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10 Reasons Why Real Estate Needs Conversational AI

Posted On Wednesday, 23 September 2020 22:06

The real estate industry, like many others, has been confronted by major challenges during 2020. Virtual viewings, remote agents, heightened concerns about cleaning – navigating this altered landscape has required out-of-the-box thinking and the willingness to adapt. Overall, stakeholders in real estate have met the shifting demands of buyers and sellers remarkably well. The stand-out technology at the center of that transformation is conversational AI.

Although the long-term consequences of recent global events are unknown, the Global Real Estate Market Outlook indicates that real estate sectors with resilient income, such as industrial, residential and some alternative and long-income sectors, are holding up well – and that pricing is likely to “remain largely unscathed.” Indeed, with a large percentage of people now working from home for the foreseeable future, many homes have gained added value. That said, there is uncertainty, and some pessimism, over the future value of commercial office space. 

Regardless of ambiguous market conditions, the real estate industry stands to benefit from embracing innovative ideas and technologies in an age where interactions and services have become increasingly digital. Even prior the pandemic, there was a new mandate for the delivery of content surrounding real estate. Zillow’s 2019 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that 71% of renters who inquire about a listing expect to hear back from the landlord or property manager within 24 hours, but only 51% of renters say they receive the timely responses they expect. With that in mind, implementing conversational AI is a no-brainer. What began as simple chatbots, conversational AI has become so much more – virtual voice and text assistants that can generate leads, automate conversational flows for buyers and renters, and nurture better interactions. The rich capabilities of modern chatbots powered by AI, coupled with the cost savings they usually provide, means their implementation is a win-win for businesses and consumers alike. But what other benefits are really worth the investment? Without further ado, here are the ten key reasons why the real estate industry needs to adopt conversational AI.

1. Keep the Phone Lines Clear

Any busy office – a real estate agency or otherwise – will be familiar with the sound of multiple ringing telephones all at once. It’s typically a sign that business is good (unless all the phone calls are from irate creditors). In the property game, there are calls from buyers, sellers, renters, landlords, agents, cleaners, banks and mortgage brokers – the enquiries can pile up and, during the high seasons, chaos reigns supreme. With conversational AI installed, you’re still likely to receive calls – just not as many, since your voice-optimized AI call assistant or web-based chatbot will lighten the load. Of course that’s the case, when, according to Oracle, 80% of queries can be automated by AI. Bonus: no frustrated customers sitting on hold.

2. Generate leads

People interested in renting, buying or selling a property typically have a whole host of questions to ask a real estate company. And based on the answers to those queries, they’ll decide whether to follow through or not. Conversational AI – whether via a website, phone call, social media or even SMS – allows such questions to be asked and satisfactory answers to be given, with would-be customers then entering the sales funnel for a follow-up conversation. The onus for generating leads isn’t on a staff member who might have a million other tasks on their mind; it’s on a conversational interface that never gets tired and relies on a constant stream of data to tailor the perfect response.

3. Better understand customer intent

Because chatbots are continually evolving based on the information and content they ingest, their use can help real estate companies gain a deeper, richer understanding of what customers are looking for. Natural language processing (NLP), like natural language generation (NLG), and natural language understanding (NLU), has improved massively in recent years and it’s now far less frequent for conversational AI to encounter a query that is impossible to understand or interpret. If you want to keep customers happy, this type of robust intent recognition is essential.

Just ask Hyro, a New York-based start-up whose focus is rooted in completely understanding the linguistics behind conversational solutions, so that they’re able to roll out chat and voice experiences that can comprehend and process almost any user query. Automatically mapping out the language of realtors, or patients, or customers, means being able to supply plug-and-play conversational interfaces that boast more meaningful interactions. Having helped clients in industries such as healthcare, government and, yes, real estate, Hyro seems to have a solid fix on using NLP to capture real intent and respond accurately.

4. Learn how to configure impactful content

The data doesn’t just flow towards conversational AI tools; it’s bidirectional, meaning companies who integrate chatbots are continually building up data-rich conversational logs. From those analytics, businesses are able to easily optimize the type of content to show and the method by which it’s delivered. Hyro, for instance, calls this “conversational intelligence” – the ability to apply customer word of mouth to sales and marketing in real-time. These collected metrics can then feed into the realtor’s digital strategy, from which marketing channels to favor, to which houses buyers prefer to all online services in high demand.

5. Improving average response time

Imagine you receive an email query from a millionaire client looking to put his nine-bed mansion on the market. It arrives at 6pm on Friday, after the office has closed, and the following Monday is a public holiday. In an ideal world, you could respond on Tuesday morning and seal the deal. But what if the seller churns and takes his business elsewhere? With conversational AI, you can responsively address every single query that comes in. With quicker response times, your clients will be happier and your reputation will strengthen.

6. Reduce costs

According to Deloitte, chatbots can reduce costs by 15-70% depending on the customer channel interactions rerouted to AI-enabled alternatives. Integration costs are also low, and plug and play solutions that don’t require high upkeep and maintenance keep things even more lean. Even small businesses with modest budgets can afford to integrate an AI-powered chatbot into their digital offering.

7. Create an omni-channel experience

With conversational AI, realtors can integrate channels with each other so that all customers receive quality support no matter their medium. In other words, natural language processing has improved to the point of being able to task chatbots with managing conversations across all channels – website, social, phone and text – providing an asynchronous experience. It’s become far more feasible to have consistent messaging with chatbots that mimic natural everyday language.

8. Automate property viewings and meetings

No more of “let me grab my pen.” Conversational AI finds the perfect apartment, house and office for customers in real-time. With an API integration, appointments and meetings can be automated and diarized in a CRM or database. It’s that simple.

9. Improve conversions

Plenty of businesses have successfully used chatbot solutions to improve their conversion rate. How? By identifying a customer’s primary goal and helping them achieve it; by conveying information in a clear and concise way, and by personalizing their digital experience. There’s no reason why the real estate industry can’t benefit from implementing an AI-powered chatbot, whether the customer is a buyer, seller, renter or landlord.

10. 24/7 availability

Chatbots don’t turn up late for work. They don’t need holidays: they skip the mandatory lunch break and they never sleep. The advantages of having such a tool in your arsenal don’t need to be spelled out, but as far as real estate is concerned, think about the markets you could tap into if you’re available to answer queries 24/7. The potential to globally scale is huge.

Smart use of conversational AI won’t just boost your bottom line; it’ll deliver a richer customer experience and create positive engagement. If your real estate business has yet to take the plunge, it’s time to talk about conversational AI.

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