Leadhome software engineer, Seagyn Davis, says the future is not one where technology will replace humans, but rather a hybrid of both working together to enhance and improve services and solutions.
“I initially assumed that robotics would replace repetitive and labour intensive tasks, but I have since learnt that we don’t want robots replacing us, but we do want robots to enhance the way we do things. It is one of the reasons I joined Leadhome. It is an excellent example of humans and technology working together,” says Davis.
He says that Leadhome has marketers, designers, software engineers, data scientists, product owners and user experience designers who work in cross-functional squads to create solutions that ultimately make the lives of customers better. This squad, says Davis, has two sets of customers.
The first, and most important, are its external customers. These are the buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants that use the system to improve their real estate experience. The second group of customers are internal customers. Almost as important as the first group, property advisors, local property experts and the leadership team use the systems to support and make decisions that assist the first group of customers.
“It is a symbiotic relationship where one can’t really exist without the other. Leadhome wouldn’t exist without external customers, and we wouldn’t be able to operate without our internal customers. Our squads set out to improve every interaction between the two customers and make their overall experience just that much better,” says Davis.
For external customers, Leadhome focuses on optimising the experience and ease-of-use. One of the most powerful tools built thus far is one that connects buyers and sellers more closely to improve the entire selling process: “We firmly believe that no one knows their home better than the homeowner does. The tools that allow for that from a seller perspective are our seller onboarding and seller dashboard, which give our sellers all the insights they need and the ability to set a schedule that suits them. From a buyer perspective, our property search gives buyers the ability to book viewings directly with the seller at a time that suits them. If there isn’t a time available, we connect them directly to our property advisors who will arrange and book a viewing on behalf of both parties,” explains Davis.
In the coming months, he says the real estate disruptor will focus on improving the experience for buyers and sellers with new features in the pipeline. These include expanding its rental division and possibly expanding into additional segments in the overall real estate experience.
Davis says that when Leadhome builds anything for its internal customers, the purpose is mostly to optimise for efficiency: “An example of this is the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that we have built in-house. We were using a very popular CRM but found that while it worked for general sales processes, it was getting harder to optimise for the property sale lifecycle and wasn’t improving the experience of our property advisors or local property experts. We decided to invest in developing a leading property-focused CRM. In many ways, we are getting really close to an end-to-end platform.”
Other important areas of focus for internal customers according to Davis focus around the automation of highly-repetitive tasks that generally have low return: “Having a machine automate a task means that whoever was doing it can now focus on high-return tasks that require focus and bring high return.”
Design thinking informs decision making at Leadhome. This requires a large investment from product owners and user experience designers. Davis says that the data science team provides the data needed without factoring in any emotions: “This data enables our squads to identify shortcomings, or at least quantify what we assume to be a problem, and then create small, iterative solutions that set out to solve these based on user input and feedback.”
Leadhome believes that you can’t remove the human touch from selling or buying a home. This is one of the main reasons why they invest in people across the business: “We do believe, however, that in many ways, technology can emphasise and improve the interactions we have as humans. Used correctly, platforms like email and social media have connected billions of people around the world, and we want to do the same at Leadhome. We’re not there yet, but every day we are relentlessly pursuing the ideal of the best real estate experience for everyone,” says Davis.