WGAN-TV Transcript: Intro to REMARK.re Instant Booking Service for RE Pros18600
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|WGAN-TV | Introduction to www.REMARK.re Traffic-Aware Instant Booking Service for Real Estate Photographers | Guest: Remark Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson | www.REMARK.re | Thursday, 27 April 2023 | Episode: 187 | WGAN Forum Member Name: @_AG
REMARK | www.REMARK.re
REMARK | www.REMARK.re
Video: Traffic Aware Instant Booking [New Tool] | video courtesy of Alex Gustafson YouTube Channel | 25 October 2022
WGAN-TV Transcript | Introduction to REMARK.re Traffic-Aware Instant Booking Service for Real Estate Photographers
[Transcript below ...]
In this WGAN-TV Live at 5 show today (27 April 2023 | recording above), Alex shows how the REMARK.re traffic aware instant booking platform may help you:
▶ book more real estate photo shoots per day, week and month
▶ get paid for your travel time (more $$$ that mileage during rush hour)
▶ provide real estate agents incentives for booking appointments that optimize your time/location
▶ be more efficient (so that you can focus on shooting rather than coordinating)
▶ get paid faster
▶ deliver all your digital assets more efficiently
▶ be green
Alex does show and tell for the front-end (what the real estate agent sees) and the back-end (what you see).
Plus, Alex talks about what's coming soon, including a scheduling chatbot powered by ChatGPT based on all the content that you have entered into the REMARK.re platform.
It's free to get started with REMARK.re ...
How do you easily, quickly and efficiently enable your clients book your services instantly?
Find out on Thursday, 27 April 2023 on WGAN-TV Live at 5:
▶ WGAN-TV | Introduction to REMARK.re Traffic-Aware Instant Booking Service for Real Estate Photographers
My guest will be Remark Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson (@_AG).
▶ Boosting Revenue with Remark
▶ Traffic-Aware Scheduling Efficiency
▶ Streamlined Calendar Integration
▶ Capture More Clients: Same-Day Bookings
▶ Adaptable Service Times & Pricing
▶ Maximize Earnings: Travel Fee Strategy
▶ Founder's Story: Overcoming Struggles
▶ Existing scheduling tools aren't for people who drive. Remark.re changes this by padding your
appointments with real future drive time estimates.
▶ Our patent pending traffic aware booking tool is made for real estate photographers by real estate photographers. Customers only see availability if you have time to make the drive to and from their location.
Questions that I should ask Alex on WGAN-TV Live at 5?
▶ Website: Remark
▶ WGAN Forum Member Name: @_AG
▶ LinkedIn: REMARK Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson
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|WGAN-TV | Introduction to www.REMARK.re Traffic-Aware Instant Booking Service for Real Estate Photographers | Guest: Remark Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson | www.REMARK.re | Thursday, 27 April 2023 | Episode: 187 | WGAN Forum Member Name: @_AG
Dan Smigrod: Hi all. I'm Dan Smigrod, Founder of the (www.WeGetAroundNetworkForum.com). Today is Thursday, April 27, 2023, and you're watching WGAN-TV Live at 5.
We have a REMARK-able show for you today: Intro to REMARK.re Traffic Aware Instant Booking Service for Real Estate Photographers. Our subject matter expert today is REMARK Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson. [www.WGAN.INFO/REMARK]
Alex Gustafson: [www.WGAN.INFO/REMARK]
Dan Smigrod: [www.WGAN.INFO/REMARK]
Alex Gustafson: There you go! That's the first time I think I've heard you flub my last name.
Dan Smigrod: I've known you for a million years, you'd think I'd get it right. Alex, good to see you. Thanks for being on the show today.
Alex Gustafson: You too. Thanks, Dan, for having me.
Dan Smigrod: Alex, before we jump into a deep-dive demo of the front-end and back-end of REMARK.re, I think your stories about you and about your company are hugely helpful for understanding today's topic about the REMARK.re traffic aware instant booking service.
What inspired it? Where did it come from? What problems were you trying to solve? How about taking us through your story?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, absolutely. I started the company in 2012, shooting real estate video; photos; we quickly went into Matterport. We were building our own drones to compete with helicopter companies -- at the time -- because all you could really buy off the shelf was a DJI with a GoPro fisheye lens on it.
We wanted to compete at a higher level and we started building drones. It was an exciting time and that's around when Matterport came out and things took off. We ended up having to hire different providers to help out with the demand.
I was working nonstop and shooting all day from 7 am to sunset, essentially, and then editing until 2-3 am. It wasn't like it is now where it's easy to find photo editors. I had a bunch of college kids at the time that were turning over very quickly trying to help with photo editing. Typically it fell on my shoulders.
It was definitely early days for the real estate photography business. One of the biggest pain points for us was while you're in that creative mindset, or at least for me, it's very hard to suddenly snap out of it and then be answering emails or doing logistics and operations, and you always had to be doing that to make sure you weren't missing new customers or not responding fast enough to somebody trying to download their files.
We really took a hard look at how we could automate our dispatching because that was the biggest pain point for us. Living around Boston and servicing that area where some of the worst traffic in the world -- maybe next to Atlanta -- none of the off the shelf options would work with fixed padding on either side of photo shoots, things like that.
Even if you account for enough padding, there are always the cases where there would be way too much and then your schedule is inefficient, things like that.
We took a hard look at how we could develop something to fix that, and we ended up coming up with an algorithm that essentially scans your calendar into the future and does all of the routings, so it knows with each appointment it shows to a customer that you'll actually, as the service provider, have enough time to drive from wherever you're going to be, provide the service, and then get to wherever you need to go after that.
That was a major breakthrough. But there were some complications there because even if the drive-time is really long, you're showing them the appointments. Same as the drive-times where you're already going to be in the area on a different day.
Why would the agent be incentivized to pick the one where you're not going to drive as long. We decided to create the travel fees based on drive-time: our forecasted drive-time.
What that did essentially is it made appointments around rush hour more expensive. Let's say maybe you were doing a reverse commute or if the place was over a certain threshold, and that just was a game changer for us because it aligned our pain points.
Our pain point is we don't want to drive too far or sit in traffic because that's time we could have spent shooting, making money, and their pain point is they don't want to spend extra on a time slot.
If they really do need to, then you're happy because, hey, I just made an extra $10 or $20 or whatever your travel fee was to make that drive.
That was a big breakthrough for us and we have built the REMARK.re platform around it to solve that pain point for any service providers that travel and provide a service based on the size of the property.
Dan Smigrod: Thank you. Let me ask you a clarifying question about the travel fee. Because I want to say most photographers probably think in terms of a mileage fee.
I'm just thinking a little bit easier for me to think of the Atlanta area (Brookhaven). Let's say Brookhaven to downtown Atlanta. I could probably do that drive in 22 minutes at 11 pm. If I did that drive at 5 pm, it might be an hour and 20 minutes.
It's the same exact mileage, but this is a huge difference in time. Just to make sure that I understand here.
So instead of charging the 12 miles times a mileage rate, you're taking into account how much the photographer wants to charge for their time knowing that time of day could mean the difference of an hour-and-a-half to/from drive or a 20 minute to/from drive.
Alex Gustafson: Yes.
Dan Smigrod: Now you're charging for that pain point, and two things that are going to happen. Either the photographer is going to be happy because they're getting paid to sit in traffic at the rate of which they want.
Or, the real estate agent is going to book the time and day where it is the least expensive for the identical miles. Because the photographer is either going to be in that area or the traffic is predicted to be the lightest in that area. Is that a summary of that breakthrough pricing that you've done in your algorithm?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, that's exactly what it is. We find that on average the real estate photographers who do implement this fee -- I mean, it can be small and it should probably be small. Just enough to give them a little nudge.
The ones that do implement this fee on average make about $11. 50 more per booking. I would say most don't have a fee.
So it seems that agents will just book the time with the fee if their stellar needs, 9 am -- at rush hour -- for you to come into the city and so you might get extra -- You set a threshold for the minimum and then how much minimum you will travel for free and then how much per minute above and beyond that, you'll travel.
Dan Smigrod: Are there additional pain points that you experienced as your real estate photography agency grew and you had multiple people?
Rather than just being yourself that all of a sudden that created other problems or challenges and therefore that was to help motivate building-out REMARK.re
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, I mean there are unlimited challenges and there's still challenges today that we're solving. I think the biggest ones were mostly related to content management, delivery and invoicing.
I remember Sunday nights were my nights to sit down and do all my invoices because it was the only time of the week where my phone wasn't ringing and I would just sit there and catch up on invoices.
I hated Sundays. We automated that process and then we had people who would download the pictures and we never heard from them again. Luckily, I think most people are generally good. That only happened a couple of times, but that was something we integrated too was paywalls.
It wasn't necessarily even to protect ourselves from people who were knowingly wronging us by just not paying and using the pictures. It was more to speed up the payments. We're a lot more liquid at that point, and thus if we were hitting into a spring market and things were really ripping in terms of listings, we would have money in two days after the appointment. Instead of before we'd be waiting, a month, two months sometimes for people to pay. This is a big change for us as well.
Dan Smigrod: Awesome. I want to talk more about all the benefits -- and I think it really comes down to probably three things: 1) it's about using REMARK.re resulting in increasing revenue, 2) reducing pain for the real estate agent, and 3) reducing pain for the real estate photographer and the real estate photography agency (if there's more than one photographer).
But before we do a little bit deeper dive into that, I think it might be helpful to actually get a demo of the front-end of REMARK.re and then take us into the back-end. Can you do that, and then we'll talk more about how what we're looking at actually matters in terms of helping increase revenue for the photographer, for example?
Alex Gustafson: Sure.
Dan Smigrod: Yeah. While Alex is getting his screen setup. You can visit the website www.REMARK.re In the We Get Around Network Forum (www.WGANForum.com) Alex's member name is: @_ AG Share your screen please?
Alex Gustafson: All right. What perspective do you want to have first?
Dan Smigrod: I would like to see this from the real estate agent's perspective first. So I'm a real estate agent. I have a listing. I'm ready to book photos, video, Matterport, aerial, floor plans, and painted rocks. I'm ready to place my order.
Alex Gustafson: Rock painting, coming right up, do you see this?
Dan Smigrod: Yeah, I see, create a new account?
Alex Gustafson: I'm not going to register. So a big thing that we find important is that your customers, as a service provider, shouldn't have to register in the sense that they put in a username and password, it should be as simple, without sacrificing security, as possible.
Dan Smigrod: Sounds great for the next 10 minutes, I'm a real estate agent. I'm ready to book my photo shoot with you and I'm a previous client, but let's take it as, "I'm ready to place my order."
Alex Gustafson: I actually picked the logged in one, but that's fine, I'll just do this.
Alex Gustafson: I think there are two sides of this obviously, and the first thing I'll show is just the booking experience, as a real estate agent. I will have the other window open just so I can make sure I know where this photographer is.
This is a photographer named Andy Brinker. I don't know if anyone's seen the Disney movie Brink, but I'm digging deep for fake names over here, so it's a '90s movie about a Rollerblader. Andy Brinker is now a real estate photographer, and here are his services, and you can see that he's got all these different videos embedded directly in line.
Dan Smigrod: Time-out Alex. Please just focus on me. I'm a real estate agent. I only got 10 minutes for you, so tell me how to book.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, I know this is what you'd be doing. So you're on here, and you're curious about what services Andy offers, and if he has examples of each service, and so you can flip through each gallery belonging to a service. It will tell you as soon as you enter the property information, so let's just say 704 Bay Road, Duxbury.
Alex Gustafson: Once you put in the property details, this requires the square footage and the address. Some people require listing price for some of their services, and if so, that would be a third input on the property info tab.
There'll be another one here for the listing price. Once you put in all of those dependencies, the customer will see the price.
Dan Smigrod: Alex, let me stop you, I'm your customer so talk to me please. I want all of his services.
So let's give me an overview, please, so I can obviously see, and just double-check which services and get an idea of the caliber of the work, and then I want to add to my cart, and I want to schedule and pay.
Alex Gustafson: You got it Dan, so Dan's booking over here. Dan is the agent. He lives in Massachusetts. We are trying to get just photos and floor plans. So we're going to put that in our cart: $200.
This is a test account, so we don't want to spend $20,000 on drone photos. We'll save that for a different year, and then next week, Wednesday looks good for our schedule. We'll check that today for availability, and while that's happening, I'm actually going to pull up the calendar, so you'll see right here.
Andy's location, he's a photographer in Boston, and you don't necessarily need to know that as, Dan, the agent, but you do know, well, if I book this appointment, for some reason, these are cheaper, so why wouldn't I just book this one?
Save almost 10% by booking 9:30 am, let's go for that. That's a big update we've made recently.
His flipping it, so it's no longer showing you the fee, but it's showing the discount that you'll receive by picking the more efficient time, and I did with this test account wildly set the travel fees just to make that comparison, but the concept's still the same, so here I'm going to do Dan, Test, and do.
Alex Gustafson: Then you've got the cancellation policy and everything here too, so since the last time we've talked, providers are now allowed to put in their paywall if they need to, and so depending on the service provider's preferences, you might have to put in your payment details before booking, so no problem, it's an easy form to fill everything out.
Alex Gustafson: You can even save your ID here, so you're just authenticated by phone, and next time you come to book a service, it's easily pulled up right there.
Dan Smigrod: I know you're in test mode, but let's say I went, and paid, could I now add additional services or I really needed to do that before I scheduled and booked?
Alex Gustafson: There is a way that you can do that, it's not enabled on this account, but there's a more streamline "add services" area on the booking itself.
Dan Smigrod: If you wouldn't mind, Alex, could we please go back to the front page that offered all the services, I just would really like to check out his different services, I believe that if we went under that -- We can actually play a video. We can take a look at floor plan examples. We can take a look at some photos.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. Yes. So there's no limit for REMARK.re Pro subscribers on how many you can put on here.
Dan Smigrod: I'm a photographer, stay with me. Excuse me, I'm a real estate agent. Stay with me. I'm only an agent. I don't want to hear about your photographer.
Alex Gustafson: As an agent, you're going to love adaptive streaming. You're not even going to know that it's doing it, but it's a very smooth playback and you can browse right in line here.
Or you can click on the corner to expand it and then you can view the home, add the service, if you want. This is me starting over from scratch.
Dan Smigrod: Would I always -- after I add the first service, put in the address information or do I load up my shopping cart and then go put in the address?
Alex Gustafson: If you hit "Add to Cart" and you don't have an address and yet it will ask you to put one in. That just makes sure that you're getting a quote each time you put something in your cart, so it's not a surprise.
Dan Smigrod: Okay, got you. Once I put in the address to schedule, let's say photos and floor plan, then it'll come back and ask, "would I like some additional services?"
Alex Gustafson: Yes. You bumped right back to this stage and you can keep putting things in your cart.
Let's say we want photos and video on this one. Is that good? Is that all you want on this page, Dan?
Dan Smigrod: Well, I think there were two things here that if I understood correctly, if I clicked on photos, I could see some more examples of his work and there might be some text that goes with that to explain his services.
Maybe he shoots HDR and he has some explanation that he does that. That's true on each of those different services.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah.
Dan Smigrod: Okay, so there's a description. You put it in a limited description, but the photographer could tell me more about their photography services.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. This is not an advisable description. It's better to be verbose in how you explain all the specs for each service.
Dan Smigrod: The good news is you're very busy, so you haven't taken the time to build out your demo for me. ;-)
And I noticed if we go back -- Close out that we go back to the page, I noticed it's gray on both sides, so I'm presuming that this is a demo account and had this been a real account, that this would have been embedded in the photographer's page as a widget.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly.
Dan Smigrod: Okay, great. I may have messed you up here, but when you placed the original order, you got to a landing page that looked like it was shareable?
Alex Gustafson: Exactly, yeah. We've got a landing page here and it allows the agent to share this link. Anybody that has this link -- here -- will be able to share it with anyone. They won't need to log in. It's a secure URL.
Dan Smigrod: Okay, so I'm a real estate agent, I can share that link with anyone. When I completed my order, did I get an email? Did I get a text message to confirm?
Alex Gustafson: You did. Who is lucky enough to have [DanSmigrod@WGAN-TV. com] got an email.
Dan Smigrod: That's a non-working email address. But if anyone wants to actually email me: DanSmigrod@WGAN-TV. com
Dan Smigrod: So had that been a real email address in your demo account, I would have received an email and a text to alert me to that shoot.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. As a booker or customer of Andy's Photography, you'll receive a confirmation email, a confirmation text message, a calendar invite, and it'll go on your calendar, if you accept the invite.
And then 24 hours before the appointment, you'll also get a reminder for the appointment.
Dan Smigrod: Okay. And then if Andy has multiple photographers, was I actually selecting a particular photographer? And, therefore all that info is in the email to me or in the manage booking link?
Alex Gustafson: This is a one-to-one right now. So if you were booking Andy specifically, there are ways that we've had customers -- Well, I'm talking to the real estate agent version of you, so you didn't need to pick a photographer because you're already on [made-up website].
Dan Smigrod: Yes, but Andy might have had --
Alex Gustafson: He's a one-man shop.
Dan Smigrod: Okay. But if Andy had a second shooter, is it presenting me with everything separately or is it just under one brand? The times and days are presented and then when I get my confirmation, it tells me who the photographer is going to show up.
Alex Gustafson: We have some people who are building more of a marketplace style where they get to pick photographers. We've got people who are building where it does almost a round-robin approach.
We've also got companies using us that have, let's say, 50 different service providers. They have a dispatching team and they're manually doing it and we have a dashboard for those dispatchers to still manually do it but with the aid of all of our algorithms and everything.
Dan Smigrod: Excuse me, Alex, before we jump into the back-end demo of REMARK.re, was there anything else that you wanted to show me as the real estate agent?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, here you've got more access. Here's the copy link button, actually, appointment notes.
Then we've got cancel down here, which if you do cancel this since it is a shareable URL, the one thing we do is we send the booker, the email link so that they actually have to have access to that email in order to be able to cancel the appointment.
Then down here is where the provider will be able to deliver media at the end. I do have an example of that that I can show you.
Dan Smigrod: Yeah, that would be great. Again, I'm still the real estate agent, the shoot has been completed. I'm ready to get my order. What happens next?
Alex Gustafson: Okay, so here's an example of when photos have been uploaded.
I believe this provider is set to charge immediately or the invoice is charged already. So you might see this in a different state where it could have a watermark over the middle.
But in this case, these photos are already paid for, so you can browse through them. Now you can actually download them one by one. Either PDF, large, which has original resolution, medium resolution, or small.
Dan Smigrod: Okay, so since I paid for this shoot in advance, I don't see any watermarks.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly, yeah.
Dan Smigrod: And I can hit download all and pick what format that I want, or multiple formats.
Alex Gustafson: You pick the format and so that's obviously great for you as the agent. Everything's there, it's easy. You don't have to download all the original ones if you don't need them yet.
Dan Smigrod: Alex, but I placed my order, I also ordered video, Matterport, floor plans, aerial. Am I getting everything on this one page?
Alex Gustafson: Yes. Everything comes up on this one page.
Dan Smigrod: Whatever I ordered, it's all delivered as one page, and then I can download or grab the links in the case of Matterport, for example.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. Yeah.
Dan Smigrod: Great. I just want to ask you one more question before we move on to the back-end demo.
There's a cancel button, I imagine there's a reason that you've done that, because most photographers may actually not want to make it as easy as you did, but I'm guessing there's a story there. You got a story to tell me about making it easy for people to cancel.
Alex Gustafson: Did you just end my screen-sharing?
Dan Smigrod: I did.
Alex Gustafson: Okay.
Alex Gustafson: We did it and we found it didn't really impact our cancellations. It just made it easier for people to move things around.
We did make sure that our cancellation policy was more clearly stated on the Booking page before they booked so we didn't feel as bad about charging cancellation fees and I would recommend to anybody to stick to your guns about charging the cancellation fees when you've clearly been canceled on and it wasn't really due to a real event.
Because people, I think respect you for it and it makes your business run more efficiently to charge those fees.
Dan Smigrod: Let's switch to the back-end demo. I have just signed up for REMARK.re. Now what?
Alex Gustafson: Now that you've signed up, welcome and I am going to show you a different side of this dashboard. Let me make sure.
Dan Smigrod: Again, you can check this out at REMARK.re and in the [www.WeGetAroundNetworkForum.com], Alex's member name is: @_AG and you can go ahead and share your screen, that'd be great. Alex.
Alex Gustafson: Just making sure I'm logged into the right user.
Alex Gustafson: Sharing, where are my controllers?
Dan Smigrod: Green button at the bottom.
Alex Gustafson: How is that?
Dan Smigrod: Good.
Alex Gustafson: We're live, right?
Dan Smigrod: Yes.
Alex Gustafson: Here what you see is just the standard page. You've already done the onboarding so I skip that because it's hard for me to do it twice.
Dan Smigrod: I'm presuming that once I've set up my account and I've linked to my Google Calendar, presumably, you're pre-populating examples of basic video, photos, aerial, Matterport, photos, floor plan, etc. Just as a starting point so that I don't have to click on the new service and begin from scratch.
Alex Gustafson: You won't start by default with these videos already in here. It would just be a nice little thumbnail that's just a solid background with the text over it. But as soon as you upload your first picture or video, that's the first thing that shows up on the service.
Dan Smigrod: For clarification, I'm in control of the thumbnails that show off my photography service, my video, my aerial, my photos, my Matterport 3D tours.
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. That's why you start from a comfortable state where we basically populate everything except for the media so that there's no confusion there and once you have those setup, by default, it's going to set up, I think video, photos, Matterport and I think iGUIDE, actually, as well.
Maybe a couple of others and you can disable them. It's more to just help you see a template instead of starting completely from scratch and so let's say we want to edit video as a service.
We can hop in here and this is where you can really build out the service description and then once you get through that, you can build out the duration that each appointment takes.
Let's say for this particular service, it takes you 20 minutes, no matter how big the places to get there, set up your equipment and take a walk through of the house and just make sure everything's good for video. Because even if you've already done photos, sometimes just switching to video --
Dan Smigrod: I got to open and close my case; switch-out lenses, set up my tripod. I always have set up time, so that's great.
Alex Gustafson: Then from there, you take the square footage of the property and you multiply it by however many minutes, so every thousand square feet equals 10 more minutes.
If you have a 2,000 square foot place, the service would take 40 minutes, approximately, and then right here you've got the service turnaround time that shows for the customer on the booking page and it also will be factored into our AI chatbot later (when that's coming out).
Here, we've got the gallery that you're able to add in different types of media. Obviously, photos, video, whatever you want to put in there.
If you want to add an embed code, click the three little dots in the top right corner and you can just type in the embed code details here, or just paste in the actual code from the iFrame code from wherever Matterport.
Dan Smigrod: Maybe we could look at the Matterport example so that we can see how you've done that.
Alex Gustafson: Let's go over there.
Alex Gustafson: Here you've got -- it's pretty simple. It's the same as video. You can drag and drop by grabbing that little thing in the corner.
Dan Smigrod: Could you open the gallery? Because I'm expecting to see that I'm either adding a Matterport URL or I'm adding Matterport embed code?
Alex Gustafson: These have already been added. I can find a different Matterport URL, if you want.
Dan Smigrod: Maybe if you just open it and we could see what it looks like opened? Does that work?
Alex Gustafson: I don't think it actually pops out at this stage.
Dan Smigrod: Got it. If we were adding a new Matterport 3D tour, I would have the option of either adding it via a Matterport link or adding it via Matterport embed code. Does that sound right?
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. Yeah.
Dan Smigrod: Since that's the case, that sounds like whether I'm using Matterport, iGUIDE, or one of many other 3D or 360 tour services; totally works -- it's not limited to Matterport.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. It can be anything. Any webpage that you want to embed in there. Yeah.
Dan Smigrod: Great. Is there something different regarding the back-end when it comes to photos, video, floor plans, drone, drone photos, drone aerial, twilight? Is there anything else that's a little bit different?
Alex Gustafson: No, it's all just whatever services you do. Even if you're a house cleaner or an appraiser or a mobile dog groomer, you can use this to dispatch yourself in the future, and set up services here.
Dan Smigrod: At the top of the show, you talked about charging by wait time -- essentially going to/from -- where is that put in?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. The wait time, if you go into your profile over here, you'll see that you've got travel and location as options.
We actually have some exciting announcements about this feature too, because I think we've probably got one of the best algorithms, if not the best, for instant booking of traveling service providers and easy format.
But we're very, very focused on that one aspect, and will be forever as REMARK.re -- just because we think minimizing the downtime in the waste in your schedule and maximizing your efficiency are our main goals when it comes to making this easier for you and your customers.
Dan Smigrod: In fact, as I'm looking at this, I think part of the spin for the customer is, "we are trying to be 'green' and efficient by reducing our carbon footprint and the number of miles that we drive to do our shoots every day. That's why you see that you get to save some money by helping us be efficient and save the planet."
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. Yeah.
Dan Smigrod: I see travel time, so I can try to charge, let's say, travel time. I am not sure I understand 15 minutes. Help me understand that.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, sure. There's a lot on this page and there will be more on this page very soon. We've got some things available via our API that aren't quite on this dashboard yet.
But we've seen some pretty excellent use-cases. Just to go over the ones that are here, right now, we've got the fixed travel adjustment, which is essentially a buffer. Let's say you want 10 minutes no matter what, between your appointments, and even if it's right across the street, and it's a zero minute drive-time, you want 10 minutes.
Dan Smigrod: Is that being factored into the cost as well?
Alex Gustafson: No, it's not factored into the cost. It's simply just taken into account when generating the booking time slot. It just adds it in as a downtime buffer, essentially. Then you've got the maximum distance as the crow flies that you're willing to travel.
Alex Gustafson: Seems like here's my 100 mile radius, which is pretty large. I will show up as available to anyone who searches within this radius.
Dan Smigrod: Just out of curiosity, obviously you can't drive to Nantucket from Boston or maybe I'm wrong? Is there a ferry? Are you taking into account ferry schedules?
Alex Gustafson: There is a ferry, yeah.
Dan Smigrod: I think I flew to Nantucket. Are you including ferry time?
Alex Gustafson: I think I might need to fact check that, but there's an island right off of California called Catalina.
I think I saw somebody browsing my calendar to book me in Catalina, and I was actually shocked that it worked, and I had no desire to go over there to shoot.
Dan Smigrod: Yeah. Presumably, you're checking travel times, and travel time would, presumably, let you know, the ferry is going to take this long to get there. Based on where you were, and where you're going and then where you're going next, I presume it could calculate the ferry.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. It should, and it has in the past. I think you're an island hopper.
Dan Smigrod: 'Squirrel!' ;-) I didn't mean to distract you with it.
Alex Gustafson: I have friends in the state of Washington, and the ferry is a part of their everyday commute. I'm curious if anyone uses this, and actually it was island hopping. If it works for them, I would love to hear about it.
Dan Smigrod: The maximum distance determine the circle that I'm looking at,
Dan Smigrod: determine the radius from Boston with that 100 miles as the crow flies. Great. There's the address.
Now, I'm just going to guess here that 48 Ward Street, Boston, is the default address, unless the calendar actually has where I was staying last night, or where I am this morning?
Alex Gustafson: Can you see my calendar now?
Dan Smigrod: Yes.
Alex Gustafson: I just wanted to make sure. I'm going to switch between a couple of screens. Let me just group them accordingly. The first step when you sign up, there are two, maybe three steps before the services list page. First thing you do, set up your username and password.
Second thing you do is you set up your location. It's always got a location for you. This serves as your home or office location, wherever you sleep at night or wherever you spend your mornings and nights by default.
Dan Smigrod: This is my begin and end time for all the calculations for the first appointment and last appointment?
Alex Gustafson: Exactly. Yeah. Or, for appointments where you didn't put a start/end location, it's just going to assume you're home at that time. That's also a fallback location. I would advise people to always put their location on events or approximate location if it's a shared calendar, and you don't want to show whoever you're sharing it with, where you're going to be all the time. But for the most part, this is your fallback location.
Dan Smigrod: I see payment processing in the top left there. Is that where I'm putting in my Stripe information or is it Stripe and you also tie into other payment processors?
Alex Gustafson: It's Stripe. But before we get to that, I just have a couple more things I wanted to mention about this. In the coming weeks, we've got a couple of big new features.
The one with regards to efficiency is we've built a proprietary algorithm that will create what we call snappiness rating. A lower snappiness rating means it's more likely to be right after an appointment or butting up against another appointment.
That way you're not getting these appointments where there's 40 minutes in-between them and you're just right across the street and you're just sitting there. You could have taken a whole other appointment.
It really makes it so it can maximize your day. These variables are already available through our API. But then we've also got one coming called a weighted efficiency score. That will even further take that stuff up a notch to where you can customize things like, how much time?
Do I want to do maximum versus the shorter travel leg of a proposed appointment? In downtimes, you've got downtime to and from. There's a lot of thought that goes into --
Dan Smigrod: Let me see if I understand that. I have a booking that ends at 11 am. My next booking is at 3 pm. And REMARK.re is trying to book the appointments as close to my finish at 11 am.
Or, as close to taking into account how long it's going to shoot, it is close to my 3 pm. Rather than having something shot at 1 pm. And creating this ginormous gap in my morning schedule and my afternoon schedule. Sorta?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, exactly. That example is a little tight. If you're starting at 11 am let's say it's an hour, you're going to end at noon. It obviously depends on how long this proposed deployment is, what we refer to a lot. It depends how long that is, but let's just, for example, just say your day is wide open. It's not going to prioritize this highly the appointments at noon as it would the 9 am appointment.
Dan Smigrod: Is it all done through that saving mechanism so it looks nice from the real estate agent?
They'll save the most money for that address if they book essentially immediately after I'm done with my other shoot, or immediately before my end-of-day shoot. I don't end up having a schedule that looks like, I have one at 8 am, one at noon and one at 5 pm.
That's the worst-case scenario, and I got all this downtime in the wrong place. The real estate agent might have been motivated, who booked the noon or 1 pm through savings to be booking at close to that morning appointment or close to that evening appointment?
Alex Gustafson: Yes. I think I follow, and that's the gist of it. There are few different ways that we can handle it. They could be sorted in the list based on their snappiness rating or their weighted efficiency score that you set up.
There's another one where you could filter them if they're above a certain point.
Simply you just don't even show appointments with more than 30 minutes of downtime, let's say. That makes it so you're always showing the appointment, where you're going to be in the area and you're going to be just finishing or just about to go to another shoot.
Dan Smigrod: Was this a problem you were trying to solve? Because in Boston, you didn't want to end up on the east side going to the west side, going back to the east side, and your day was all traveling?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, definitely. You could have drive-times that were the same at 3 pm and 11 am to and from the locations, but one of them might result in you having a lot more downtime on your calendar. Through this rating system, you'll be able to prioritize that one.
Dan Smigrod: Awesome. I'm going to summarize that up as, "it's magic!"
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, it's snappiness.
Dan Smigrod: Snappiness. Cool. The bigger picture level, you've taken us through the front-end demo, a back-end demo. I want to understand, how is using REMARK.re going to help me make more money?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. I mean, there are a lot of ways. Simply the money it puts back in your pocket if you're charging even the slightest travel fee; there's hard costs that come back to you and there's costs that you don't see.
Opportunity costs that you don't miss out on getting an appointment in the middle of your day or right dead smack in between two appointments that result in two hours of downtime. All of these things, the hard costs are, on average, the providers who have been using the travel fees.
We've gone back over several months and we see that they're making about $160 a month in these travel fees. They more than pay for the cost of the Pro subscription for REMARK.re.
Dan Smigrod: I'm thinking that the most money, the biggest opportunity is getting more shoots per day. Being able to do that. Is that the case?
Alex Gustafson: Exactly.
Dan Smigrod: Efficient with all the things that you've described that REMARK.re provides that instead of doing two shoots a day, I'm doing three. Instead of doing three shoots a day, I'm doing four. Instead of doing four shoots a day, I'm doing six.
Instead of doing four shoots a day, somehow I managed to get in eight because of all this snappiness and how things were working. You've been doing this for a while. Is the experience that those REMARK.re customers are reporting, "hey, I'm getting more shoots in than I was before." However I did it whether I was manually or accepting text messages or emails or smoke signals. It's just way more efficient, and "I'm getting more shoots."
Alex Gustafson: Yeah and you're getting more sleep too. You're not always worried. But yeah, you're able to stack them closer together, especially when we come out with this updated algorithm. You are able to do that in a way that allows you to get more bookings faster.
Your customers aren't waiting to hear back from you, and then when you get back to them, they have to ask their sellers. It's just the agent with their seller. They go back and forth on your calendar, figure out a time without going through you or your customer support person.
There's anywhere from four to five parties involved in standard booking where you've got the customer, the agent, the provider, and in between them you might have a dispatcher, and there's a lot of disconnect there. This cuts everything out and just brings up between two parties.
Dan Smigrod: I can see the real estate agent open up his or her laptop in front of the client and saying, "let's pick a time," and literally book it on the spot with the client, not necessarily showing them what the cost is or anything else and just says, "hey, we have a photographer available at 9:30 am on Tuesday. Does that work for you?"
Just finished the booking! Done and the real estate agent saw that they were saving eight percent.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, exactly.
Dan Smigrod: How about same-day bookings?
Alex Gustafson: Same day, they could be sitting together and say, "do you want somebody here in an hour" if they're available.
Dan Smigrod: The real estate agent could open up their laptop and see, "I could actually get this done at 2 pm." "I'm going to offer that to my client." Would 2 pm work?" That just literally calendars the appointment, sends out the notices, photographer gets the notice, the real estate agent gets the notice, everybody's happy.
Alex Gustafson: It's the same booking flow as usual. They just see same-day availability.
Dan Smigrod: I think what I was hearing when you started your photography business -- only you -- and then adding real estate photographers.
One of the challenges was, "well, I'm driving to an appointment." You couldn't possibly figure out what your schedule looks like, whether you can accommodate that request.
Now, literally you can say, "go to my website and book a time and day." Then while you're driving, you're getting an alert that essentially says, "an appointment has been added this afternoon." That sounds good.
Alex Gustafson: We joke because a lot of the people that use it, we have to mute that text thread from the booking line, especially when it gets really busy. That's a good feeling. When you start to get annoyed by the booking text, then you're doing okay.
Dan Smigrod: You're doing okay. How important has this travel fee, not mileage, but travel fee mattered? It sounds like every photographer that is a client of REMARK.re who is using that feature has found money for their travel time.
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. It's definitely very important.
Dan Smigrod: Perhaps also reducing their travel time while increasing their revenue.
Alex Gustafson: Yes and yes. It's a way for you to say, "okay, if I'm going to take this appointment and sit on the road for extra time, I'm going to get paid for my time sitting on the road or they booked me, I won't have to spend that time on the road."
It's a very fair way to do it, and customers do understand it was a big leap for us to make that transition and we were concerned.
Of course, you get a complaint every once in a while. But once people use it and they're like, "this is really easy, I'm glad that I can see your schedule." The retention is where you really get the most value back because those people will come to you again over somebody who doesn't have a system like REMARK.re.
Dan Smigrod: Alex, is there a question I haven't asked you that I should ask you? Is there some story to tell?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah. I mean, one of the biggest challenges is it's a booking page that you embed it in your website and you still have to tell your customers to go to your website and that can be a little bit clunky, especially if you've just in the process of making that transition to online booking, whether it's through simple email form or something like this.
When you get a new client, you still have to put them there, tell them what to do. For years, we've really been obsessed with this idea of how we can capture the customers where they are and on the channels that they want to communicate with you.
That's chat. It's talking to you whether through the phone, through text, or through Intercom, or something like that. We've spent a tremendous amount of time and effort this year building out ChatGPT-style chatbots for service providers to launch on their own. It will factor in their availability in the future.
It uses our API, essentially the exact same way our user interface does that you can embed in your site, but it will tell people when you're available. It'll collect their information. It'll create the booking. It's very friendly. It's always working. There's a lot more to that that we'll be sharing over the coming weeks leading up to a full release of it, a full production release.
Dan Smigrod: Today is Thursday, April 27, 2023. When is your chatbot service going to be available for REMARK.re powered by ChatGPT?
Alex Gustafson: We already have a handful of people already using it and we intend on releasing the second cohort of about 50 providers who've signed up for a waiting list. It should be released [week of May 1, 2023] to them.
The second cohort is full; it's150 service providers, and that will be released (May 15-19, 2023). Right now, if you signed up, we have 500 that we're filling quickly, which is just mind-blowing to us.
That will be through late May 2023, early June 2023 that you'll receive access. We are basically prioritizing those who have filled out all of their services and are a good fit. Obviously, there's a lot of variance in how a chatbot can respond.
Dan Smigrod: Excuse me. The chatbot, is it only available to paid members?
Dan Smigrod: REMARK.re is a freemium model, so there's a free tier to get started. If you're on the free tier, are you eligible for it?
Alex Gustafson: You're not eligible on the free tier. I think I'm sharing my screen right now. We've got a little bit of an Easter egg. Dan has mentioned this isn't very user-friendly, but I think it's cool for now. [www.WGAN.INFO/REMARKChatBot]
Dan Smigrod: Yes.
Alex Gustafson: Once you're on this dashboard, you have to be on the Pro plan. You can hit Tab. When you hit Tab, you'll see the example over here. Here's an example.
This is a real chat. "Hey there, what can I do for you?"
"Can you tell me about your services?"
"Absolutely, we offer a variety of services for real estate marketing."
"Help you stand out," blah, blah, blah.
"Here's our portfolio and instant booking, if you'd like to see everything at one place."
"If you have any more questions, I'm happy to help."
"What's your turnaround?"
"For photography, aerial photography, Matterport, it's 48 hours with video tours turned around within 72 hours."
"If you'd like a faster turnaround, we offer more same-day and next-day options at $89 and $39 respectively." It is just mind-blowing.
Dan Smigrod: A few things. I heard you're going to send me a link. For our viewers, I'll set up a short link for you at: www.WGAN.INFO/REMARKChatBot
Dan Smigrod: That link will be working shortly after the show. If I heard you correctly, Alex, you'll go to that link and then hit Tab, and you'll actually then end up in your chatbot page.
Correct me if I'm wrong, you can only sign up though to be on the waiting list if you are a paid [Pro] subscriber to REMARK.re.
Alex Gustafson: Correct, yeah. It is a paid feature. On the dashboard of your paid account, you hit Tab, and that's where you'll see the onboarding.
We've sent those instructions out to a handful of people who are subscribed and have good looking services and they share it with their people who signed up, and it's become a little bit more viral than we expected.
Dan Smigrod: I just have a few more minutes. I want to just double-check on the REMARK.re chatbot powered by ChatGPT, will the cost of that feature be part of the paid tier or is that an additional fee on top of that?
Alex Gustafson: That's something that we will give everybody the details to as soon as they're onboarded by cohort.
There will be a certain amount that is included that we think is great for a base level chatbot with your customers. But obviously, there are more advanced options that you can take on and are more exciting.
Dan Smigrod: Just for verification, I don't need to plug in any API to take advantage of this.
There will be some presumably where you're essentially telling chatbot powered by ChatGPT; here's the knowledge base about this photographer and services because the photographer has entered in all their pricing, all their description, their company name, everything, ChatGPT knows everything and can answer those basic questions.
Alex Gustafson: Yes, exactly, and that's why we're only accepting our (paid) Pro members who have filled their profile.
Dan Smigrod: Let's put a pause there. After you launch, you want to come back and do a show just specifically on that feature because that's super-exciting of a REMARK.re chatbot powered by ChatGPT for the purpose of scheduling, booking a photographer. Was there any other topic we hadn't discussed that you want to talk about?
Alex Gustafson: No. There are a lot more features that are going to be involved in that that we've got and we'll be rolling out probably [week of May 1, 2023] to the people on that list. I'm just excited to see what people do with it on their own. It's definitely the next phase for us, and it was a perfect solution for what we need to do. A lot more to come!
Dan Smigrod: One more question, Alex. When I look at REMARK.re, I would describe it as a traffic-aware instant booking service for service providers who want to fit more bookings into their day, and I never said photographer in that sentence.
Are there things in your mind that you're looking at, "okay, we built this out for real estate photographers, but there are a lot of different service providers and other fields that do appointments." Is that where you're headed?
Alex Gustafson: Yeah, absolutely. That's how we built the whole product. Our landing page might say a little bit about photography services and then the fact that we do populate some photography services when you sign up by default.
Those are the only things that really have anything photography related, but really anybody who needs to drive between locations in the future and provide booking to their customers, and invoicing, and all of that that comes along with it.
I mean, even support. If you provide customer support and you want to help yourself automate that with a small team, you can do that too. It's very much for hard-working service providers that want to make their businesses more efficient and make more money so "I can take vacation or not do invoices on Sunday night," things like that.
Dan Smigrod: Awesome. Alex, thanks for being my guest on this show today.
Alex Gustafson: Thanks, Dan. Thanks for having me.
Dan Smigrod: We've been visiting with REMARK Founder and CEO Alex Gustafson.
I'm Dan Smigrod, Founder of the We Get Around Network Forum and you've been watching WGAN-TV Live at 5.
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