This past year has been a real eye-opener in so many ways. One of the biggest revelations was our dependence on technology. From video conferencing to streaming content services to fitness accessories, technology now touches every aspect of our lives. Perhaps the biggest technological impact in the past year is the continued integration of artificial intelligence in our daily lives. Whether it’s the use of virtual voice assistants in the home or manufacturing robots in the workplace, A.I. is changing the way we interact with each other. It’s even changing the world of multifamily marketing.
On the surface, A.I. may seem like a tool that’s only accessible to giant corporations. However, that’s simply not the case. Chatbots, one of the most popular forms of A.I. marketing, are now easily accessible to small businesses thanks to free tools such as Google’s Dialogflow. Now small to medium enterprises can incorporate A.I. technology like chatbots into their marketing plans.
In the following article, we’ll explain chatbots, give examples of how they help multifamily properties provide a better user experience to prospective customers, and how they can generate leads.
What is a Chatbot?
Have you ever visited a website and been greeted by an icon that says “Hello! How can I help you today?” If so, then you were greeted by a chatbot. Chatbots or bots are computer applications that communicate with website visitors to enhance their experience. Using natural language processing, the chatbot icon acts as a virtual customer service representative that interprets visitors’ questions or requests and then responds accordingly or asks for more information so it may deliver the correct response.
Although it was very rudimentary when first introduced to the digital marketing world, chatbot technology has grown leaps and bounds. Natural language processing allows bots to better understand visitors’ intents and provide more accurate, pre-set responses in a way that reflects common human conversation.
Though mainly used by retailers in its infancy, chatbot technology is now being embraced by small businesses and service providers, including the multifamily industry.
How Chatbots Help
Since A.I. technology’s goal is to make life easier for customers and businesses, the multifamily industry benefits greatly from the use of chatbots. By building a chatbot, property owners create a 24-hour virtual customer service assistant who answers common questions and collects important information to generate leads.
The best place to start is with customer FAQs. Instead of navigating to various pages of a website or calling the leasing office to ask simple questions, a chatbot takes immediate action to point the visitor to the right page of the website or answer their questions outright.
Properties use chatbots to answer questions about prospective renter’s questions concerning pet policies, renter’s insurance, available floor plans, square footage, deposits and fees, available appliances, amenities offered, parking and more.
Although natural language processing helps chatbots understand the multiple phrases and various ways a customer may use to ask these FAQs, there are times when a customer’s response may confuse the bot. When a customer asks a question that the bot doesn’t understand, it asks for more information until it determines the correct answer. For example, if a visitor asks “Park” the bot asks for clarity: “I’m having trouble understanding the question. Would you please rephrase?” This prompts the visitor to be more specific: “What’s parking like?” Now the bot has the necessary info to properly respond with “On-site parking is plentiful for both residents and visitors! Private garage rental options are also available.”
Bots’ responses are also used to generate leads for properties, too. One example is if a customer asks, “How long is the lease?” the bot replies with an answer that includes a follow-up question such as “We offer annual leases and short-term leases of six months on select units. Would you like to learn more about our lease options?” If the customer replies “Yes” then the bot replies “Great! Please provide your name and number and I’ll have a leasing agent contact you at your earliest convenience!”
As you can see, chatbots not only save time answering common questions so leasing agents can spend more of their time focusing on day-to-day operations, they’re also effective when it comes to generating new prospective leads. According to recent trends, 55% of businesses that employ chatbots on their websites regularly generate higher-performing leads.
If you would like to learn more about how chatbots contribute to a better user experience and more high-quality leads, the multifamily marketing experts are ready to help. Contact us today!