"AI is a gold mine. But sometimes when you mine gold, you die."
The award for 'Quote of Property Portal Watch 2023' went to Ryan Gallagher, CEO at Iovox, who used his time on stage to share a warning for companies jumping on the AI bandwagon.
We caught up with Ryan after he took to the stage at Property Portal Watch. Here's what he had to say on topics including charlatans, hiring, and why Iovox continues to sponsor the conference.
Is leveraging AI dependent on the right hires—or partnering with the right providers?
You have to partner with the right providers. But you have to be very, very careful because there are so many risks involved.
And there are so many charlatans out there, we know this ourselves, even with dealing with basics like getting companies to transcribe calls—you can't do it. They say "Yes, we're a European company," and then you find out that all the people who are working on these calls are in some other country, so you're immediately breaching regulations.
It's a common problem and it's why we just started building everything in-house.
Meanwhile, many of the models are very mystical—do you understand what models this person using? Is it trained in-house? Is it a shared learning model?
My advice? The best thing for businesses to do is to hire at least one person who fully understands AI and can guide you to the right partners to use—because if you go in blind and trust providers, you're going to end up in trouble.
If you can get the right hires, good luck, but it's really hard!
How does an "average Joe" differentiate the charlatans and the snake oil salesmen from the real experts?
Hire somebody who can who knows what to look for. When it comes to AI, you have to be able to understand what you're looking for. You don't need to understand everything, but you do need to know how to ask the right questions.
What are some of the use cases for AI via Iovox?
Iovox helps people mine calls and communications for gold.
We transcribe calls and pick out details that would otherwise go unnoticed—does this person need to sell a house? Do they need a mortgage? Have they already bought a house? Have they already spoken to one of your competitors?
Then we go one step further. Did we handle this call correctly? Did we follow up fast enough?
We had this one company with 1,000 different locations. Some of them had a variable close rate of 40%-90%. Our solution allowed us to analyse why one location was able to close transactions at more than twice the rate of their peers.
What kind of findings were you able to establish from this example?
It was a combination of a lot of factors. Some people were handling calls lazily, some were accidentally referring business elsewhere, or the employees handling calls were too busy to follow through on promises to pass on the caller's details to another facility in the same company.
With Iovox, we were able to significantly increase the capacity of the quality assurance team, of just eight people, from spot-checking 1% of calls to 100% of calls and therefore allow them to make proper, sensible decisions without manually transcribing calls.
Last question. You're a repeat sponsor at Property Portal Watch. Why come back and do it again?
Honestly, this place is great. We don't sponsor much, but this is the conference where we really get to see what's going on in the industry.
We're big on relationship building, and the conference provides us with the opportunity to spend more time with our clients in spite of them being so international.
Meanwhile, we gain access to the other 50% of attendees who are new companies, and new leads.
But ultimately this is a great conference—we wouldn't sponsor it if it weren't. There's high-quality people here, there's high-quality learning every time we come here, we meet new people every time we come here—and we get to meet the old people who are so important to us and what we do.