The real-estate industry has been the subject of constant scrutiny. Even a decade after the Great Recession ’07-’09, no convention of economic, political, or global financial nature forgets to talk about its implications. With its ripple effect finally subsiding now, realtors are putting aside their fears and finding more leeway to expand their businesses by adopting new technologies. In fact, many industry experts believe that in times of a slouching economy, it is always best to be armed with a robust IT backbone.
Of all the different aspects of your company, digital marketing is a great place to start, because your consumer-facing details are the ones that deserve the much-needed digital touch. As essential as it is to other industries, digital marketing is a dire need in real estate, because this sector works almost like commodities, more by accident than by design. Even in the event of a slump in the market, an effective digital marketing strategy will help you generate interest and consideration through a single listing on a digital channel like Facebook. Under such circumstances, your pure-play referral model, flyers, and cold calling are as good as obsolete. In another corner of the room, fact remains that tough times or not, digital marketing is the key to establishing and sustaining your footprint in a competitive market.
When it comes to the different elements of the digital marketing paraphernalia, chatbots have created quite the hype in most consumer markets and more so, continue to live up to its promise and expectations of the masses. In particular, chatbots have come out as the answer to solving some of the real estate’s most expensive challenges. Let us see how retrofitting chatbots in your marketing campaign will help you do everything between lead generation and conversion in a much better and rewarding fashion.
What are real estate chatbots?
Real estate chatbots are AI-powered conversational solutions that assist realtors in qualifying leads and guiding them through the conversion funnel with meaningful and contextual conversations. In addition to answering FAQs, real estate chatbots are equipped for sophisticated features, such as coordinating with your agents to schedule property visits and guiding prospects through virtual tours.
At a time when most business happens on the web, and customers spend their maximum screen time on smartphone apps, real estate chatbots are the best way to tap the massive wealth of information. Deployed across your websites, smartphone apps, and even social media, real estate chatbots bring about huge cost savings and unified customer data, multi-lingual support, and cross-channel capabilities. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider having a bot army for your real-estate business.
Your chatbot never sleeps. This means that you do not have to worry about shift schedules or losing a viable prospect who had an interest in one of your offerings during your off-working hours. Chatbots can man the station and never give away the fact that the business is offline.
Stay in the Game
The incoming millennial buyer demographics demand channels where you can reach out to them in ways, they know the best. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 56% of buyers—aged 36 and younger—found their properties on the internet. With businesses going neck and neck to up their ante and stay relevant to consumers, chatbots are a great way to kickstart your digital presence.
Explore Cross-Selling Opportunities
Create long-standing relationships with customers and identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling with RPA-embedded chatbots. For instance, for tenants approaching the end date of their lease, chatbots can be programmed to send automated offers for extending the lease. Where manually doing so for every customer is next to impossible, such automation can prove to be of immense value.
Filter Qualified Leads
It is a consensus in the industry that realtors should stop spending time on generating more leads and start investing more effort in qualifying their leads. One of the key takeaways from chatbots is that they can help your business deploy valuable manpower for follow-ups, only on the leads that demonstrate genuine interest.
Enhance your Engagement
There is a certain element of reliability when it comes to customers providing details about their buying preferences to chatbots instead of a realtor. As your chatbots are integrated with your CRM, the customer history is logged and never forgotten; customers now know they would not have to go through the hassle of repeating their requests every time they approach you.
Here is a list of things your real-estate bot can be set up to talk to your leads about:
|If a customer is interested in buying, renting, or selling a property||Date of possession|
|The type of property||Display images and videos of the property|
|Budget specifications||Take the customer on a virtual tour|
|Number of baths and beds||Schedule/reschedule a property visit|
|Amenities and other requirements||Connect with a live agent or request for a callback|
|Preferred localities||Send notifications about new listings|
|Answer queries about deposit protection schemes||Information about mortgage|
|Request for photos/videos from sellers||Document collection|
Owing to their lightweight programming and still having far-reaching capabilities, chatbots can be integrated with other lines of business applications, platforms, and technologies, such as document management systems (DMS), customer relationship management (CRM), robotic process automation (RPA), and enterprise content management (ECM).
Underpinning your chatbot with backend process automation, allows you to go the whole nine yards when it comes to your automation initiatives. While chatbots are customer-facing, RPA works in the background and acts as an automated information management layer in between. For instance, every time a customer begins a conversation and types in his real-estate requirements, RPA can be programmed to enter the information in other applications, send emails, and schedule appointments and meetings.
Similarly, integrating chatbots with your CRM applications helps you streamline customer data, create unique profiles, and leverage the power of data analytics. In the real-estate world, data analytics translates to more cross-selling options, where you can empower your customers’ post possession experiences as well with better lifestyle amenities. And, chatbots on their part will do the fieldwork for you, automatically. For example, proactive notifications for apartment concierge services such as plumbing, carpentry, or smart home facilities can be pushed to your customers as text messages, on WhatsApp, or app alerts, after the date of possession.
Real estate chatbots embrace the API economy and can be deployed across social media channels, like Facebook Messenger. This, in addition to text messages, e-mails, smartphone apps, and the website ensures your business has a ubiquitous presence no matter where your customer is.
Down the Line
In April 2016, an experiment was conducted where a real-estate agent and a chatbot were pitted against each other in Denver. They were each given three days, at the end of which, it was deduced that the chatbot was able to “read between the lines” as to what the buyer really wanted, based on his responses to properties shown earlier. The final choice that the buyer went with was one of those that the chatbot had recommended.
That was almost four years ago. Chatbots have come a long way since then, both in terms of how advanced they are, as well as how many businesses are adopting them. Chatbot solution providers are coming up with a lot of ideas by which they can make the AI more engaging and human-like. Chatbots that can understand sentiment, behavior and other nuances of human expression are already making their rounds in the market. These chatbots that have a personality of their own can handle and accommodate anything between frustrated customers, statistics enthusiasts, buyers who want straightforward options, and the occasional joke lover. With the help of deep learning and natural language processing techniques, along with infusing pop culture references, news around the world, and other urban stories, chatbots will come close to—if not better than—being like humans.
Want to buy a house? Ask the bot. Want to sell a house? Ask the bot. Not sure what the going rate is for an apartment in a neighborhood? “Ask the bot.”