Jerry Bauer is the CEO of Conasys, an online home care portal that stores important information about one’s home while keeping users connected with its builders.
Prior to joining Conasys, Jerry held several executive level strategy roles as well as senior finance positions with one of Egypt’s largest privately owned industrial and services conglomerates, a company with over 4,000 employees in 24 subsidiaries.
We chatted with Jerry about the Conasys platform, and how it’s changing the relationship between homebuyer and home builder.
BuzzBuzzHome: In brief, can you explain to us how the Conasys platform works?
Jerry Bauer: Our platform was designed to enhance homeowner care for new home builders and developers. What that means for the homeowner is that they have a fully-interactive portal built specifically for their home that allows instant access to a wealth of important information such as operating manuals, paint codes, warranty information, community and building amenities — and they can access this information from any online device.
So, for example, you could be at Home Depot buying some new blinds that you want to match your master bedroom. Then, using your iPhone, you navigate to the master bedroom and find the relevant paint code. Simple. It is also fully searchable, sends users an alert when they reach a warranty milestone or when recommended maintenance falls due, and even comes with a complementary printed guide for those rare offline moments.
This is a great solution for the developers, too, as it essentially takes their current homeowner and customer care programs to the next level by replacing the old, offline binder-type solutions with the latest technology and best practices. And it’s a full turn-key solution, meaning that we do all the heavy lifting so the developer can focus on what they do best, which is build great homes. Some of the other benefits for them is enhanced communication and engagement, including tools such as our comprehensive service request management system, which helps them be more efficient and cost effective.
For condo developments, we also have some great options that provide valuable information to help the property manager, and mitigate risk for the developer. One of the important aspects I should mention that pulls this all together is our upfront sales and marketing kit for their sales centers. This kit allows our clients to enjoy enhanced brand visibility, which helps with sales, repeat purchases and referrals.
BBH: Continuing relationships between builders and buyers after “key release” — is that a notion that came more from the builder or buyer?
JB: Really, it comes from both. Traditional homeowner binders or similar static solutions like CDs or USBs just aren’t used by homeowners and usually end up in a drawer somewhere collecting dust. So many of our daily tasks are completed online. We bank, we shop, we communicate with the world using digital devices so it makes sense that we should be able to connect with our home in the same manner. Our platform enables the homeowner to better understand and maintain their home. And if something does go wrong, help is a click away. From the developers’ standpoint, this enhanced communication and engagement helps them build better relationships with their homeowners.
BBH: Is the concept of online home care something that builders are embracing?
JB: Absolutely. With so much competition for homebuyers in the market today, developers are seeing our platform as a key differentiator. It’s like other industries where customer care is becoming strategic and not just a cost center — and we’re helping move our customers and the home building industry forward with our platform and expertise. Interestingly, our clients are either industry innovators themselves, or aspire to be, and are proactive when it comes to embracing this shift in the market. I would say the appeal of our platform is that it allows them to take their internal program to the next level, and maintain or enhance their reputation for excellence in homeowner care.
And the results speak for themselves. We are the leader in Canada and have been since 2006. We launched in the US in February 2013 and our platform was the cause of much excitement on both the West and East Coasts. In fact, we have already acquired several new clients with multiple projects across five states, and have quite a few more in the pipeline.
BBH: The benefit to the buyer is obvious, but what’s the incentive for developers to sign on?
JB: Echoing my earlier point, our solution allows new home builders and developers to achieve a level of homeowner care that would be very difficult and costly to achieve on their own. The benefits of using our platform can be seen across almost all facets of their business including customer care, sales and marketing, risk management, and so on. Simply put, we are an outsourced solution that alleviates headaches while simultaneously enhancing their reputation.
BBH: How many projects currently offer the Conasys platform?
JB: Good question. To say “projects” is a bit misleading though, since we work with single-family, townhome and condo builders and developers, some of whom build all three product types. For example, we have some customers who do 1,000 single family homes a year and we have others where they do both low-rise and high-rise. That’s one of our great strengths because we can provide one solution for all their homes whether they are a single family production builder, or they have multiple divisions, or they are a smaller developer that does one condo or townhome project every year. But to answer the question, we’ve worked with over 400 builders and developers and have delivered over 40,000 homes. And those numbers are growing quickly.
BBH: You’ve been working with Intracorp on a number of projects, can you tell us about that relationship?
JB: We have been working with Intracorp on all of their projects since 2008. The whole team there are fantastic to work with and we have established an especially strong relationship with both the homeowner care team and the sales and marketing team. As one of our most important and long-standing customers, their input and feedback on our platform development has been extremely valuable. But most importantly they are true champions of what we do and will be implementing our platform in all of their upcoming projects. It’s a real win-win relationship that we’re proud of.
BBH: The online platform can be customized to each developer’s tastes. We understand the service will be available to homeowners of Vancouver’s Trump Tower. Any special features — design, service,or otherwise — that you can tell us about regarding the Trump/Conasys collaboration? Will homeowners be able to use the platform to book that private jet and chauffeured Rolls-Royce car service?
JB: Hey, that’s a great idea! Yes, we’re thrilled to be working with the Holborn Development team on the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver. In fact, we’ve already worked with them to put together a customized sales and marketing kit for their sales centre. And of course, as we roll out the full platform for their homeowners, we’re excited to work with them to provide value-added content and features that will be tailored to the Trump brand.
BBH: You used to work internationally with a major company based out of Egypt. Assuming that job involved a lot of travel, what’s your favourite city or country, besides Vancouver where you live now, that you’ve spent time in?
JB: Yes, that’s right. I spent the better part of four years working in Egypt with one of the largest privately owned conglomerates there. I was based in Cairo and really enjoyed it. The people are fantastic and the energy is great. A bit hectic, but I like hectic. I spent a bit of time in Moscow and Beirut and loved them both, but didn’t spend nearly enough time to really get to know the places. In the end, like you say, Vancouver is a fabulous city, which is what brought me back. I really missed the mountains.
BBH: Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet?
JB: Wow, great question. There’s no shortage of places. I would love to spend time in South America, do some rock climbing in Europe and also want to go back to India and China to spend more time there. Like I say, too many places and so little time!