Voice recognition technology will be the most powerful computing step change we’ve experienced since the launch of the iPhone. Why is it so powerful, and how can it help real estate agents?

Most conversations with Google Home or Alexa tend to focus on quirky features like weather or telling jokes. But voice recognition technology is set to become the most powerful computing step change we have experienced since the launch of the iPhone.

According to research company Gartner, 30 percent of human interactions with technology will happen through conversations with smartphones in the short term. According to AdWeek, voice recognition will be a $40 billion industry by 2022, with 55 percent of homes having a smart speaker.

Voice activation is allowing the creation of virtual assistants that can be on-call for real estate agents 24/7. Imagine an assistant that is always present, connected to you through your watch or Fitbit-style device.

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it before — the next big thing. But let’s stop to think about why voice-activated technology is so powerful and how it can help real estate agents.

1. It will make us faster

The average person types about 40 words per minute. Compare that to speaking 150 words per minute, and you’ll see this means you can give approximately three to four times the number of instructions to a voice system than you can by typing. Because of this, voice technology is likely to revolutionize the way we work and catapult our productivity.

Real estate agents have a gift for the gab — this unleashes that skill on a tech platform.

2. It will be less exhausting

When you can conduct business and get things done simply by asking questions and giving instructions, the need to peer constantly into a back-lit screen starts to dissolve, and with it, the headaches, the eyestrain and the cramping thumbs.

Gartner predicts that voice technology is a new operating system that will physically free us up, unlike the current systems that suck the life from us.

3. It will make life easier

The current process for most agents is this: meet people, get their business card, go back to the office and your desk, type their details into your customer relationship manager (CRM), rage at your CRM for refusing to save the records until all fields with an asterisk are completed (possibly because you forgot to ask a question or two).

Then you categorize the records, send the new contacts an email (maybe send a second one a few weeks later), completely forget about them and wonder why they sold their house with someone else.

The new process might look more like this: Meet people, ask if they mind if you turn on your assistant and converse while the assistant records and picks up keywords — name, current address, email, why they want to sell, their fears and concerns, name of their dog, etc.

By the end of the conversation, their details are in your CRM, and upon your prompts, your assistant has:

  • Emailed your new contacts a property valuation of their current property.
  • Emailed a list of curated properties they might like to buy based on the preferences you discussed together.
  • Added them to a contact schedule and posted a reminder in your calendar to follow up with a call. You win the listing.

4. It will help us deliver higher levels of service

Why don’t agents deliver amazing service constantly? In most instances, it is not because they don’t want to but rather because consistency is really hard work — especially with the busy and overwhelming manual processes of buying, selling and renting property.

With the ability to request things by speaking, we’ll be able to take action as soon as we remember or think things through. The need to write instructions or spend time researching dissolves. We can take action in an instant.

5. It will help us be more human

As humans, we connect through speaking — it helps us gather and share information and build relationships. We’ve created manual systems to capture the information from these conversations, but they now slow us down and distract us.

Voice activation will give us confidence that the details are being taken care of, encouraging us to inquire more, connect more and focus on the people — not the device — in front of us. In short, voice-activated technology will make us more human.

Kylie Davis was a speaker at INMAN Connect 2018 in San Francisco on Robots and Automation. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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