You know more about “bots” than you think. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know that we’ll all be working with them a lot more in the coming months.

  • Bots for Facebook Messenger respond to chat discussions to deliver content, product updates, news and all forms of business information.
  • There are several real estate brands working on bots.
  • Bots are getting smarter every day, but questions posed to most modern bots have to contain clear key terms.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

You know more about “bots” than you think.

If you’re like me, you probably didn’t know that we’ll all be working with them a lot more in the coming months. (In fact, Inman has a Facebook bot that’s active right now.)

Bots could very well fundamentally change the way real estate brands engage with new customers and keep in touch with current ones.

In the most simple explanation, the term “bots” encapsulates automated response technology.

Those little help-chat boxes that pop up on websites? They’re often bots. (Many companies do use real people to offer live chat help.)

However, that’s merely scraping the surface of what bots are capable of providing people on the web.

Facebook is counting on it, in fact.

The media company has invested heavily in using its Messenger app, now available to non-Facebook users, as a platform for brands to deliver bot-generated content to customers.

Well over 900 million people use Facebook Messenger. I’ve had no less than four companies send me purchase confirmations and email sign-ups via Messenger.

Last week, Adweek published this piece on how a few major brands, including GE and American Express, are using bots and Messenger to automate content delivery.

American Express sends account updates and recommends companion products to whatever was most recently bought.

Are there any real estate brands working on bots?

Yes.

Bots in real estate

AgentPair founder Clark Giguiere has launched Carey, a DIY bot development product that allows people to build their own Messenger bots.

Carey is very close to leaving beta. Giguiere is already in talks with a major industry name to create and launch a bot. I’ve seen what he’s building, and the potential is real.

AgentPair founder Clark Giguiere has launched Carey, a DIY bot development product.

In fact, he’s built one on Carey for Inman that will be ready very soon.

Oh, and Trulia launched its bot last week. It will help you find places for rent in major markets and send local stats and data.

Smarter every day

Bots are simple to find and use.

Granted, there aren’t many of them. Yet.

To find a bot, tap Facebook Messenger’s search tool.

Bots_ContactList

You’ll see a list of your friends, favorites — and now a list of available bots. I’ve subscribed to Digg and theScore, a bot for the sports website.

Bots_Digg

The bot from theScore asked me what I was interested in reading. “I want news about the San Diego Chargers.”

I can give it more details, like my notification preferences or news about conference rivals. (No thanks. The less I read about the Raiders, the better.)

Digg’s bot sends me news about the outdoors and environmental topics.

Bots are getting smarter every day, but questions posed to most bots today have to contain clear key terms.

Giguiere sees the real estate potential as virtually unlimited.

Real estate brands could build bots to respond to initial property inquiries, ask about mortgage qualification, gather property preferences and send agency agreements.

A company could verify and capture a customer without spending a minute of an agent’s time.

Bots can also do lighter business tasks, like sending blog updates and property announcements.

Bots_Inman

Giguiere sees the real estate potential as virtually unlimited.

Bots are an emerging power in the quest to automate business processes, regardless of industry.

Real estate companies and agents who recognize technology trends early will see bots as an innovative opportunity to earn the attention of homebuyers and sellers.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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