OpinionAgent

The problem with real estate chatbots: Consumer value

Why would a homebuyer or seller use a bot?
  • Bots are seen as a valuable tool for agents, but what value do they provide consumers?
  • For consumers, the incremental value from bots compared to property portals and real estate agents is negligible.

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Everyone is talking about the rise of chatbots in real estate, and they’re all overlooking a key issue: consumer value. Bots are being heralded as an important trend for 2017. As Redefy CTO Chris Rediger writes in Realtor Magazine, bots are “a solution to engaging potential customers in meaningful conversation.” James Dearsley, founder of The Digital Marketing Bureau, chimes in, saying the “power of the chatbot can be used as an entry point customer engagement tool for agencies.” Bots are being positioned as a valuable tool for real estate agents. But bots face a problem of value asymmetry: What’s good for a real estate agent is not necessarily good for the consumer. Defining value Bots are positioned as a tool to help real estate agents. By automatically nurturing online leads, a bot saves agents time and energy and delivers them hot leads on a silver platter! The value goes to the real estate agent. But what about the consumer? If bots are going to be s...