Everyone’s talking about Artificial Intelligence, but which solution is right for your business? In this first in a series of guides on AI application, we run through the options for using chatbots in property.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer programme that can interpret human language and respond with text or audio. These days chatbots are getting pretty sophisticated, with many programmed to understand natural language – that means it can get the gist of a sentence, even if the user asks it in an unusual way.
While some people may mourn the lack of human interaction, the real benefit of a chatbot is that they will do exactly as trained. Programmers can input every possible question or scenario and the chatbot will know what to say. There’s no such thing as an ‘off day’, or forgetting crucial information. Even better, a chatbot can be available 24/7 and can talk to thousands of customers at the same time.
These days, brand identity is more important than ever before and customers value personality. Chatbots can be programmed to embody a company’s tone of voice and will deliver it exactly without training. Using this form of automation is a great way to keep up with customers’ preferred communication methods too, as AI bots can communicate via channels such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
How can chatbots be used by property professionals?
While there are several ways this technology could be utilised, chatbots are best used for taking care of mundane, time consuming costs. This could be by letting agents using Hey Landlord to respond to constantly asked questions, such as when the rent is due, or where to put the bins out. AI technology is equally useful for booking viewing appointments, as data processing skills ensure double booking won’t happen!
Chatbots can be of great use to both tenants and property managers when things go wrong outside of working hours. AskPorter can be programmed to provide advice for simple maintenance issues, or log more serious problems and even book tradespeople.
Estate agents and letting agents can also benefit from an AI ‘recommends’ function. This takes is consideration the features of previous properties browsed by customers and makes suggestions of other potential listings of interest. Automabots is one company that does just that, using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers.
How much does it cost to ’employ’ a chatbot?
There are a few things to take into consideration before purchasing chatbot software. The cost will vary on your AI needs – whether it’s a simple service such as processing repetitive questions or something more complex, such as analysing naturalistic language to make viewing suggestions. Some companies offer customisable programmes, while others provide a completely bespoke solution.
Usually there will be an upfront cost as well as a recurring subscription fee to the company providing the technology. You’ll need a server to host your chatbot, the size of which will depend on the volume and complexity of conversations with customers.
Companies providing chatbot solutions for real estate
Aiva – A virtual sales representative who communicates via Facebook Messenger.
Apartment Ocean – Automates common customer queries, and can also be used to schedule property viewings and maintenance requests.
Ask Porter – Provides maintenance advice for tenants and logs more complex repairs requests.
Automabots – Uses naturalistic language to evaluate exactly the type of properties a customer is looking for and make suggestions, either via a web app or Facebook messenger.
HelloAlex – Designed to respond to customers’ queries extremely quickly to generate more leads.
Hey Landlord – ChatBot answers repetitive questions such as where the gas meter is located or when bins are emptied to free up agent time for more complex queries.
Humley – This AI system can process complex natural language, which can be used to answer social media complaints amongst other functions.
Open Box – ‘Rob Sparke’ the AI assistant is completely customisable not only in what it says but what it takes care of, which means it can be used in many ways.
Do you use AI in your property business? We’d love to know about your experience. Get in touch to be featured: firstname.lastname@example.org