Experts are saying that Chatbots will have a bigger impact to Commerce than Smartphones. By now, I am sure you have heard about Chatbots from your friends, brokers, or technology providers. If you have been wondering what is a chatbot and how is it going to change anything for Real Estate, this short blog will help you get the basics right. First, let’s start with – What is a Chatbot?
Chat·bot /ˈCHatbät/ noun:
A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
There are a few key elements to this computer program.
The central goal of a Chatbot is to have conversations with human beings in natural language. While human beings can have conversations with each other on limitless topics, Chatbots, on the other hand, can engage in only a narrow set of topics. Although Chatbots cannot address unlimited topics, they do offer other benefits over human beings such as 24×7 availability, concurrent conversations with 100s of customers without any delay, and the high speed and accuracy with which information can be shared with customers. The biggest advantage of a chatbot is that it allows businesses to build a relationships with potential customers through a casual conversation.
Chatbots work on various messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, Telegram, and Slack. Chatbots also work on SMS and on customized Web chat widgets. Why is it relevant for chatbots to be available on these channels? Because that is where your customers are. 91% of online time spent is on Messenger services. Top 4 messenger services have now taken over the top 4 social platforms in terms of customer engagement. Another important element of chatbots is that unlike mobile apps, customers do not need to download a chatbot to engage with it. Customers simply look up a chatbot, in the same way they would look up a friend on a messenger service, and start messaging or texting. This aspect allows Chatbot to be accessible by millions of customers instantaneously.
As mentioned during the Conversations topic; chatbots can engage in a limited number of topics. A chatbot must be “schooled” on a specific set of topics. A chatbot schooled on various Real Estate topics becomes a Real Estate Chatbot. A Real Estate Chatbot would understand that a Rambler, Townhome, or Condo is a type of residential building. It would also understand what a customer wants to accomplish when they say “schedule a showing” or “I need mortgage pre approval.” This domain knowledge allows the Real Estate Chatbot to provide relevant information back to the customer and take actions in accordance with customer needs.
The big “so what” of the Real Estate Chatbot technology is what it can allow the Real Estate Agents to accomplish. It can handle a variety of tasks that allows the Real Estate Agent to spend more of their time closing homes and building a network in their communities, while delegating “busy work” to the Real Estate Chatbot. Chatbots can be especially productive in helping sort out leads that are ready to move forward compared to those that are just curious. Here are a few examples of what a Real Estate Chatbot could accomplish:
- Understand a customer’s needs – looking to buy or sell
- Answer customer generic questions regarding selling or buying a home
- Capture customer contact information and send the lead to the CRM system
- Set up showings for interested buyers
- Schedule meetings between Agent and a new buyer or seller
- Offer services such as mortgage pre-approvals
- Connect Facebook Ads to Facebook Chatbot to drive engagement and generate leads
Real Estate Chatbots leverage state of the art technology that allows them to engage customers in a conversation on a platform of customer’s choice. Their speed, scalability, and 24×7 availability makes Chatbots an ideal tool for customer engagement. As a Virtual Receptionist, Chatbots can answer customer questions and convert those conversations into leads for the Real Estate Agent.