episode 20 cover

S1 EP20 | Artificial Intelligence and Homebuilding With Bassam Salem

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

AI (artificial intelligence) might seem futuristic, but it’s already changing the way customers interact with businesses in the present. From pointing you to a restaurant according to your preferences to providing customer service in a chat, AI can significantly improve customer experiences. Bassam Salem from AtlasRTX joins Matt and Mollie to discuss how AI can assist your buyers through webchat.

Bassam is also speaking at The International Builders’ Show! Catch him on January 21 at A Metrics-Powered Customer Journey: Better Leads, Faster Sales & Seamless Experience.


Top Topics of The Week:

  • Sacha Baron Cohen received the Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League. Watch his hilarious, yet enlightening, acceptance speech here
  • TikTok has reached 1.5 billion downloads! But with its primarily Chinese ownership, the fledgling brand is now trying to fend off accusations of spying. 
  • Google just announced that you can now buy movie tickets through its AI-powered Google Assistant with just your voice. Convenient or unnecessary? Let us know in the Facebook group!


Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.


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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.

[00:00:00] Bassam: We expect everything now, you know, far be it for us to ever expect someone to wait for us for minutes, let alone hours. Today’s average consumer research continues to support that. If you’re on a live chat, for example. And you don’t get a response within eight seconds, we’re more likely to navigate elsewhere.

Close the tab, go somewhere else. eight seconds. That’s about the amount of time we’re willing to be patient. And that’s an immediacy that’s almost impossible for a human. To deal with. On the other

end of that chat.

Matt: Hi and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Mollie . We’re here to [00:01:00] bring 

Mollie: value to you and your team by exploring all things sales and marketing related, 

Matt: all from different perspectives. Today, our focus discussion of the week is artificial intelligence and home-building. 

Mollie: But first, let’s dive into our top topics of the week.

So I’m going to go ahead and go first. I want to share a link, which is ironically on YouTube, which you’ll understand when you actually click on it and watch it. It is the acceptance speech that Sasha Baron Cohen. I’m just gave a few days ago at the, ADL, the Anti-Defamation league leadership award, and he won this award and he gave this really interesting and thought provoking, acceptance speech that I really think everyone should listen to, whether or not you believe with him.

Believe his whole message and buy into his whole message. I think it’s a really interesting perspective and that’s what this [00:02:00] podcast is all about, is looking at things and looking at different perspectives. So I do think that everyone should look at it. the content is essentially about the role of social media in, just today and our world.

And how. the content that’s being put out there and could potentially be real or fake. And what role does social media have in, regulating that content? And, really the overall message is, as humans, we should, value truth over lies and tolerance over prejudice. And you know, if you aren’t familiar with the anti defamation league.

important to familiarize yourself. And then also, I think you’ll all find this talk, pretty, pretty interesting. So listen to it, and then let’s talk about it on the Facebook 


Matt: What is the Anti-Defamation? I don’t know what it is. 


Mollie: So it’s really about just human rights, no matter who you are.

So not being discriminated [00:03:00] against because of your race, because of your religion, because of who you love. it’s. Just not your right to not be discriminated against. And it’s, you know, it’s, they’re doing great things and it really is a timely message because with social media. discrimination can be spreads so easily.

So for essentially what he refers to social media as is the greatest propaganda machine in history. Because you know, his, he references. He actually references Hitler and says, you know, if social media was around and Hitler was able to spread his message utilizing social media, just imagine what it could have done during that time.

And, just the human race in general and how we are able to consume. Content that is not regulated, that that really can be propaganda. So it’s 


very interesting when you [00:04:00] think about it from a human rights standpoint. 

Matt:  you know what? I did see that headline, just the other day when you mentioned the whole, the Hitler thing.

Oh, really? Yeah. I saw the headline and that like, sure. I’ll have to go back and check that out. That’s interesting. 

Mollie: Yeah, it’s, it is getting a lot of views and that’s why I was saying, it’s funny that it’s on YouTube because he’s actually. Kind of saying that YouTube isn’t regulating. and then his, his acceptance speeches on YouTube.

But you know, this is the guy who played bhorat, so you don’t expect him to be well spoken and 

Matt: so thoughtful. 

Mollie: And he’s a comedian, and what he does is he has this heavy message, but he presents it in such an articulate way. Still authentic. I mean, he makes a couple of jokes throughout because, you know, he played characters that are ridiculous, could be considered a completely, 

Matt: again, doing what he’s against, saying he’s against 

Mollie: discriminating.

And the whole premise is, you know, it’s a joke because it’s so over the top. And [00:05:00] so not accepted that that’s why it’s funny. And his whole, Concept of his talk is essentially, my jokes aren’t funny anymore because now this is real and it’s not something from the past. It’s happening again. So, I, I think you guys will really enjoy it.

And yes, it’s, Sasha Baron Cohen who plays barrette and, but it’s, it’s a serious and heavy talk, but also, an important one. 

Matt: Interesting. All right, well that’s a, that’s a good, that’s the, I’ll have to check that out. Good, good, good. Snag Mollie. All right. Okay. So my, the one thing I wanted to talk about and, and we don’t talk about it often because one of the things that, you know, we’re always trying to stay on the newest thing.

The next thing, whenever I talk to people that I haven’t seen in awhile, the first thing they ask me is, what’s new out there? Like, what’s the next thing? And. The reality is, is we don’t always want to chase down, and this may seem ironic coming from me, but we don’t always want to chase [00:06:00] down the latest shiny thing because just because it’s the latest thing doesn’t mean it’s a right for you.

Be right for your. Industry and see goes after the right demographic of where you, who you need to be in front of. So this is all social media today and it’s Kirk crazy numbers, but tick tock re has reached 1.5. Billion downloads. And so in case you don’t know what tech talk is, tick talk was originally the app called musically, which is where, you know, the kids were, you know, recording little like lip sync videos to existing music will tick.

Tock is, was, is that basically, and it’s owned by, the Chinese. A Chinese company and there’s some, there’s some like conspiracy theories that it’s the Chinese government’s trying to use it to like spy on people and things like that. I 

Mollie: hadn’t even heard that. There’s always a conspiracy thing.

Matt: I know I’m not, that’s not my thought process, but [00:07:00] I do. I mean, that’s big, big numbers. 1.5 billion with a B downloads, and this is something that if you’re not. Really paying attention to from a company’s perspective, from a homebuilders per sec perspective, for who we can sell homes to. It is not the rabbit to chase down that hole for us yet, because the demographic that’s on there is a very young demo.

Mollie: I think you’re just saying that because I proposed that we create a music video and you are not into it. 

Matt: It is totally my way out.

Mollie: You know? We want to see you make a, I actually have never. I don’t even know what it is, but I know like I’ve never logged into it or opened it, but I know all the kids are using it and I just would love to see you make some kind of music video. I think that’d be amazing. Can we do that just for our listeners?

Matt: Maybe it takes me a few drinks before and one. And a three or four in, and you can [00:08:00] ask my wife, this happens a lot more much. So when we were dating, but like the, the inner Michael Jackson would come out like, Oh yeah, it’s for 

Mollie: real. Gosh, we’re definitely going to have to make that happen.

How many of those downloads 

Matt: are under 18? this app, or, I’m sorry, this particular article doesn’t say the age bracket of that. It just says that the total downloads. 

Mollie: So we’d say like 90%. 

Matt: Oh, I would think, I think it’s really, really high. All 

Mollie: right. If you’re on sick talk, let us know and we want to see some of your masterpieces.

And Matt has requested a song by MJ. 

Matt: That’s right. Absolutely. All right. Okay guys, we are going to take a quick break and then when we come back, I’m honored to have our guest with us this week. The Sam Salem. From Atlas RTX and we’re going to dive in and talk about artificial intelligence, AKA AI in [00:09:00] homebuilding and, what that really means to us.

So stick around and we’ll be right back with the Sam

All right. And we are back. And we’re going to dive into our focus discussion of the week this week, and that is artificial intelligence in homebuilding and what the heck that even means. And we have my very good friend and special guest, but Sam Salem with us today from Atlas RTX. Sam, welcome to the show.

Bassam: Hey, thank you both for having me. I’m delighted to be here. 

Matt: Absolutely. And I just as I introduce you to our listeners, the one thing, if you only take one thing away from this episode is that you need to follow the Sam on social [00:10:00] media solely so you can keep track of his scarf game. This guy is, his scarf game is on point, and every time I see him, he’s wearing some stylish, different scarf.

I’ve never seen him wear too. I’ve never seen him wear one twice. 

Bassam: As I told you, I was disappointed. There’s no video here, so you could, that you could see the scarf I put on just for you. 

Matt: I’m disappointed. I can’t believe it. Oh, man. Anyway, well, the next time I see you, I’ll, Can’t wait to see the scarf that you chose.

All right. Okay. So why don’t you start, just tell us a little bit about you and your company and your team, and, just to get everybody familiar before we dive into the realm of AI. 

Bassam: Fantastic. We’ll  I’ll be brief about myself. but if you’re wondering the root of my, a different name, it’s Egyptian.

I was, boring, in Egypt and moved here before my 14th birthday. [00:11:00] and, I’ll keep it at that too, but we came here and studied at the university of Utah and built a, built a life here. Eventually I founded this company, Atlas RTX. just about four years ago. I, we’re based in park city, Utah, and the philosophy of our company is.

Allowing businesses, and especially home builders, 80% of our business is home builders, allowing businesses to leverage artificial intelligence to create phenomenal customer experiences. So it’s about leveraging AI to create awesome customer experiences. And, that’s in a nutshell, is what that was RTX is all about.

Mollie: Yeah, and that’s perfect for our listeners because we talk about experience all the time, and I saw on your website, your tagline is real time experience. And that is, that is perfect. what I want to know is what made you decide to start a company that [00:12:00] was centered around AI? How did you get into that in 

Bassam: general, you know, there were three trends.

But really are converging at just the right moment and RTX realtime experience. The RTX in our name is really capitalizing on those three trends and serving those three trends up to our clients. But first is, as you were alluding, Mollie, customer experience has now been hot for 10 years, but. It’s five years ago.

I think everybody was sort of suspicious, you know, is spending on customer experience really worth it? I think now a decade later, I think there’s a global acceptance that customer of a companies with great customer experiences do better, have more loyal customers, grow faster, and so on. So trend number one is this realization that customer experience is an important strategy.

The second trend is there’s messaging as an app. [00:13:00] This notion that we are, you know, I say that 20 years ago, everybody we knew was trying to build a web application, building applications that were based on a browser. About 10 years ago, everybody was building mobile applications, applications that ran on mobile phones.

Well, I contend that over the next decade. We’re all going to be building messaging based or conversational applications that is leveraging existing messaging apps on our phones to get things done, whether it’s ordering a cab or Uber or Lyft, or it’s, requesting some information from a brand, or ordering food.

It will be conversational, messaging that makes that possible. So that theme has really resonated here in North America, specifically with SMS messaging. We use messaging for everything. Now, the third trend is very much a macro [00:14:00] trend, but it’s, it’s a science C1. And as a computer scientist, I’m proud to be able to talk about this one.

And that is that. The field of computer science called conversational artificial intelligence. So AI is a pretty big word. Artificial intelligence is a pretty big category. A conversational AI is the part of AI that the subset that is around conversation and natural language processing. I know I’m sounding a bit techie now, but I love the fact that a NLP natural language processing.

It’s now about 50 years old and has finally matured to the point that it’s practical that we can use it to solve problems and most three things together. Those three things combined. Allow us to create what we call real time experiences for our clients. We can give them great customer experiences that are conversational and supported by . 

Mollie: So I have to admit, I, I consider myself a [00:15:00] late adapter when it comes to tech in general, but especially with some of the tech that you’re talking about, because as a business owner, I’ve always been afraid of letting go of control or potentially having that right.

Customer interaction be with a nonhuman. And the more I learn and the more I’ve talked to you and your team, and Matt, of course, I’ve really changed my, thought process and just as a business owner too, to realizing this isn’t about losing control, it’s actually about enhancing that experience.

So, for me it’s been a real shift in the past year. I know I’m late to the game. 

Bassam: No, no. Absolutely. Mollie, I think it’s completely natural to go through what you just described them, and in fact, I think it’s natural for, for folks to, to wonder and be suspicious about AI in general, especially with a lot of technologists cautioning us about artificial intelligence.

But I’ll tell you, as a [00:16:00] computer scientist myself, I believe that AI. It’s just a tool like any other tool, and that we can harness it to become more efficient as humans. with everything we do, there are lots of things we do day to day that we’d rather not do. And if we can train a program. To do those things for us.

The mundane things, as we call them, the repetitive things that we prefer not to do. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if a machine could do that for us and free us up to do what we are really good at, things that machines can’t do. So our tagline from the, from the outset was, AI and humans are better together.

Let’s leverage that to create great customer experiences. So AI and humans, or chatbots and humans, in our case. Better together. Our philosophy fundamentally, puts the humans still front and center and ensures that it’s about helping them. It’s about [00:17:00] helping the human to whom the, the checkbox is an assistance.

That’s really our philosophy. So 

Mollie: tell us more about AI in general and how it’s playing a role in our lives now, and then how you believe it’s going to start playing a bigger role later. 

Bassam: Absolutely. An AI is such an enormous field, so it spans everything from a, what we call computer vision, the notion of a computer programs trained to detect things and images.

you know, the, the idea of being able to scan the earth, for example, for a specific pattern. It’s not exactly something a human would want to do, but what if you could train a computer program to detect a pattern? you know, whether it’s a species of animal we’re trying to count or it’s some natural disaster that we want to be able to do.

Detect quickly, what if we could train a computer program to do that? computer vision [00:18:00] is a type of AI and something that we’re already starting to use today. Now, obviously early on, I suspect it was mostly military applications, but I think as time has progressed, it’s becoming a commercial or many commercial uses for this.

robotics, another form of AI, the notion of having a machine, but does what we. I may choose not to do. I may prefer not to do, sending a robot into a fire, maybe the best use of a machine. And that’s something we wouldn’t prefer to send the human into. So robotics is another form of AI.

speech in general, whether it’s, voice, voice recognition or speech to text, text to speech. Those capabilities are also a subset of AI. So hopefully you’re sort of seeing the, the, the breadth of it. today the word AI is a bit overused by just about every business out there. I think it’s the most common.

you know, about two years ago, everybody had the word blockchain on their [00:19:00] LinkedIn profile. I think now everybody has the word AI on their LinkedIn profile and the notion of AI that everybody’s. Sort of overusing today is, leveraging large volumes of data and teaching machines to process large volumes of data and reach conclusions about, you know, predictive, predictive criteria that a computer can, can ascertain from a piece of data or something like that.

So, we’ve, we’ve collected so much data, as you both know in the last decade or two. what if we could leverage computers. To process that data and deduce useful information from it. So it’s a really broad field and we focus on a very specific subset of, it’s called natural language processing or conversational AI.

It’s the part of AI that deals with human dialogue. The human conversation in a natural language. 

Matt: And that’s something that’s, [00:20:00] and I, I’m assuming here that based on your explanation, that’s something that’s really similar to like a Siri or a Google assistant type scenario. Right? 

Bassam: Absolutely.

Absolutely. So those, those are instances of conversational AI, great examples. 

Matt: Yeah. And because this is, these are things that. We, as a whole, like as a society are starting to get more and more in. So for instance, me exam for example, you know, is we even relate this back to even some basic, S SEO from a marketing perspective.

It’s like, are you voice search ready? And it’s kind of the same thing with, excuse me, this ed, the AI side of it and how it’s conversational. So what I mean by that is, before. You would have asked me 12 months ago about how well do you talk to Siri or Google or Alexa or anything like that? I would have said that my, I’m not that comfortable speaking.

I would rather type it in, type my question in or [00:21:00] type out a text message. But as time has gone on, I’ve become more and more comfortable using speech to text, functionality on my phone. Phone or asking Siri? A quick question. We were just talking about that this morning with, you know, basically no click searches where you do a quick search and it just pulls up on the screen and it gives you your answer and you’re done.

It’s kind of the, it’s kind of the same thing. Google just rolled out with their, duplex and the Google assistant where now you’re able to buy movie tickets all through your Google assistant through like. Fandango or whatever type of, you know, a movie ticket app you have, but you’re able to just tell your Google assistant to say, Hey, buy me.

Buy me some movie tickets for the five o’clock showing of frozen too, and clearly have children. Unfortunately not. I do have Disney plus though I did prepay for my three year subscription of [00:22:00] Disney. 

Bassam: What you’re saying is that the consumer behavior you’re describing is actually very in sync with what we have been seeing over the last couple of years, and that is we as consumers are increasingly more reluctant to download more mobile apps onto our phones.

In fact, if anything, we have. Fewer and fewer apps with each passing month. Every time someone gets a new phone, they’re much more critical of which apps to reinstall. It takes us a lot to add that new app. So these brands, 

Matt: I couldn’t, that’s an a, that couldn’t agree more there. But Sam, because I literally.

Just like two weeks ago, just got a new phone and instead of doing a complete restore from my old phone, I just did a new install and then manually went through and added the apps that I wanted and not, I didn’t want to carry over all the excess garbage. I was like, I don’t want to mess with that.

That’s thing. That’s really interesting that you said that. 

Bassam: Exactly. That’s, that’s exactly the behavior we’re all experiencing now. [00:23:00] And, and what’s happening is for a brand to engage us on our mobile phone, they need to engage us with an app that already exists. Because to get us to download an app is a pretty, a pretty high hurdle.

To overcome. And because of that, that’s why we’re such believers in messaging because we all have SMS in North America, texts, SMS code for a text messaging. many of us have Facebook messenger or LinkedIn messenger, or. Across the globe event. Talk about WhatsApp and WeChat and other sorts of messaging platforms.

So it’s messaging becomes a replacement for the app because it’s a means by which a brand or a company can engage its consumer or customer with something that’s already on their mobile phone. And that is really a critical and fundamental sort of trend, that, that underpins the, the premise of our company.

[00:24:00] Matt: Absolutely. And I think that the last part, or the, I should say, part, even part of your company name, real time experience. And what we’re talking about here is, is just the actual experience that as a consumer that we have on a day today, aspect of our lives. And we’ve, we’ve probably talked about this.

I dunno, at least half a dozen times and throughout different podcast episodes already. And that’s, we’ve got to meet our customer where they are. And you know, sometimes you finish that sentence of in their process, but you just have to meet the customer where they are. And if you think about a mundane task such as, I’m now able to tell.

My Google home assistant to buy my tickets to frozen too. If the five o’clock showing and it does it and it’s completely seamless, and that is now my experience that has now become my quote unquote Amazon experience. [00:25:00] What do we think the expectations are that. For the experience that the consumer is going to have when they come to pur, make the biggest purchase of their lifetime.

Bassam: You’re absolutely right. and that’s, that’s where we were trying to capture everything you just described with this notion of RTX. This notion of realtime experience that, is, is capturing our need as consumers for one immediacy. We expect everything now. you know, far be it for us to, ever expect someone to wait for us for minutes, let alone hours.

Today’s average consumer research continues to support that. If you’re on a live chat, for example. And you don’t get a response within eight seconds, we’re more likely to navigate elsewhere. Close the tab, go somewhere else, eight seconds. That’s about the amounts of time we’re willing to be patient, and that’s an immediacy that’s almost impossible for a [00:26:00] human to deal with.

On the other end of that chat. 

Matt: I totally agree. This was, I don’t know, it was springtime earlier this year in 2019, I went, went to a hotel, was doing a talk, and, got to my room to check in, a little ahead of time. And. First thing I do, I throw my suitcase down on the, on the bed, the ground, wherever, and I get my laptop out.

And the first thing I do is to make sure that I connect to wifi, right? So first thing that I do, as soon as I get in the room and I flipped my laptop open, connect to the wifi, and there’s a, it’s password protected, and then there’s a little, then I’m looking through my hotel key card information that they gave me, looking for the wifi password.

It’s not in there. But then the page loads, the, you know, the hotel page loads. It says like, have it need something, chat us. And so I click chat to initiate the chat and type out my quick question and I bet I waited. Maybe the eight second cheer referring, and it was the longest [00:27:00] eight seconds of my life because all I wanted was the wifi password.

And so I pick up the phone and I call the front desk and I’m like, Hey, I’m in room, you know, one, two, three, and. I need the wifi password. And the lady at the front desk was super nice and she says, Oh, I saw the chat it in. I was getting ready to respond. So their chat feature for that local hotel, which I thought was a really cool thing.

Ended up being a frustrating experience because it didn’t meet my expectation of the timeline for what I wanted, what I felt to be some really basic information just to kind of help move on with my day. And I remember that, I mean, it’s been almost a year, and I remember it vividly that I was impatient and I thought, okay.

What kind of jerk am I a jerk? Am I, you know, I can’t wait eight longer than eight seconds for somebody to tell me to get the wifi password. 

Bassam: Matt, you could not have constructed a better example than that because how [00:28:00] many people do you think stay at that same location and have exactly that same question.

within the first five minutes. And how many times does that a fine person downstairs have to answer that same question every day when she could be dealing with the bigger problems that are causing serious dissatisfaction to customers. So why not? The wifi password is exactly the kind of question that is so straight forward.

As to be able to have a chat bot be able to address, and the chat bot can tell her, in this case, Hey, I’ve got this. It’s a wifi password, no biggie. This person is all good. I’ve got it handled. Now this other person is reporting a leech in their, in their tub. This one, you probably need to jump in because I’m a chat bot.

I can’t do much about it. And that interplay between automation. Handling the mundane and freeing up the human [00:29:00] is exactly what this is all about. So I couldn’t have asked you for a better a constructed example than that. 

Matt: I’m just trying to throw you water melons, the Sam, that’s all. 

Bassam: I think it’s 

Mollie: amazing though, what you said.

I mean, really, humans aren’t able to respond quickly enough for humans. Like we’ve evolved to that point where we’re not even quick enough for ourselves. That’s kind of amazing. And I wish I had a chat bot because as you’re telling this story, man, I’m thinking of all the questions that I get all the time, and my answer is go 

Matt: Google it.

Bassam: Just 

Mollie: like an automated response with the same answer where I don’t have to do anything except, you know exactly 

Bassam: that exact use case is, is actually a great idea for a chat bot. Imagine AI that will. Yeah. When you ask it, something will [00:30:00] not just go find the first source on Google, but we’ll do some research in real time in parallel.

Do Google searches look at the top 100 results Colet all of the answers. Figure out probabilities, figure out credibility of the sources, and then come back to you and say, there are four different answers I’m finding here. This one seems to have the most credibility. These three are alternatives though.

Just be aware of them. Would you like information on. Either a one, two, three or four. I mean, that’s the kind of thing that I think we’d all agree would be a really useful program, a really useful piece of automation that would take us potentially tens of hours to do, but if computer program could do in seconds, 

Mollie: so how soon is that coming?

Bassam: Hey, you know, that could be the next business. You know 

Matt: what though? In a, in a very simplistic form. That exists and like, think about Siri on your phone. You say you’re driving down the road and you say, [00:31:00] Hey, I need to F I need to find the closest Starbucks. And it says, Oh, I found three of them.

Bassam: Exactly. 

Matt: This one is closest to you. Would you like me to call it for you? You know? So it’s giving you the one that’s closest. It’s giving you multiple other choices to choose from all that. Or along my route on my, that I’m going down on my map now. We just need to take that and put that in an iPad.

Mollie mounted in the wall outside your office, and then before anyone can enter, they have to scroll through the list of questions before your door unlocks and then they can come in. I love 

Bassam: it. 

Mollie: Well, the one word, first of all, I’m probably gonna try to do something like that. I think it’s amazing.


one of the words that you said was credibility. And I think that that’s so on point, just because, you know, there is so much. Out there in the, on the internet. And it is hard to determine what’s credible. So I think you have your future, you know, that’s a good challenge to have to look forward to.

I liked that one. 

[00:32:00] Bassam: Well, actually that brings up a point that I, I’m not sure would have come up any other way, Mollie, and that is, you know, we talk about AI and humans are better together and we certainly mean that. On behalf of our clients. That is our clients. Human teams can do a better job, thanks to AI, but we also mean it in another way, and that is that we believe that humans are still necessary.

Today to train, to train these chatbots to, to train AI systems because we don’t believe in setting the AI free, so to speak, irrespective of the credibility of the sources from which it can learn. I’m sure we all have, remember some examples in the last year or two or three, from bigoted chatbots to some other, some other humorous, examples where, the chat bot is learning on its own.

It’s called unsupervised learning. we don’t do that. [00:33:00] We believe that, in order to have credible. AI, you still need humans to actually train it and tell it when it’s wrong. And it’s literally training. just the same concept, as we would a, you know, training a child or training a pet or training an adult in some cases.

we, we, we train, we train these chatbots, and we’re constantly improving them and we control the credibility we control. What it says, how it says it. so you can imagine very quickly that in a lot of industries where what is said on the line is regulated. The amounts of compliance you can adhere to.

When you have a predictable machine that is only going to say what you’ve programmed it to say and it won’t get upset and swear at the customer or, you know, ask something, it shouldn’t or say something, it shouldn’t. We’re able to really control that in a brand. Or a company [00:34:00] is really able to control that experience.

So credibility actually has a lot to do with the need from the, from a backend for 

Mollie: right. And also the control. Like I said in the beginning, as a business owner, that’s the part that was so scary to me as feeling a loss of control of what that message is. But it’s actually the exact opposite of that.

You’re in complete control of what the, what the chat bot is doing. And I think that that’s the part that’s most appealing to me. 

Bassam: Absolutely. you know, we, we, we think about, you know, what you described, Mollie about, you know, maybe a year or two ago you were a much more reluctant and now you’re sort of starting to, to accept it a little bit.

I sort of describe it as, you know, everybody, when they. First meet the idea, they meet it with rejection. and we were there about four years ago. you know, everybody’s just said, this is crazy. What are you talking about? You’re trying to replace humans. you know, machines will never be as good as humans, and by the way, they’re nowhere near as good as a human.

Today we [00:35:00] got some rejection. The sort of two years ago to one year ago, we were sort of met with cynicism. Like, ah, I’m starting to see the value. but you know, I’m cynical about it. I want to see it succeed elsewhere first. We’re now starting to transition into acceptance. you know, folks are like, you know, this is, I need this.

This is more, it makes me more efficient. It provides our customers a better experience. I’m accepting it. I really think we’re only a year or two away from endorsements where if you don’t have it. How were you? How are you getting anything done without automation? You can’t, you can’t stand out if everybody else is doing it and you’re the only one, not, you’re less efficient.

You’re providing a worse customer experience and so on. So I feel like that sort of, that process is unfolding with respect to conversational AI. But the same thing will happen with, whether it’s self driving cars, and I’m sure. I will, we’ll run into issues [00:36:00] there early on, to, to the devices or like, like Siri and Alexa that Matt was talking about.

So we all sort of follow that path it seems. 

Matt: And, and so. It’s interesting that you say, you know, you’ve gone four years ago from rejection to cynicism to somewhat of, you know, skeptic. They’re a little skeptical, but we’re about ready to be endorsed, on that side of things. But that’s from the businesses side.

What about the consumer? Like. What are, what’s, what are the numbers that are out there or what are, what are our actual cause? What really matters is what the actual consumer thinks or what they expect. And do consumers today expect that type of experience for the basics? 

Bassam: You know, I think it’s so easy because we are all consumers and we can all put ourselves in the shoes.

What we expect is, I just need my request dealt with. If I have a question, [00:37:00] I just need the answer. When you asked for that wifi password, you really didn’t care who provided it to you. You just needed it quickly and they’re say you would have preferred, if you type, I need my wifi password for an automated system to say, Oh, that’s a generally ask question.

Wifi password is here. I’m, I’m 99.9% certain you would have preferred that to having. It’s a call. Yeah. Having said, if you were to say to the chatbots, I have a flood in my room, help me and the chat bot, please ask me in another way. I don’t know. And you were to ask it again, please ask me in another way.

I don’t know. You’re going to be frustrated. That’s a moment when I need the human. To come in and save the day. So ultimately, as long as our need is met, we as consumers are more than happy. Now, something I, this was our philosophy from the beginning, but where some of the things that have [00:38:00] surprised me, even as the, you know, the, the, the person who believed in this more than any, is I presumed.

That. if humans could be as fast as a machine that we would always prefer the human. That is in a perfect world, it would just all be humans. We would just all be super fast and could speak a hundred languages, you know, and, and were never sick and, and so on. but automation was going to be sort of a, you know, a cheap imitation of a human and could cover for us when we were asleep or had to go to the bathroom or had to go get a cup of coffee or, or on another conversation.

That was really my thinking. One of the big Epiphanes for me over the last 18 to 24 months has been that there are segments of consumers and these are meaningful segments of consumers, namely mostly millennials and gen Z, sort of younger millennials and gen Z who actually prefer talking to [00:39:00] a system.

Believe it or not, if they see a robot icon for the chat. and we support some pretty large websites now, including new home source of the home building industry. So we see, you know, many, many, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of visits and chats on a monthly basis. when the icon looks like a robot.

people were two and a half times more likely to click on it. Then when it looked like a human face, which is very, was very unexpected for me. Why would someone prefer to talk to a robot than a human? And what we’ve learned over the last 18 months is depending on where you are in the customer funnel, in the journey.

the earlier you are in the funnel, the less likely you are to want to engage a human. You just want to do research without engaging the human. And people were landing on, for example, new home source.com by doing a Google [00:40:00] search or Bing or whatever search engine, they click on the link land there.

It’s way too early in their journey to talk to a human. They just did, you know, single family homes in Philadelphia. That was their search. they don’t really want to talk to Jenny or Jack, but if there’s a little robot that says, how may I help you? and it will allow them to do a search, they’re much more inclined to do that.

Matt: I think that that is the, our natural or innate fear of salespeople too. Like as a, as a, as a buyer of anything, you go buy a car, you buy a house, you go anywhere. We don’t, we want to avoid quoting the salesperson at all costs up until I have no other option to say, okay, I think I would like to purchase this, and I think I have to 

Bassam: have your assistance to do it.

Exactly. In fact, I, I, I say, and I attempt to be funny, but it never [00:41:00] comes out. But, that, gen Zs love one-on-one communication. They love one to one. They just don’t want to do it in person or live. So they as they are more than happy to talk to a salesperson as long as it’s an arm’s length.

Over a text thread, not over a phone call, and certainly not in person. So you think about how intimidating it is for a 23 year old to walk onto a dealer lot. If we’re talking cars and being ambushed by three salespeople who are going to do the hard sell. It’s absolutely, you know, your, your description is very apt.

your, your use cases, very apps they want to do the. Negotiation the information, gathering the research completely remotely. They just want to show up and pick up the car. Yet we ensure that that is absolutely not possible. We forced them to come in. We forced them to negotiate. We forced them to.

First get, you know, an over, over asking or [00:42:00] over a unnecessarily expensive price and have to make them negotiate for it. So it’s just a horrible experience that could be so much more seamless if we were in tune to what young people these days are expecting. 

Matt: I agree. And I’m one of those people that would happily pay a little more to just be easy.

Like if I could just be seamless and easy and the least amount of time that I can spend on it, I will. I’m fine paying a little bit more. I’m also that person that, in the, in, in the grocery store or any other store, if there’s the self checkout line or the regular checkout checkout line, I always go to the self checkout line because I don’t want to, I don’t want to communicate with anybody at that point.

Bassam: Are you? You might be a millennial. You might be a millennial. 

Matt: If I am not, but maybe I am 

Bassam: progressive. This cynic 

Mollie: in me though, still thinks [00:43:00] about that next generation. I’m like, Oh my gosh, we’re going to have a whole generation of people who are completely antisocial and don’t know how to have.

You know, a face to face conversation. That’s the parent in me having a 

Bassam: fear. I’m a gen X or myself, and it’s not natural for me. I have no problem talking to someone live. Although I definitely have a preferences in a sales situation dealing with a car dealership, you know, it’s still, it’s still not easy.

but I, I. I think it’s amazing how real relationships are to young people that are happening. virtually, I’m sure you all have experiences with kids playing video games with other kids they’ve never met, but they consider true friends, which is. Amazing and it’s, it’s an ability that I don’t think we have, gen X certainly doesn’t have it that naturally, if we haven’t met in person, it’s hard to get close to someone. [00:44:00]

13 year old and 18 year old has no problem considering someone, a best friend. despite just a virtual existence. And I wonder what. Capabilities that will enable in them. I wonder what to capacity to engage that will enable them, although you’re absolutely right. At what cost? At what costs in dealing with our Jeff.

Matt: Yeah, for sure. Okay, so. We’ve been talking about some, the whole AI thing is as a whole and what kind of impact that has even down to, you know, at S at R on a society level. and we’ve also discovered that I’m weird too. We 

Mollie: discovered that we already knew 

Matt: that. Well, today was a self-reflecting point for me.

I discovered it for the first time today. Okay. So. From in the homebuilder arena on, on you. Cause you mentioned you really focus in on two main aspects, of, of chat and so that’s going to be text messaging [00:45:00] and website chatbots and. Do you see any, either a preference from the consumer? and I guess that preference would then lead into the actual results, meaning, you know, higher response rate, higher customer satisfaction, higher, better experience, you know, whatever.

And so on and so on. Where do, what do you see that you, where you find the most success, or I should say homeowners find the biggest success. 

Bassam: You know? Great. Great question though, Matt. So the way we think about it is we have offerings that focus on marketing. We’ll talk about that in a second.

We call that marketing RTX marketing RTX is all about attracting and capturing leads. That is after all what marketers are trying to do. Then sales RTX, which is targeting sales, sales, VP sales people. It’s about conversion. How do we convert more efficiently, effectively, and delighting the customer, [00:46:00] engaging them the way they want to be engaged?

And then finally service RTX once we have a contract, how do we service that customer. Provide an experience for them through the build, during move in and post move and during warranty. That’s really compelling. So we actually think about the stage in the journey from the company’s perspective.

Obviously the consumer has it from the counter view of that, but from the company’s perspective, marketing that sales and service. And then the channels fall out of that. So whether it’s text, Facebook messenger, or the web falls out of that. So if you’re a marketer. you could actually use, texts as an inbound channel to generate more leads.

So imagine having a sign that says, you interested in our community that’s coming up in the next month. Text your name here to get on our VIP list and have a quick chat bot that can engage you, answer a few quick [00:47:00] questions about this upcoming developments. That’s a great experience. from a, from an inbound text perspective.

The most common is what you refer to as our web chat. A product. Because marketers spend a lot of time and money working with, with great agencies like yours, generating traffic to their website. how can they now engage that traffic traffic that may prefer an alternative to the form. Well, what if you could have a, an automated life chat that could engage you at two in the morning and answer a few common questions and then capture you as a lead, capture your information for the questions that the bot couldn’t answer.

And then the next morning when the human comes in, they are handed that lead with the questions and the human can now engage you. Obviously it would be through some other channel at that point, whether it’s text or otherwise, because you’ve moved [00:48:00] on. So I’m trying to sort of show you scenarios for how marketing app can use both texts and web.

I won’t belabor sales and service only. I’ll just do this and give you an example of a sales use case because it’s one that we have really successfully deployed and really help clients with. And that is at post model home visits. Managing followup is really difficult for salespeople and that you’re trying to do outbound follow up.

you certainly can’t use an inbound channel like web. The only channel that is outbound. Is SMS. The only way to engage a customer who came, met with you, registered and has now left, is to do an outbound text to them. You can certainly try a phone call, but phone answer rates are now well under 5% no one’s going to answer that phone.

So an outbound text. and this is again, to be clear, not [00:49:00] unsolicited. This is a customer who just saw you a couple of hours earlier and you’re now texting them. as a brand to follow up on your visit and gauge your, your perception of the model home and your level of interest and so on.

And only if you’re interested, does the bot then engage the human, pull them in. And, and allow the, the human salesperson to not have to spend their day making outbound phone calls, leaving 14 voicemails, not, you know, getting ghosted all day. They’re able to leverage the automation to facilitate that followup process.

so I’ll stop there because I don’t want to. Describe the whole process, but hopefully that gives you an idea of some inbounds use cases outbound. 

Mollie: I love that you said ghosted. That’s

Bassam: amazing. They’ve taught me well, 

Mollie: I love it. You know the part to me that I think is most, Interesting is that you haven’t taken the human out of the equation with, you know, in fact, you’ve [00:50:00] actually, you show so much respect for the role of the human in the entire experience. And I think for a lot of people in the housing industry, that has probably been a part of the slower adoption.

And I, I do believe that you are completely right that. Within the next 12 months, everyone is going to be endorsing this as standard and as a major part of the experience and the customer relationship. So, I learned a lot and I have to tell you, you explain it in a way that makes people who aren’t quite as tech savvy understand it.

And I think, I think our listeners are gonna learn a lot. So thank you so much. 

Bassam: I really appreciate it. Yeah. 

Mollie: You know, I do think it’s important that people know how to reach out to you. So why don’t you go ahead and share how they can get in touch with you. 

Bassam: well, on, on the internet, we are Atlas RTX, a T L a S R T X Atlas RTX.

So Atlas rtx.com and [00:51:00] Atlas RTX on most social media presence. and then my name is best Sam B. A S S. a. M. Salem as in Salem, Massachusetts, and I too am out on most, most of social media outlets. 

Matt: And you’re, you’re speaking, you have a session at IBS this year too, right? 

Bassam: Yes. It’s my second year at IBS.

I, I have to admit, four years ago when I started the business, I never thought I would be speaking. Home-building conference in Vegas two years in a row. but now, I, I can’t tell you how amazed I have been at how small this very large industry is. I, I, our company, we’re in the heart of it.

We love this industry. We love folks like you who are pillars in this industry. It’s, it’s just, it’s been a great, a great place to start, and we’ve, we’ve really thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. 

Matt: Yeah, I would highly recommend, I [00:52:00] w I would gather to believe that a good 95% of our listeners will be at IBS this year.

So if you’re listening, definitely check out, the Sam’s talk at IVs, look it up on the IBS website. Make sure you put it in your calendar. It’s, it’s always, A entertaining, an educational, but it, it, it really is. Like I could go, I could go on and on for like another hour talking about this stuff.

Cause I do find it so fascinating. And how. We are, we’re already just working with this stuff day to day. We don’t even actually realize what it is that we’re doing and how we’re communicating. And you bringing that to our industry, which is always like a decade behind. you know, and you’ve done that in, four short year period is nothing short of amazing sale.

Bassam: So thank you so much. 

Matt: And so anyway, I would highly recommend that you check the Sam out. You check [00:53:00] out, Atlas RTX on their website. They’ve really got some amazing stuff going on. Check out the Sam’s talk at IBS and it bare minimum. Look him up on Instagram and Facebook to check out a scarf game.

Bassam: And if you are there, Matt Mollie, on January 21st in Vegas, I will wear a special scarf just for you. 

Mollie: Okay. Your overall fashion sense, to be 

Matt: honest, I totally 

Bassam: am. Matt has great hair, so he doesn’t need to dress up. 

Matt: That’s all right. That’s all right. All right, well thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

We cannot wait to see you in Vegas and we can’t wait to have episode two with you on our podcast. 

Bassam: Looking forward to it. Thank you again. 

Matt: Take care. Thanks guys.  

Bassam: right, and


[00:54:00] Matt: going to do it for us this week. Thank you guys so much for joining us on another episode of building perspective, just make sure you join in on the conversation on our Facebook group building perspective. Maybe we can get a picture of the Sam and his scarf game and put that in the group.

And you guys can tell the Sam how great he looks in a scarfs. His the man of many scarfs instead of the man of many faces is the man and scarfs and AI. So all good. So thank you guys so much and we look forward to. Chatting with you next week. 

Mollie: It’s been fun building perspective together 

Matt: and 

Bassam: we’ll

talk with you soon. Bye. Bye.

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