- Chatbots should help customers give you the most relevant information first and make that information accessible at other stages of the homebuying process.
The concept of human-to-artificial intelligence interaction isn’t anything new. Software developers and engineers have been toying with different interfaces for decades.
While their use has been primarily limited to the IT sector, recent advancements in technology have made them increasingly popular across all customer-centric industries, including real estate.
Now, prospective homebuyers can use chatbots to assist them on their buying journey, and real estate agents and property managers seem optimistic about the impact such technology could have on the industry.
“I do think that real estate chatbots will become an effective time saver for property managers and leasing agents of larger communities,” says senior vice president and residential division manager of Property Management Inc., Duane Drozdowski.
“If you manage, say, 175 units, you spend considerable time answering standardized general questions,” says Drozdowski, indicating that chatbots could be used to answer questions like “What’s the square footage of the property?”, “How many bedrooms is it?”, or “What’s included in the rent?”
“However, once the line of questions becomes more specific or transactional, then the chatbot will need to be set up to defer to a live human,” he says. “In order to close and secure a lease, ultimately there is no substitute for a qualified person who knows how to sell the features of the community.”
If you’re thinking of turning to chatbots to upgrade your real estate services, consider these four key features most homeowners will want.
1. Access to information across multiple services
When it comes to real estate chatbots, homebuyers will only find them useful if you can sync their information across the rest of your property management system.
Nick Kljaic, president and co-found of real estate chatbot Apartment Ocean says that their chatbot evolved into what it is today because they applied customer feedback to the bot: “We started with a simple chatbot, but as we gained traction, our customers told us what needed to be improved and what features they would like to have. We listened and iterated the chatbot to the version we have right now.”
Kljaic says the features of Apartment Ocean’s chatbot that users seem to like most are its integration with other CMS and property management systems, the ability to customize the conversation flow, and its integration with third-party services like Slack and Facebook Messenger.
If you want to experiment with using a chatbot to help prospective clients find a home, make sure the bot is compatible with other services, too. Clients shouldn’t have to tell you the same information twice.
Your chatbot should be helping them give you the most relevant information first and making that information accessible at other stages of the homebuying process.
2. Introductory guidance and real-time advice
First-time buyers are eager for introductory guidance, especially if it comes from a reputable source like an established Realtor.
Chatbots provide ample opportunity for providing your prospective clients with valuable information that can help them make a decision on their own. Those who have previously purchased property can use your chatbot to stay up-to-date on any breaking news or recent trends in the real estate market.
3. Details about specific properties or neighborhoods
Prospective buyers are also using chatbots to gather information on specific houses or the surrounding communities. Advanced AI narrows down results according to any number of filters determined by the owner, such as:
- Physical location
This can save your clients countless hours when it comes to finding the ideal property.
4. General customer service
Chatbots are the perfect solution to growing customer service woes. According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, almost half of respondents said they would actually prefer speaking with a chatbot instead of a live customer service specialist. When configured to handle the most basic and frequently asked questions, this technology can save your own time as well as that of your clients.
Utilizing chatbots for everything they have to offer
While chatbots were once reserved for the most tech-savvy companies, nearly every business stands to benefit from this kind of next-gen AI. Apart from saving your business time and money, chatbots can be used to help connect with prospective clients in a quicker and more efficient manner than ever before.