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AI Strategies For Combining Tech And Relationship Marketing
Terry Brock -- Achievement Systems Terry Brock -- Achievement Systems
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Orlando, FL
Friday, May 10, 2024


Welcome back to another electrifying episode of “Stark Raving Entrepreneurs,” I’m your host, Terry Brock, and along with me is the fantastic Gina Carr.

Today, we are absolutely thrilled to have a powerhouse guest, Susan Frew, who is not only a small business superstar but also a fervent advocate for Artificial Intelligence.

Susan joins us to share some incredible insights on how her $2 million business, Sunshine Home Service, cleverly saved over $150,000 by integrating AI into their operations.

But that’s not all—her strategies have also forged stronger business relationships, transforming the way her company operates.

In this episode, Susan will not only inspire you but also give you practical names of apps and AI tools they’ve successfully deployed.

This is the kind of insider knowledge you can’t afford to miss, and it might just be what your business needs to get that competitive edge.

So saddle up, because we’re about to take a deep dive into the transformative world of AI in business, and you definitely don’t want to be left behind.

Let’s get started and unlock the potential of AI to revolutionize your business strategy just like Susan did!

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For your convenience here are some time stamps of note-worthy content for this episode:

Here are seven key timestamps from the podcast episode “Real World AI Apps For Biz-Susan Frew” on “Stark Raving Entrepreneurs” that highlight significant discussions:

1. **[00:01:33] – Susan Frew discussing the use of AI to cut costs in her business**
– Susan explains how AI has been instrumental in reducing operational costs and improving efficiency in her company, Sunshine Home Service.
2. **[00:02:18] – Introduction of HeyGen avatars and their role in marketing**
– Susan mentions using HeyGen avatars for marketing purposes, showcasing the integration of innovative AI tools to enhance business outreach and branding.
3. **[00:04:36] – Application of AI for multilingual communication**
– Susan describes how they use HeyGen for customer communications in Spanish, facilitating better engagement with a diverse customer base.
4. **[00:05:54] – Discussion on AI-driven answering service, Zyratalk**
– Susan shares insights on switching to an AI-based answering service, resulting in significant cost savings and improved customer interaction.
5. **[00:07:09] – Use of AI in bookkeeping**
– The transition to an AI-driven bookkeeping system is discussed, illustrating further cost-cutting and real-time financial management enhancements.
6. **[00:10:53] – Implementation of Trainual for employee onboarding**
– Susan explains how Trainual has revolutionized their employee training and onboarding process, making it more efficient and standardized.
7. **[00:14:06] – Reverse lookup strategy in recruitment using AI**
– Susan shares a unique strategy using AI to actively seek out potential hires, enhancing recruitment efficiency and effectiveness.
These timestamps outline the practical applications of AI as discussed by Susan Frew, showcasing real-world business solutions and innovations.


For our Spanish-speaking viewers, here’s a summary of this episode in Spanish. Please let us know if this is helpful for you

En este episodio del podcast “Stark Raving Entrepreneurs”, los presentadores Terry Brock y Gina Carr conversan con Susan Frew, quien utiliza la inteligencia artificial (IA) de manera innovadora en su negocio de servicios de plomería y calefacción en Colorado. Susan explica cómo implementó varias herramientas de IA para automatizar y mejorar su negocio, lo que ha resultado en un ahorro significativo y una mejora en la eficiencia y el servicio al cliente.

Susan detalla el uso de aplicaciones como un libro de contabilidad de IA, un servicio de atención al cliente automatizado y “HeyGen”, una herramienta que crea avatares para comunicarse en múltiples idiomas. Gracias a estas innovaciones, su empresa ha logrado ahorrar $150,000 en servicios externalizados y ha mejorado los procesos internos, lo que permite a los empleados centrarse en tareas más importantes.

Finalmente, Susan menciona su éxito en utilizar IA para reclutamiento, identificando y contactando proactivamente a candidatos potenciales, lo que ha transformado el proceso de contratación de su empresa. Este episodio destaca cómo la integración efectiva de la tecnología de IA puede transformar operaciones comerciales y catapultar el éxito empresarial.


For your convenience, here’s an unedited transcript of this episode:

Terry Brock [00:00:00]:
Our world is changing a lot because of AI. We’re seeing it happen all the time. Those of us who are creating content see a lot of different purposes for it, but there’s a lot of applications in the real world, in the real world. You know, people that are doing plumbing and heating and air conditioning. And matter of fact, we have someone joining us today who is involved in that, and I say we because it’s me, Terry Brock, and Gina Carr who are talking with Susan Frew, who is now with us here from her offices up there in the Denver area. Susan, good to have you with us today.

Susan Frew [00:00:30]:
Thank you so much for inviting me. I am honored and very excited. I love communicating with, fellow AI enthusiasts.

Terry Brock [00:00:39]:
Yes. Indeed. And, Gina, we’re doing a lot with this. I think you were seeing that, Susan is doing a lot with AI. What was it that was intriguing to you to ask her to come on board for the interview?

Gina Carr [00:00:49]:
Oh, she’s just using it in so many innovative ways to automate her business, to improve her business, which results in more revenue, more profits, and much better service for her clients. So we’ve had a lot of conversations about it. She’s shared internally within our Start Craving Entrepreneurs community before, but here we are bringing her out to the entire world through YouTube and the power of other video platforms. And so very excited about this.

Terry Brock [00:01:16]:
Yeah. Absolutely. So what we’re gonna do is take a look at now your company is called Sunshine Home Service based there in Colorado, and you’re doing a lot with plumbing, heating, air conditioning, real world stuff that we all use and need. Tell us a little bit about how you’re using AI and what it’s doing for you.

Susan Frew [00:01:33]:
Well, you know, with competition as it is, you always have to be competitive, and price is really something that is important. And cutting your costs and reviewing everything year after year. Our company had gotten into trouble a few years ago. We ended up a little underwater, and we needed to get out. So cutting cost was really important. So we are using many different kinds of AI, but we’re using an AI bookkeeper. We’re using AI for our answering service. We’re using ARI for our communications.

Susan Frew [00:02:06]:
We’ve built an entire training platform, 2,000 policies and procedures. And then, of course, we love and use the HeyGen avatars in a lot of our marketing.

Terry Brock [00:02:18]:
Yeah. Very nice. Well, those applications can be really good. So I wanna get real nitty gritty here and tell us, how are you using, let’s say, HeyGen, which is a great tool for those that might not know about it. It gives the ability to have your face, your voice speaking, but in many different languages. And the lips move like they should, which is pretty amazing. So that’s great technology in the oh my goodness, golly, gee, wow kind of stuff. But what are the practical applications that you’re using HeyGen for?

Susan Frew [00:02:48]:
Well, Terry, probably you can relate to this, but, you know, sometimes I don’t wanna make videos because I’m having a bad hair day or

Terry Brock [00:02:55]:
whatever. Like that. All the time, you know, bad hair day. I comb it particularly well, though, for you, Susan, today.

Susan Frew [00:03:01]:
Well, you know, whatever my excuse is, and and I think many business owners can relate to this. When it’s video day, it’s like, and your marketing folks are telling you to make videos. So now I don’t need to worry about that. I have an avatar of myself, and I have one of my husbands. And all I do now is I I filmed it on Zoom with our shop in the background, and I just type in what I want the avatar to say. And I did my entire marketing campaign for the spring in, you know, a few hours, which would have taken a few days in order to get that many videos out into the wild that quickly. So it’s been really powerful time saver.

Terry Brock [00:03:41]:
That is powerful. I can see some other application that as well because I understand that HeyGen will also use other languages. So you’ve done a little bit with that. It seemed like that’d be good if you needed to go into, say, the Hispanic market, or you wanted to send something to, Montreal or over to France. You can do it in French, etcetera. Tell us how you see that being used and how you’re using

Susan Frew [00:04:00]:
it. Well, we have used it, in Spanish because the community in which we live is a predominantly Latino. Right now, our shop. So we’ve really we have a lot of clients who speak only Spanish. So we’ve actually been using that in our advertisement, and and it’s super easy because I type in what I wanna say in English, and then it translates it. And I have checked with some friends who speak Spanish, and they feel that the translation is pretty darn good. It’s not perfect all the time, but it is definitely everyone can understand it. They know what we’re saying, and they really like it.

Terry Brock [00:04:36]:
Yeah. I think that’s, really impressive. Now you were telling us before we started recording, you’re using some other AI tools for basic business that you’re using for, chats when people are answering your phone, saving money that way, and also for your bookkeeping. Tell us a little bit about those.

Susan Frew [00:04:52]:
So our online answering service our answering service was costing us about $25100 a month. So they would pick up all the calls after 4 rings, and then they would pick them up on evenings and weekends. And it just was, you know, was killing us, the price. So we went to an AI bookkeeping so I’m getting confused. We went to an AI answering service so that handles the chat, and it handles the voice. And it’s learning as it’s going. So it’s learning from all of our recorded calls in our CRM. And it’s learning all of these things about plumbing and all of these things about heating.

Susan Frew [00:05:31]:
It is absolutely amazing to watch it. I can see the conversations happening, and most people are okay with it. We get a few people who get a little frustrated and start yelling like, operator, operator. But it is really amazing. And that now costs us about $500 a month instead of 25100.

Terry Brock [00:05:54]:
Oh, that’s a good thing. Well, they told us in business school, when you get something for 500 that does as good or better than the 25100, you wanna go with the 500. So, you’re doing the right thing there. And there’s a lot of, real good applications. So that’s one thing. I think that’s amazing in and of itself. What’s the service, you know, you use called?

Susan Frew [00:06:11]:
It’s called Zyratalk, z y r a, talk, t a l k. And, they sort of are partnering with the home services industry. So they’ve been training their call centers on that. And they’re they’re building this out into the giant call center applications. So people you know, it saves a lot of time and money so that you can be more efficient, and you could be doing other things that are going to help grow your business instead of just doing a lot of the back and forth with the text and the calls.

Terry Brock [00:06:43]:
That sounds fascinating. I think every industry could use that. I think of those of us who are speakers. We could use something like that particularly for answering calls 247. That would be very nice, and we could let it be known that we’re available 247, and it’s answered by the bot who’s trained to be friendly and human like, and something like to have some fun with it. Now you also said that you’re using that with, bookkeeping and some of the bookkeeping you’re using. Tell us a little bit about that.

Susan Frew [00:07:09]:
Well, you know, bookkeeping was a big expense for us. And because we had you know, we were really needed to cut our costs or we were not going to survive, that was one of the things that we needed to cut down on. And our bookkeeping was costing around $26100 a month. And, I went with something called Bookie, b o o k e dot a I, and it connects to my QuickBooks. So it’s doing a reconciliation on a daily basis so you have more real time numbers anyway. And then you don’t have that big end of month. And then what I did is I went on Upwork, and I found a gentleman in Indonesia who is certified in service type in QuickBooks. And, he just does my month end for me, which is just a smidgen of what we had to do before, and it’s very, very inexpensive.

Susan Frew [00:08:00]:
So once again, we saved over $20,000 in a year by doing that.

Terry Brock [00:08:06]:
That sounds really, really good. Well, I know that that is something that, can be very helpful. And for those of you watching this, think about how you could use AI in some of those areas. You can use it for automating a lot and increase the humanity as well. I think we’re gonna see more people accepting the bots as they get better, as they can answer it more. And we’ll understand, yes, it’s a bot doing it, but we won’t be upset about that any more than we don’t expect someone to bring us, say, packages, by hand. They walk it to us. We they use trucks.

Terry Brock [00:08:35]:
They use buses. They use whatever. We consider that’s okay if they’re using it, but we see the devices more assisting us on that. Well, I know Gina had some ideas on, using AI and some other questions that she had as well. And so, Gina, I wanted to turn it over to you so you can come in and, help us out any questions that you might have.

Gina Carr [00:08:54]:
Well, thank you so much. Yes. Oh my goodness. My, curiosity is certainly peaked here. And I know before we got started with our interview, you had give us given us sort of the big picture number of total savings, annual savings versus annual revenue. And if you would share that, because those are some exciting numbers that if people haven’t been listening so far to how much time, money, and effort you will save with AI, I think they’re gonna wanna tune in.

Susan Frew [00:09:24]:
So our our grand total and holding, I say, is a $150,000, And that’s just on outsourced services that we were buying. And it it gives our employees more opportunity to do more important things like marketing and customer service and re you know, call outbound calling and things to that effect. So basically, we’re systemizing the routine and humanizing the exception. And, you know, how we started doing that, we went old school. We put big flip chart papers on the walls for a week, and we looked at all of our functional areas. And then we everyone took a sticky note with a different color based on their portion of that, and we put it on the wall. And then we look to find the solution that could solve our pain points in all of those different areas. And so it’s been a really fun science experiment, I’ll tell you.

Susan Frew [00:10:20]:
I love using it real live and and sharing that with people. It’s a huge passion of mine now.

Gina Carr [00:10:27]:
Oh, boy. Okay. And if it’s okay to share, that was this $150,000 savings, which is gigantic, is on revenues of, you said?

Susan Frew [00:10:36]:
$2,000,000. Yeah. That’s

Gina Carr [00:10:40]:
fast. That’s very exciting. Yes. Okay. Wonderful. Now another service that I heard you mentioned earlier was Trainual. How are you using Trainual? What’s what’s the 6 what’s the secret there?

Susan Frew [00:10:53]:
So I took 5 days and I and I was as I was saying, like, we went old school with the flip chart paper and all of that, identified all of our functional areas that were broken. And I had written policies and procedures 10 years ago, and none of them were still current. So Traineeal is, an AI assisted platform in order to keep policies, procedures, HR, how to’s, videos. And the content that I created in 5 days, 2,000 different policies, procedures is now equal to 7 hours of training by an employee. So our onboarding process is that of, like, a big company. And here we are a little plumbing and heating company in Commerce City, Colorado. So, it’s been an amazing experience. And that platform’s been it connects to our, Gusto, which is how we do our payroll, and it transfers right over.

Susan Frew [00:11:48]:
If I make changes, the employees get it right away. They have they can sign it. They can take a quiz. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing all the time. It’s fantastic.

Gina Carr [00:11:59]:
Oh, boy. Well, I bet that really improves the customer service ratings as well. Yes. Absolutely. Because everyone’s consistent now. Oh, I love that. That is really good. Now how else are you using AI in your recruiting efforts, say, for bringing new people on?

Susan Frew [00:12:20]:
So I do a reverse lookup, and I’ve been teaching, entrepreneurs how to do this for a few years now. Instead of running job ads, which really get you nowhere, I recommend that people do a reverse lookup on a variety of different forms. I I was using Indeed and a couple of others. And then I I identify people on a Sunday afternoon or a Monday morning who have updated their resume in the last 3 days. And the magic of that is because they are unhappy, and they’ve spent all weekend redoing their resume. So, I go do their the outreach. I find the 33 who’s updated in the last 3 days, And then I communicate with them using an AI generated letter based on I go through their resume. I put it into ATBT, I say, let’s respond to this person’s resume and put some interesting highlights in there.

Susan Frew [00:13:17]:
Send the letter, and then I make a video of myself which is very raw, and I tell them that I love their resume and I wanted to see if we can get an interview together. And that’s the standard that’s a standard, video. I use that one multiple times, but the letter is the key. And then once they, click and say they’re interested, I get their email address and their phone number. And then I try to book via text. I book a Zoom call for the next morning, get them in right away. So that’s my magic. That’s my magic.

Susan Frew [00:13:51]:
My goodness. That

Gina Carr [00:13:52]:
is magical. I bet that that is really producing some great results. Can you tell me can you give me an idea, like, before how long it would take you or how difficult it would be to to hire somebody versus with this new super duper system?

Susan Frew [00:14:06]:
We would get nothing. And then also, you know, we have big competitors in our market. Big, big. Like, there’s one competitor that has a $15,000 sign on for this. Like, we can’t we can’t compete with that. And then the people who come for that kind of job are gonna stay there for as long as they need to to get their money, and then they leave. So all my almost my entire crew now came that way. The and they and the the result you know, the response was, I wanted to work for you because you seemed like a nice person.

Susan Frew [00:14:38]:
You took an interest in what it said on my resume. You actually read my resume.

Gina Carr [00:14:45]:
Oh my goodness. And by using AI, you’re really able to scale that and customize it and respond quickly without spending a ton of time. But it’s it’s sincere, and it’s and it’s, very, personalized. So I love that. That’s really very powerful.

Susan Frew [00:15:02]:
And and that’s really important. Go ahead. That’s really important with today’s younger workers. They they really wanna be seen as a person, and they wanna see you in your more humanness and not as a boss.

Gina Carr [00:15:15]:
Yes. I I I hear you, and I I I get that. And I know that that’s, the biggest reason people leave jobs is the boss. They don’t like the boss. And, now there’s a lot of reasons, but that’s one of the biggest. Well, Susan, we talked about so many different ways that you’re using AI to, improve and grow your business. Is there any tool or any process that we haven’t that you haven’t mentioned that you’d like to share before we wrap?

Susan Frew [00:15:41]:
Oh my gosh. Gina, there’s there’s so many. And I’ve just I’ve just dove into a whole new course that I signed up for. And it is I’m going in the rabbit, the rabbit hole there with this one. Like, I’m trying not to look at it during the day or I’m not going to get any work done. But it it’s a it’s a platform called super intelligent, and it’s got any kind of AI in there. And I always I I listen to 7 to 10 hours of content a week, on all different kinds of tech. As as much as I can absorb, I do.

Susan Frew [00:16:18]:
But I I have to say, and I agree with Terry and with you that perplexity is really, you know, coming out of the gates now. I mean, I think it’s the grown up version of chat gbt, and I think a lot of more analytical thinkers are gonna get on board with that because it has the references and the videos and the links and all of that to really, you know, document where it’s getting the information from. And then I think Meta, out of the gates now, that’s gonna be a game changer for a lot of people. And, you know, people may think that Meta was kinda like the horse in the back. I don’t think that they are. They have a lot of engine they have a lot of horses under that hood, and they have got a lot of computing power. And they bought all of that computing power before everyone went to NVIDIA. So I think that the deep pockets that they have in these bigger companies are it’s gonna be changing the game, a lot in this next year.

Gina Carr [00:17:15]:
Oh, boy. Well, that that is fantastic. And, yeah, similar to you, Terry and I are just frequently consuming, learning, going to classes, teaching classes. We have an exciting new class coming up right now about CAST Magic that we’re excited about, which will also include teaching and so just some so many tools. And, we just have to keep ourselves out of that rabbit hole and keep on working on the business as well as in the business for right now. Well, Terry, if you’d like to come back in, and let’s, let’s wrap things up here. What a fascinating conversation.

Terry Brock [00:17:52]:
Absolutely. Very fascinating. Susan, we really appreciate you sharing this, the real world applications of what you’re using, how you’re using it, and also the dedication that you have and the discipline to continue to learn. Because it’s not like you get to a point where you go, oh, well, I’ve already had enough. I don’t have to go to school anymore. You know? I think our old Nightingale talked about it. So many people said, well, I studied this or I studied that, and referring to something they might have done in school years ago as if it were an inoculation. You know, I took it once, and that’s it.

Terry Brock [00:18:22]:
I don’t have to do it. No. It’s ongoing because AI is a field that’s changing a lot. I’d have to agree with you also on perplexity and what we’re looking at with meta AI. They both look good. Matter of fact, soon, I gotta tell you, I’ve been using the free version of perplexity and love it. It was great. I took the plunge 2 weeks ago, and I said, okay.

Terry Brock [00:18:42]:
Should I go forward with this thing? Get the paid. And I’m breaking down, like, a priestly sum of $20 a month. Oh my. But I hear you can get it for 200 a year. I got my calculator out and figured out, hey. That’s a nice thing there. Pretty cool. And did that, but I’m loving the pro version of it.

Terry Brock [00:18:58]:
The fact that I can feed it a picture and say, what is this? Or talk to DALL E 3, same as over on chat GPT, and it creates beautiful graphics for me, pictures and images, and all that. I see that we’re doing a lot. Are you using very much of the pictures and graphics in the work that you’re doing with, the plumbing, heating, air conditioning?

Susan Frew [00:19:18]:
Well, I was because I I I have a new sideline of our business that I think at some point could be franchisable. And it’s called Fido’s faucet, and it is a dog washing station. Because we’re plumbers. We can put the hot and cold water in your garage, your laundry room, your mudroom, and do the drain. And then you can wash your dogs at home whenever you want. And it’s super neat contained. And so Fido’s faucet is the name that ChachiPT came up with for me, and then it created a logo. And now it’s creating the website.

Susan Frew [00:19:51]:
So I actually taught myself how to build websites using AI as well. So I’ve built 4 of them now. And, I built one for an anonymous association, which, you know, people have all different kinds of 12 step anonymous programs. So I use the avatars in in to explain everything about their program, but they couldn’t use real people because they’re anonymous. So now we use avatars.

Terry Brock [00:20:19]:
Avatars really work well with Hey Jin. That is a really good application. Well, we are so glad to have you with us here. And, June and I don’t wanna say goodbye, so I think we could keep going for a long time. And, we appreciate you being in our Stark Raving Entrepreneurs program. Great to have you there and to share that really good information. If someone says, hey. I’ll get in touch with Susan Frew.

Terry Brock [00:20:39]:
She’s, not only work doing these business, but also your president of the Colorado chapter of the National Speakers Association. So you might also wanna share with us later on sometime about how in the world you manage all that. With so much going on, someone says, hey. They wanna get in touch with you. What’s the best way for them to reach you?

Susan Frew [00:20:58]:
You can find me pretty much anywhere at susanfrucespeaks. That’s the name of my website. LinkedIn, Twitter, excuse me, x, Instagram, Facebook. You can find me that way. And the reason I’m able to do so many things is ADHD is my superpower. So, all of this doing 10 things at one time is my happy place. So I don’t know.

Terry Brock [00:21:20]:
Very good. And then, Sprint, for those that might not speak English as their first language, spell that out how they can reach you as Susan Frew in, speaking.

Susan Frew [00:21:28]:
Sure. S u s a n f r e w, Speaks, s p e a k s, and that is my website. My handle on everything is Susan Frew Speaks.

Terry Brock [00:21:39]:
Very good. Susan, we appreciate you joining us here, and thanks so much for being with us. And, we’ll look forward to seeing you again a little bit later.

Susan Frew [00:21:46]:
Thank you.

Terry Brock [00:21:47]:
And for those of you that are watching this, think about what she’s doing. Susan is an example, a shining example of how to do it right. She’s using AI practical applications, ways that you can use it in some powerful tools to get it done. You can do similar things. This is the kind you wanna go back and review some of the things that she was talking about. She knows what she’s doing in the real world and making some serious money with it and doing it the right way. On behalf of Gina Carr and all of us here at Star Craving Entrepreneurs, I’m Terry Brock. Thank you very much for joining us today.

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