” said CEO Alvaro Erize. “It was unquestionably successful. But it created a new issue: how does one agent handle twice the business without being overwhelmed?”
CINC had delivered the ultimate consumer experience. Now it had to deliver that for the agent, too.
“Our mission in 2020 was not to get more leads to our clients, but to help our clients serve those leads with excellence—without sacrificing their family life. We wanted to help them leverage these fantastic opportunities while still succeeding as a human being.”
Innovation designed to enhance, not replace
Of course, 2020 didn’t quite look like anyone expected it would, and by late spring, fear and uncertainty around the coronavirus was widespread. Erize acknowledged the global impact but went on record with his confidence that the US residential real estate market would suffer minimal fallout.
Meanwhile, the CINC team remained laser-focused on their goal: helping agents serve clients better with artificial intelligence.
“We want our platform to be a bionic addition, where you are stronger and faster,” Erize explained. “We’re talking about a system that is going to interact with your prospects on your behalf, with the goal of building trust. This is not a chatbot that asks if you want three or four bedrooms. I already know what you are looking for by your behavior on the site. I need the technology to use your behavior and help me establish trust, understanding why you are looking for a house. That’s how relationships are built.”
From transactional to emotional
It’s a familiar consumer experience: you call into a business and follow prompts. Information is extracted from you. It isn’t a conversation by any means. It’s a transaction.
That’s what chatbots deliver. But that is not what the CINC AI platform will deliver, as Erize explained.
“Someone comes into your system,” he began. “They’re looking around your site, and everything they do is a behavioral cue. Then the system goes to work. It gently starts a relationship through a series of texts informed by the hundreds of data points the consumer has provided already, without being directly asked. And the emotional relationship is begun.”
And that’s when the agent takes over, picking up the conversation after the prospect has been warmed and qualified. Rigorous testing proved the execution was successful. “We saw the number of conversations double and appointments lift by 20 to 50%.”
Technology might assist, but the agent is always the heart
If the COVID-19 outbreak has done anything to real estate, it has separated transactional brokers from emotional brokers and Erize noted how each responded to the crisis.
“Transactional brokers felt there was nothing to be done. Why spend time calling prospects when no one is going to do anything in the next two months?” he observed. “But our relationship-driven brokers picked up the phone and had a contact ratio like never before— people actually answered. They had time. They were bored and concerned and wanted to talk. And those agents are looking at an explosion of business in Q4.”
For Erize and the team at CINC, this is the true meaning of artificial intelligence. Technology should enhance and enable a deeper level of human experience. “The human brain is irreplaceable,” he explained. “But you don’t just need a brain to create relationships. You need a heart, too.”