How Chatbots Will Solve Real Estate Challenges in 2019

You only have to switch on the news for three minutes before concluding that at the moment, UK businesses are in quite a precarious position. Inevitably, one word that looms over the horizon, causing various industries to quake in fear, is Brexit.

That Pandora’s Box of regulations, redundancies, and reduced Raclette reserves. But did someone say Real Estate opportunities too?

Real Estate

Okay, perhaps it isn’t entirely apocalyptic, especially with the brilliant development and utilisation of Machine Learning that is already influencing our everyday lives. Maybe technology can shine like the Beacons of Gondor, to help enterprises soar in these unpredictable times (more on this in a minute).

It is however no exaggeration that the housing market is experiencing a state of uncertainty. Some experts speculate that we are in a clear buyers-market, with decreased prices caused by fewer international buyers and properties stubbornly refusing to sell. Others suggest that this issue is exclusive to the capital, citing market growth in places like Liverpool and Manchester where prices are still happily rising. Further commentators observe that property prices in London are still ludicrously high, having only ever been topped in early 2017.

So, creating clear digestible trends from such conflicting pieces of information is not always simple.

What is undeniable though, high street companies are struggling, and Estate Agents are not an exception. One can look to Foxton’s six branch closures in the capital as a sign of this, and its stock price misfortunes (shared with the likes of Countrywide PLC).

As alluded to earlier, technologically savvy companies – though not entirely spared from the difficulties of their high street companions – are having an easier time, and boast the potential to thrive in these challenging waters.

Automation, “Big Data”, and so called virtual-assistants all benefit and work in conjunction with this decade’s consumer trend, the need for total accessibility. The modern customer wants results at any time, in any location, and on any device.

To give some perspective, 60% of searches are from mobile devices, and 66% of consumers prefer to contact brands via messages. Furthermore, with 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook Messenger is a particularly potent tool.

A refusal to adapt is prehistoric, and inflexible Real Estate monoliths will find their next generation of potential customers seduced and swept away by more agile and progressive companies.

So, how do we keep up with these ever more demanding consumer requirements. Simple – we need to meet customers on platforms that they are most comfortable on.

Chatbot

This is where – *drumroll please* – Chatbots step in, and step up. A versatile digital tool that can assist estate agents by generating leads, substantially lowering costs, cultivating data, perfectly representing the brand, and far more.

What’s more, Chatbots are available round the clock, for your customer’s every need.

7 Key Areas That Bots Will Add Value In Real Estate:

Help Humans, Save Resources

• According to McKinsey, around 30% of customer service positions could be automated through chatbots.
• Bots can easily compile those repetitive, tedious, but so-very necessary tasks, freeing up your workforce to take on more complex and fulfilling areas of work. Undoubtedly, your motivated employees will benefit from this.
• They offer great commercial potential to save Agencies from spending huge amounts on an overpopulated but under stimulated workforce.

Qualify leads and schedule viewings = Resources Saved

New York had a fun one – a Chatbot helped sell 3 apartments, in 10 days, at a cost of €1.6 per pre-qualified lead:

• Chatbots can take potential leads through the first stages of the online customer journey in a seamless, quick, and convenient manner.
• No more form filling: Bots can ask leads questions regarding desired properties, then provide tailored suggestions, which become optimize as the Bot learns.
• Bots can schedule viewings, arrange timings and alert the relevant realtor, when the lead finds a positive property. Bots can even offer 360’ walkthroughs of properties, to further qualify the lead before the viewing.

Databases and Referrals

A quick stat-spree:

• 88%of buyers would use the same agent or refer them;
• 84% of sellers would use their agent again;
• 82% of ALL real estate transactions are referrals
• Yet only 25% of agents cultivate their existing contacts and past clients for referrals – those who do generate more than 50% of their annual business this way!

What if there is a way for databases to automatically update, and for those same pots of gold to mine themselves at the perfect moment, without any time spent?

• If a customer is not ready to arrange a viewing in the first interaction, the Bot can take invaluable information, like how and when the customer wants to be targeted, to be put into a CRM for use in more tailored marketing campaigns.
• Property preferences can be fed back into an ever-improving recommendation system, utilising Big Data, which can then be fed back to the chatbot.
• Bots can initiate conversations with online leads, and chase customers who have visited the website previously, this time providing more relevant suggestions.

Inspire Millennials

As mentioned above, it makes sense to approach customers on platforms that they use regularly:
• Bots can handle quick conversations with the newest generation of buyers on their phone, answering any questions and concerns that they may have.
• This is a sure-fire way to welcome a new loyal audience, who appreciate a brand that is engaging, inclusive, and reputable.

Synergise with conventional paid media

• Paid media campaigns – used in isolation – can be high priced in such a saturated market. Sure, they increase presence, but in competitive industries, bidding against high-budget entities can be very expensive.
• When used in conjunction with one another, the ROI for social campaigns which utilise chatbots are greatly multiplied.
• Chatbots are an exceptionally accessible natural progression from typical campaigns, turbocharging online presence through engaging and efficient interactions.

Converse with potential customers

• Through Natural Language Processing, Bots can understand the potential customer’s written text, and converse in a manner that fluid and natural.
• Typical online form filling, with awkward parameters and clunky options that can be frustrating for customers, is no longer a necessity.
• This interactivity cuts down redundant online browsing time, keeping the customer engaged during their time on the site, with no need to turn to competition.

24/7 representative

• Bots are available at any time to assist the customer, on any device
• When workers are not available on social media, Bots can take care of new leads and provide auto responses and information on potential properties
• Chatbots can personify company values, demonstrating the image and tone that the agency wishes to brand themselves with

These benefits are not restricted to Estate Agents. For example, Chatbots can be a concierge to assist letting agents, answering tenant’s questions, and assisting with payments.

And of course, there is great potential for disruption in wider industries too; just look at how they’re impacting Retail – there is brilliant overlap in the benefits that Bots offer.

So, Artificial Intelligence is not necessarily the malevolent force that we viewed with such animosity and fear after the Terminator films, and we won’t all lose our jobs… who would have thought it?

There is clearly great potential for success in the marriage between Artificial intelligence and Real Estate. With the ability to assist agents, chase referrals, secure leads, and display the company’s desired social persona, they offer value in a range of ways. It just takes a little creative flare, and a clear strategy.

If you want to discuss how AI or a Chatbot might meet your company’s challenges, feel free to get in touch: nayl@puzzlelondon.com

 
Posted by

Nayl Alam

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