Foxtons sold on data science to build customer base

foxtonsUpmarket estate agent Foxtons is ramping up its adoption of data analytics and artificial intelligence in a drive to better serve customers and make more strategic data-driven business decisions.

The company, which back in June hailed its investment in data science and technology for a resurgence in business, has now signed a deal with AI cloud business DataRobot to accelerate its capabilities.

Foxtons, which operates a network of more than 70 offices across London and Surrey, will use the platform to build, deploy, and monitor AI and machine learning models at scale to manage and optimise operational processes and customer acquisition across the group.

Initially, the partnership will focus on building an AI-powered recommendation engine, designed to help customers find the most suitable properties.

Foxtons’ chief operating officer, Patrick Franco, commented: “Foxtons is already the most advanced estate agent in the UK when it comes to how we use technology and data.

“This is a pioneering deal with a world leader in data science and AI to further build our competitive advantage and improve how we serve our customers.

“Our team will be able to do even more of what they are best at: giving expert advice to sellers, buyers, renters and landlords and getting them the best deal.”

DataRobot chief customer officer Steve Jenner: “Foxtons is leading the industry with their focus on leveraging AI/ML to optimise all areas of their business. We’re excited to partner with Foxtons and enable their journey to a truly data-driven organisation.”

The move follows a controversial period for the business, including a shareholder revolt at its recent AGM and widespread criticism of its failure to return furlough money to the Government, despite the company benefiting from a strong housing market.

The controversy centres on a bonus issued to Foxtons chief executive Nic Budden while at the same time the company took millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money through business rate exemptions and furlough funding; unlike several other agencies, it has shown no sign of returning the public money.

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