Knock Knock, Who’s There… BetterBot!

Announcing BetterBot’s newest partnership and integration with Knock.

Good news! BetterBot has formally integrated with the Knock CRM calendar.  Now, when prospective renters use BetterBot and want to schedule an appointment, available times will appear in the BetterBot experience. And, BetterBot will write the appointment back to the Knock calendar so everyone is in sync.

“Knock did a terrific job a few years back of putting appointment scheduling front and center in our Industry,” said Robert Turnbull, President and co-founder of BetterBot. “Coupled with their CRM tools, Knock has moved into a pole position as a front-office platform. Connecting BetterBot’s scheduling functionality to Knock’s calendaring just makes sense.”

Using Knock’s Knock Now solution, BetterBot now has a real-time view into the leasing team’s open and available appointment times. The prospective renter can select from among BetterBot’s four Intelligent Appointment types including In-Person, Self-Guided, Live-Video, and Phone appointments all of which include BetterBot’s appointment/Covid-19 protocols when scheduling various appointments. Once a prospect selects a time, BetterBot drops the calendar and all relevant prospect information into Knock’s calendar and award-winning CRM solution.

“Knock is becoming the gold standard for calendar integrations in the Multifamily space,” explained Stuart Bern, VP of Business Development & Partnerships at Knock. “Wherever consumers need appointment information we want to provide an excellent experience with best-of-breed solutions like BetterBot.”

About Knock

Knock is an award-winning platform that maximizes the revenue of multifamily communities through front office technology and business analytics tools. Property management companies and multifamily operators rely on Knock to easily organize communication across every channel, coordinate and schedule tours and leverage insights to improve marketing and leasing effectiveness, driving better performance and improving NOI. For more information, please visit www.knockcrm.com.

About BetterBot

Today’s renter wants control over the leasing process and access to information wherever, whenever, but today’s leasing team simply can’t keep up. BetterBot is Multifamily’s most adopted digital leasing solution providing renters the information they want 24/7/365 anywhere on the Internet. Using the most technologically advanced software to answer the renters’ questions about the community, BetterBot showcases floor plans, virtual tours, specials and amenities while driving them to schedule in-person, self-guided, live-video and phone appointments. BetterBot is the round-the-clock leasing assistant of choice, freeing up leasing teams from low-value, menial and repetitive tasks so they can do what they do best, being human. 

Related Links

www.betterbot.ai
www.knockcrm.com

BetterBot Announces Integration with Power Pro Leasing

Partnership paves the way for seamless interaction between multifamily’s leading chatbot and leasing app solution

ATLANTA, GA. , Dec. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — BetterBot, a leading chatbot provider for the multifamily industry, announced on Friday a partnership and integration with Power Pro Leasing, the best-in-class mobile leasing app for apartment operators.

Now, prospects taking virtual and self-guided tours through the Power Pro app will have access to a BetterBot chatbot, allowing them to get accurate, instant answers to their questions while they tour. Instant answers accelerate the leasing process and drive more lease conversions. The integration also will allow prospects to schedule guided and self-guided tours through BetterBot that will seamlessly sync into Power Pro’s user interface.

“We are relentless about improving our solutions at Power Pro. This integration with BetterBot represents a significant improvement in the prospect experience,” said Ian Andrews, co-founder of Power Pro. “More than ever, today’s prospects demand instant answers to their questions. If your community can’t provide those instant answers, you’re going to lose that prospect. With a high-quality chatbot from BetterBot at their disposal, operators can rest easy knowing their prospects will get their questions answered in a suitable timeframe.”

The Power Pro mobile app empowers leasing associates to perform all of the critical leasing tasks and gather needed information from a prospect from anywhere. Through Power Pro, leasing associates can execute live Zoom tours or record and send personalized video tours to prospects. Through the app’s Tour to Go feature, leasing associates can send customized e-brochures to prospects and share floor plans and photos as well as the pricing of a prospect’s favorite apartment as quick, personalized takeaways after tours. Power Pro also provides a leading self-guided tour solution and a self-check-in feature for visiting prospects.

Taken together, Power Pro’s solutions reflect the company’s Tour Your Way philosophy. Power Pro’s goal is to give teams options so they can create the best leasing experience possible while giving prospects the exact experience they desire.

“BetterBot and Power Pro have a common interest as we both want to provide the prospective renter more control over the leasing process,” said Robert Turnbull, Co-Founder of BetterBot. “By combining our solutions, we’re providing operators and communities the tools they need to keep renters moving along the buyer’s journey to a new lease 24/7/365.”

Power Pro’s solutions fully integrate with major property, revenue and lead management software platforms, including RealPage’s OneSite, ILM, Yardi’s RENTCafé, Entrata, Yieldstar and LRO.

About BetterBot

Today’s renter wants control over the leasing process and access to information wherever, whenever, but today’s leasing team simply can’t keep up. BetterBot is Multifamily’s most adopted digital leasing solution providing renters the information they want 24/7/365 anywhere on the Internet. Using the most technologically advanced software to answer the renters’ questions about the community, BetterBot showcases floor plans, virtual tours, specials and amenities while driving them to schedule in-person, self-guided, live-video and phone appointments. BetterBot is the round-the-clock leasing assistant of choice, freeing up leasing teams from low-value, menial and repetitive tasks so they can do what they do best, being human. 

About Power Pro Leasing

Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Power Pro Leasing’s iPad-based software technology enhances consumers’ apartment search and leasing experience while at the same time enabling the leasing professional to become more efficient in the leasing and management processes. Predicated on customer-centric needs, the program is designed to raise closing ratios and increase leases for everyone from the greenest to the most senior leasing professionals. When integrated with an apartment community’s property management software, Power Pro enables single-entry data and real-time information. This means properties make more money through more leases and increased efficiencies.

Related Links
https://www.betterbot.ai/

property management chatbot

More than Just a Trend: How AI is Reshaping Fashion and Beauty

In fashion, AI has first been embraced by big brands such as Amazon, Adidas, and Zara. Adidas, for instance, has voice-assisted in-store robots, while competitors are now following Zara after it partnered with Jetlore for a consumer behavior prediction platform. Zara’s aim to create “full integration between store and online stock rooms” is becoming an industry trend. Across the fashion world, consumer-facing AI solutions have been focused on improving personalisation and customer experience.

But AI has also crept into supply chain optimisation, inventory management, and other aspects of production. H&M and Adidas have begun integrating ‘smart’, interconnected robots into production to gain leverage. On the other side of the room are efforts to predict fashion trends and create products that fit these trends. For instance, Indonesian entrepreneur Lingga Madu has gained global attention after using AI to predict what styles will blow up and which ones will flop.

Similar efforts can be seen in the cosmetics industry, as the sector is now tapping into AI to improve customer engagement and relevancy. Mobile apps such as Modiface and HiMirror claim to be capable of assessing your face’s quality and even give you skincare advice. Estée Lauder, Sephora, Benefit, and others have developed their own apps with basically the same features, all powered by AI. Olay’s wildly popular app even lets you identify which parts of your face are most prone to ageing while also addressing other problems.

Taking this concept further, Swedish beauty tech brand FOREO’s has developed a cleansing device called LUNA fofo which can read hydration levels and suggest a personalised skincare routine. FOREO founder and CEO Filip Sedic even said that they plan to “detect air quality and [the] user’s skin conditions in real time,” making the device “the world’s smallest beauty coach.”

Nonetheless, despite these lofty claims, these fashion and beauty innovations are not without some blind spots. While AI has the capacity to process huge amounts of skin data based on user photos and facial recognition, factors such as lighting and picture quality play a huge part in the overall assessment. Indeed, there is a lot of pseudo-science in the world of skincare. For instance, Olay’s vague concept of “skin age”, while its very convenient idea, it is not backed by hard science.

While we can’t doubt that AI and machine learning can transform these industries, it is difficult to make out the exact shape of the things to come. When asked about using AI to address negative fast fashion practices, Elle writer Jo Fuertes stated that a sustainable and ethical future for fashion “requires a seismic cultural shift in how humans work together, not a technological one.” AI is driving more personalised consumer experiences, but it is still underpinned by traditional market models. Unless we see AI radically transforming these models from the ground up, what we can only expect from it today are on-point recommendations and fancy camera tricks for your social media feed.

property management chatbot

Beware the Lead Snare!

Snare: verb, To catch or involve by trickery or wile

“Come stay at our beautiful resort for the weekend free of charge! And all you have to do is spend 1 hour with our wonderful resort sales consultants.”

If you’ve ever had the truly mind-numbing experience of a time-share review, you understand the uncomfortable feeling that comes along with it. The feeling you got tricked into a sales pitch and the guilt that comes along with saying no to these folks who are putting you up free for the weekend. Nobody likes feeling trapped.

Well, that’s exactly what lead snares are. Consumers are lulled into what seems like a valuable interaction only to find out that they’ve been duped into becoming a lead for some business. And it’s unfortunately all too common for prospective renters in the Multifamily Industry.

Lead snares come in all sizes and shapes in our Industry. Though some may argue a lead is a lead, that is simply not true. Many prospective renters don’t even know they’ve become a lead, have little knowledge about a particular apartment community, nor any desire to live there because it doesn’t fit their income profile, desired location, or property type. So, becoming one of these leads is not only frustrating to the prospective renter, but to the property spending time on responding to these low-value, uninterested, uninformed renters.

Below are just a few lead snare examples that are most common in Multifamily:

ILS Proliferation Tactics – Some, actually most, Multifamily Internet Listing Sites (ILSs) in an effort to generate more leads for their advertising properties proliferate leads. Meaning they turn one lead into many. One example is when a renter fills out a personal profile or a web form for a specific property and the ILS says, “There are 5 more properties near this area that fit your profile. Would you like to contact them as well?”  Because the ILS makes it so easy to send these additional leads with the click of a button, the prospect will often do this. So that high-value lead that was going to go to one property of interest just became a low-value lead to 5 more properties, none of which the prospective renter likely knows much about.

Lead Generation Bots – As bots increasingly enter the Multifamily space, you can typically drop them into one of two buckets: Lead Gen Bots or Conversational Leasing Bots. What’s the difference?  Lead Gen Bots fall into three categories:

Call Center Bots – These bots are not designed to manage the bulk of renter inquiries within the bot experience, but rather pass the conversation off to a call center employee. This is a terrible user experience that drives a sub 30% CSAT score. Here’s an excellent article explaining why in great detail: link to article.

Social Media Bots – These bots can be deceptive in that a prospect has all their personal information shared with the property simply by clicking on the bot itself. How? If it’s powered on a platform like Facebook for example, Facebook has all your information which is passed along to the property simply by clicking on the bot. The prospect might not be at all interested in the property but will show up in a CRM just the same.

Capture Bots: These bots focus on one thing and one thing alone…get more leads!  That’s why they ask for a prospective renter’s personal information up front such as name, email, phone.  This is a bad user experience as consumers don’t want to provide personal information at the start. They want the information they want first, and then they might be willing to provide their contact information for additional purposes such as an appointment or a brochure.  Data shows that for every piece of contact information asked for upfront, the user defection rate grows from 10% upward to 75% depending on how much info is required.

So what’s a Conversational Leasing Bot? These bots are designed to simply answer questions and provide information up front. No contact info is required to use these bots. Only after a prospective renter wants an action such as an appointment, a brochure emailed to them, etc., does the bot ask for contact information. And if the prospect has a question the bot can’t answer, it’s not hot-transferred to a human which sounds nice, but actually provides a poor overall experience. The information is packaged up and in seconds sent to the property for an asynchronous response.

Survey Widgets – These are buttons and widgets that sit on a property website that ask a series of questions in an effort to get more leads. Some of these Survey Widgets will entice people to use their solution by offering to put the user in a drawing for free rent. This tactic can certainly generate more interaction and inquiries, but not leads. There is very little value in these survey widgets once the math is done. Below is a typical product cycle when implementing these widgets:

Month 1 – Widget launched. Property sees significant uptick in “lead” volume.
Month 2 – Higher volume of “leads” remain, yet appointments and leases have not markedly increased.
Month 3 – Lead volume stays high, however, conversion of leads to appointments and leases dramatically decreased. Property is doing more work responding to leads, but not seeing a corresponding increase.
Month 4 – Did deep dive into data. Discovered many of the “leads” were actually current residents who entered the drawing to win a free month’s rent. Still no increase in overall appointments and leases.
Month 5 – Dropped survey widget from the site. Leads normalized to past volume. Lead to appointment and lead to lease conversion ratios improved. Property spending less time working low-value leads.

Bottom line: Today’s technology and marketing solutions should decrease cost and/or time spent driving and managing renter leads. Anything else is a lead snare sending low-value leads making your people work twice as hard for half the results. Sometimes more isn’t more, so beware the lead snare

property management chatbot

What Is Robotic Process Automation?

Through the use of specialized software, you can eliminate repetitive tasks from your team’s workload.

As technology continues to advance, humankind is finding more efficient ways to use emerging technology to simplify and eliminate repetitive tasks. One such advancement is the ominously named robotic process automation, which leverages software to make repetitive tasks a thing of the past. While RPA is more common in the enterprise realm, small businesses can also utilize this emergent tech.

What is robotic process automation?

Though its name might evoke images of an uprising of metal and lasers, robotic process automation is anything but that. At its core, RPA is a piece of “robot” software that lets users reduce the number of repetitive tasks they need to do on a computer by mimicking those actions.

From timecard management to data entry, RPA tools eliminate the need for employees to spend their time on computer-based, routine tasks. Instead, employees can focus their energies where they’re actively needed, increasing overall productivity.

Because of its relatively new status on the automation front and increased hype surrounding the technology, researchers at Forrester estimated that the RPA market would balloon from $250 million in 2016 to $2.9 billion in 2021.

How does robotic process automation work?

Since RPA is not powered by artificial intelligence, it needs some level of human interaction to work. It’s after that initial setup that the magic happens.

To get RPA working, a person must first teach it the actions that will be automated on the computer or virtual machine. Whenever an application is opened, a mouse click is initiated, a new task is started, or some other action is taken in an application, an RPA can be taught to do those same actions as a set of programmable rules and instructions. After each step is mapped out, the program can run those manual tasks back, recreating each action with incredible speed and precision.

While RPA by itself is not considered AI, the two can work in tandem to pick up how an employee completes certain tasks. Through the inclusion of intelligent bots, RPA software can actively follow a person’s actions on a computer. Once enough data is collected, the bot and the RPA it’s attached to can begin handling whatever processes it needs to do by itself.

In both instances, RPA needs some form of data input to mimic. Once it gets that data, however, it’s off to the races with those tasks, freeing up precious resources to be allocated elsewhere within your company. Both explanations are at the very basic level of how RPA works, since this kind of software can handle as many as simple or complex processes as you need it to, based on the actions you want to automate.

What can RPA automate?

It doesn’t necessarily matter how big or small your business is – if there’s any computer-based drudge work you want to eliminate for yourself or your employees, RPA technology can handle it. General knowledge points to the idea that RPA is best for tasks that rely on repetitive actions. Tasks like data entry and returns processing are ideal fits for RPAs.

While speaking with The Enterprisers ProjectOlive chief product officer David Landreman listed four basic criteria for whether an RPA is the right tool for a specific repetitive task:

  • Is the process rule-based?
  • Can the process be repeated at regular intervals, or does it have an easily defined trigger?
  • Does the process have expected inputs and outputs?
  • Does the task have sufficient volume?

According to Guy Nadivi, director of business development at Ayehu, RPA is usually used for specific business functions like customer service, accounting and human resources.

The most common uses include tasks that “tend to involve a worker moving information from one system to another,” Nadivi told business.com. “A typical example might be taking regular hours, overtime hours, [and] sick time from a timecard, consolidating them for a given individual, then inputting those numbers into a payroll system. Some have argued that a more accurate term for this category of software might be ‘clerical process automation.'”

No matter what the technology is used for, the ever-changing nature of technology and efficiency-minded software means RPA could eventually handle more complex tasks. Shay Antebi, chief technology officer of Kryon Systems, believes that to be the case because it’s “still a young technology.”

“I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what RPA can do,” he said. “RPA is the perfect technology for offloading time-intensive, repetitive processes that can drag down productivity or create a sense of boredom for human workers.”

What are the benefits of robotic process automation?

Along with the reduction in repetitive tasks and the ability to free up employees to be productive in other areas of your business, RPA has some other inherent benefits that any business would find valuable. Sagi Eliyahu, co-founder and CEO of Tonkean, said using more adaptive process automation helped his client, Shopping Angels, address the biggest operational issue in its organization.

“Instead of asking state coordinators to spend their time manually assessing which volunteers were in the closest proximity to each other and contacting them one by one, they automated that process, giving state coordinators more time to fix issues and interact directly with shoppers in need,” Eliyahu said. “That’s a huge deal for a nonprofit that wants to put all their energy into what really matters: helping people in need.”

Here are some other examples of how a good RPA can help businesses of all sizes.

Reduced costs

Automation in its many forms is well known for its ability to cut operating costs as a sort of digital workforce. If you no longer need an employee to handle a certain task because of automation, you are spending less money on that task. Similarly, RPA can cut costs that can be due to human error, since the software will handle its functions accurately as long as it was taught correctly.

More engaged employees

Doing repetitive tasks for hours on end can be a mentally and emotionally draining experience. Implementing an RPA robot to handle boring tasks frees up employees to work on more engaging activities that increase their attentiveness, boost morale and, in the case of businesses that regularly deal with the public, provide a better overall customer experience.

Easy, flexible implementation

Since RPA mimics a person’s actions when completing tasks, programming it is relatively easy. No coding knowledge is necessary, and it can easily transfer from one task to another. As businesses grow, RPA can scale with them to meet their changing needs.

Interoperability with legacy systems

Since RPA mimics a person’s actions on a computer, it does not replace any existing software to function. Operating as a virtual employee, a well-trained RPA can leverage all existing technology on your company’s computers to complete tasks.

What are some robotic process automation tools?

As the fastest-growing area of enterprise software on the market, RPA has a wide range of offerings available on the internet. If you believe your small business could benefit from a reduction in repetitive tasks so you can focus on more important matters, you may want to check out the following tools that some business owners we spoke with have used.

Automation Anywhere

Automation Anywhere touts its secure platform and AI-augmented functionality that carries out various tasks in compliance with government regulations across the globe. As a more enterprise-focused service, Automation Anywhere’s pricing starts at $750 per month for the Cloud Starter Pack, which it claims is for small businesses or teams.

Blue Prism

Based in the U.K., Blue Prism is another enterprise-level RPA provider. It currently serves more than 1,800 clients (including Fortune 500 brands) around the globe, claiming a 90% “average customer satisfaction rate” and a 98% customer retention rate. Pricing is not available on its website, though Blue Prism does offer a free 30-day trial.

Zapier

Like the other vendors, Zapier provides software that can automate repetitive tasks. Its pricing is why Zapier might be more small business friendly than the other two vendors. Packages start at 750 tasks per month for $19.99 per month when billed annually or $24.99 when billed on a month-to-month basis. Costs go as high as $3,599 per month annually or $4,498.75 on a monthly basis for 2 million tasks per month. For users who don’t need to automate that many functions, Zapier offers a free version that handles 100 tasks per month.

property management chatbot

BetterBot just got a whole lot better!

In the early 90s Billy Crystal starred in a movie called City Slickers.  There was a poignant scene where actor Jack Palance explains the secret to life to Billy’s character Mitch.  “You know what the secret to life is? One thing. Just one thing. Once you figure it out, you stick to that.”

At BetterBot we take that sentiment to heart and focus on just one thing: Bot technology.  It’s all we focus on so we can stay years ahead of any other solution in the Multifamily Marketplace.  Every other company in our Industry offering a bot solution is tied to a primary or legacy product.  Their solution to bot technology is a secondary thought which shows both in the stability of their platform and the results it generates vs. BetterBot.

And now, BetterBot just took a major leap forward by completing a 6-month platform refactor. BetterBot’s new and improved enterprise-grade platform now includes the most advanced, newest and robust bot, AI, and automation technology available today.  So what’s the difference?  BetterBot today has:

  • True enterprise grade architecture which allows for any kind of standardized integration so management companies can build bots in seconds, and update information in real-time.
  • A backend that gives complete control to clients who want to closely customize and manage their brand, content and get up-to-the-minute reporting.
  • The fastest responding bot, even during peak hours, with thousands of concurrent renter conversations.
  • A platform that allows for sub-vertical user pathways such as student housing, affordable housing, single-unit rentals, and more.
  • Easier deployment to any channel in the digital marketplace such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Craigslist, etc.
  • Intelligent Appointment Types that allows for In-Person, Self-Guided, Live-Video and/or Phone appointments with dynamic Covid-19 protocols built in.
  • The ability to host virtually any kind of virtual/3D/video tours in the actual bot experience. No other bot does this!
  • Deeper integrations with property management software solutions, CRMs and calendars.

And BetterBot continues to perfect its Guided Conversation methodology that outperforms clunky, slow, and easily-confused NLP (Natural Language Processing) bot competitors. BetterBot averages 3-5x the conversation, lead and appointment generating capability of any other bot in Multifamily.  

Let BetterBot go head-to-head with whatever solution you use or are considering. We’re confident you’ll come to the same conclusion that more than 100 Multifamily property management companies have: BetterBot is truly a better bot. 

WebsiteLasVegas

Is your site looking like Las Vegas?

I used to fly into Vegas three or four times a year.  I especially loved coming in at nighttime and seeing all the bright lights, flashing neon signs and the general busyness of people milling around.  That’s definitely fun when you’re preparing to land and spend some time in the Sun City.

What’s not fun is when you’re thinking of moving to an apartment, going to their site and seeing flashing buttons, call-to-actions everywhere and…well…just general busyness.  It’s not only hard to navigate, it’s just plain hard to look at. 

I get it. There are so many tools, widgets and solutions available today that help a prospective renter, we want to make sure they know about it.  But there’s a better way of going about this.  Imagine a prospect walks into a leasing office and the leasing agent sprints to the door carrying 7 fliers and tells the prospect they need to read all of this right now. Of course this is going to overwhelm the prospect and the agent doesn’t yet know what specific information the prospect is really seeking. Good agents greet with a smile, ask what they’re in the market for, and allow the conversation to take its natural course.

 Well, a bot…a good bot that is…is very similar to that leasing agent.  The bot pops up and says, “Hey, I’m here if you need me.” When engaged, the bot can provide all of sorts of options and allows the prospective renter to guide the conversation.  If the prospect wants to know about the pet policy or amenities, great! If they want to know about availability, terrific.  If they want to talk to a current resident to get their perspective, even better. And if they want to schedule an appointment, score!  All of these actions can be met and facilitated by the bot.

Bot technology when done right isn’t just one more thing to add to a property website and other marketing channels.  The right kind of bot can carry all of those other widgets and their functionality within the bot experience freeing up your site so it can breathe again. And if you really like the job your digital agent (bot) is doing, feel free to send it to Las Vegas for a little fun in the sun.

apartment chatbot

BetterBot Announces Intelligent Appointments w/ COVID Protocols

 

My how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our thinking of how to conduct business today. And it was inevitable that it would change how Multifamily communities engage prospective renters. For that reason, BetterBot is officially announcing the Industry’s first and only true automated Intelligent Appointments solutions with COVID protocols.

“Pre-COVID we booked appointments with the assumption the prospect would be walking in the door at some appointed time,” said Holly Berkey, Regional Marketing Director at Lincoln Property Company. “Today some of our communities are still not taking walk-in appointments, but we need to meet the prospective renter, show them the property, and get them leased. What’s more, is we need to protect our leasing team by vetting out any on-premise appointments as to whether the prospect is at risk of spreading COVID to our folks.”

Enter BetterBot’s Intelligent Appointment types offering 5 unique appointment and tour options:

3D Tours & Videos

When using BetterBot, prospects can view most any hosted virtual or video tour in the actual bot experience. Other solutions require a prospect to leave the bot and bounce out to the property website or wherever the tour or video is hosted. With BetterBot, prospects can view common platforms such as Zillow tours, Matterports, Vimeo, YouTube, Realync, Helix, FocalRack, RoundMe, LCP360, and more without ever leaving the bot. This is particularly important when the bot is engaged in channels like Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Instagram, Twitter, various ILSs, etc.

In-Person Appointments

BetterBot works seamlessly with most Multifamily and non-Multifamily calendar solutions. In the event a prospect wants to schedule an in-person appointment, BetterBot allows property management companies the ability to insert a vetting option prior to scheduling. For example, Holly at Lincoln asks prospects three questions up front such as:

  1.  Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or have you been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results?
  2. Have you come into close contact (within six feet) with someone who has had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
  3. Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F or 38.0 C) OR symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or a sore throat?

Only after answering negatively to all three will the bot allow prospects to schedule an in-person appointment. If they answer yes to any of them, the bot then provides off-site only options such as live-video or phone appointments.

Self-Guided Appointments

One of the more exciting options to enter the Multifamily space is the self-guided tour solution where prospective renters can visit the property without a leasing agent being present on the tour. BetterBot has or is in the process of integrating with six self-guided tour companies including Tour24, Rently, Smartrent, PowerPro, Pynwheel, and Anyone Home. And because this is an on-premise appointment, BetterBot’s COVID protocols can be used to determine the safety of this potential appointment before booking.

Live-Video Appointments

Many apartment communities are now offering live-video meetings and tours. BetterBot can help facilitate these by scheduling these appointments and delivering meeting links and instructions.

Phone Appointment

If a prospective renter would like an appointment time to talk on the phone, BetterBot will check the community’s respective calendar and schedule an open time. In addition, alerts, instructions, and notices will be sent to both the leasing team as well as the prospective renter.

Question: What if I don’t offer all of these appointment types?

Answer: No problem. Your BetterBot will only show the appointment type(s) your community offers. Also, the “COVID protocols” are completely flexible to suit your preferred wording and can work to set expectations for every appointment type your community offers.

BetterBot: Better Conversations. Better Leasing.

apartment chatbot

The Fight Against COVID-19 Is the Moment Robots Have Been Waiting For

Whether they’re falling into fountains, knocking down toddlers, or losing a fight against an unruly drunk, when robots in office spaces make headlines, it’s often because of a comical mishap. But, our troubled robotic operating buddies may have finally found their moment. In the time of COVID, when limiting human interaction in offices and public spaces is paramount, landlords and property managers are taking another look at what robots can do. A tidal wave of robots aimed at coronavirus prevention is sweeping through the PropTech industry. 

“The coronavirus has created a need for robots because they can reduce direct contact between people,” Mira Robotics CEO Ken Matsui told Reuters. The Tokyo-based startup has found a new purpose for its “Ugo” robot: ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The robot uses UV hand attachments mounted on adjustable arms to roll around via remote control, using the UV light to kill viruses on door handles, toilets, and other surfaces. 

Russia-based Promobot has developed its own robot, designed to screen people and take their temperatures before they enter a building. Promobot’s latest version, dubbed Thermocontrol, also questions people about symptoms, gives advice about avoiding the virus, and hands out facemasks. Silicon Valley-based Knightscope has been pushing free updates to its robots in the field, which now promote COVID prevention by broadcasting public safety and social distancing reminders to those within ear shot. The list of new or improved robots aimed at fighting the virus goes on and on. 

What sets the robots apart is their efficacy. UV robots in particular have been proven to be faster and more effective than their human counterparts. Many have been clinically tested, achieving a 99.99% level of disinfection in half the time it takes a human worker. Most importantly, the robots never stop and are immune to the virus, so they won’t catch it or spread it. 

After decades of missing the mark, social robots have found something they can do better than their human counterparts. That’s why facility managers are finally taking notice. Chinese hospitals have recently ordered more than 2,000 UV robots, and the units now operate in more than 40 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Sales of Neo, a floor-cleaning robot made by Canadian startup Avidbots, were already doubling on an annual basis before the coronavirus hit—but now sales have doubled again, the company’s CEO Faizan Sheikh told Fortune. San Antonio-based Xenex, maker of a disinfecting robot known as LightStrike that uses technology developed by John Hopkins University, has been running its manufacturing facility 24/7 to keep up with skyrocketing demand, up 600 percent. 

Robotic companies are in an all-out race to seize the moment, and investor money is pouring into the industry. There has never been an appetite for automation quite like the current moment. Cleaning robots are already being rolled out in some of the nation’s most prolific stores, like Kroger and Walmart, which just placed another order for 1,500 more Brain cleaning robots. All that activity means a robot could be coming to your office building soon. 

“What we’re seeing in the market in general now is a lot of pull from places like hotels, from airports, airlines, schools, government office buildings, private office buildings, doctors’ offices,” Xenex CEO Morris Miller told Spectrum News. While payment plans vary, from rentals to outright ownership, each robot has an immense cost. Xenex’s LightStrike robots cost around $100,000. On the lower end, Mira Robotics’ Ugo bot can be rented for $1,000 a month. 

Knightscope’s patrol and surveillance bots charge by the hour, coming in at around $122,000 a year. While those costs may have been prohibitive in the past, facility managers and landlords are starting to see the cost-benefit analysis differently. To be competitive, historically commercial robots are priced largely on who they replace, Medhat Moussa, Robotic Engineering Professor at Canada’s University of Guelph, explained. Now people responsible for public spaces like office buildings are starting to see robots as an insurance policy, rather than a labor cost.

“What’s the cost of a COVID outbreak? It’s astronomical,” Moussa said. “That’s the insurance policy cost robotics can help with. If you understand these robots can prevent disease and offer early detection, you see lots of funding. If one of these ‘bots prevents an outbreak or catches it early, it can be mitigated. If offices can’t control the virus, the losses are massive.” 

Getting workers back into the office was always going to be a struggle. Amid a growing second-wave of the coronavirus, that task has only become more difficult. Half of American professionals are reluctant to go back to the office, according to a survey by Korn Ferry conducted in early June. When asked what precautions they want to see employers take as offices reopen, temperature checks, regular and documented deep cleanings and enforced social distancing were among the top responses in a Citrix survey of more than two thousand American office workers. 

“Crises shift perceptions on what is possible regarding investment and transformative action on the part of both private and government actors. By the time the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, robots will be mainstreamed across a range of applications and markets,” Rian Whitton, senior analyst at ABI Research, said in a release. “Automating disinfection is a key part of maintaining health and safety and could be one of the major bright spots in the response to COVID-19.”

Robots can help offices reopen safely. Disinfection, deep cleaning, surveillance, temperature checks, and social distancing enforcement can all be automated in office buildings to keep employees safer. In the world of industrial real estate, robots are ubiquitous. From assembly lines to warehouses, they’ve become essential. As the world comes together to fight against the coronavirus, they may become just as essential in our office buildings. Social robots are finally evolving from accident-prone machines into the helpers we dreamed they could be. 

apartment chatbot

How Much Time/Money is a Bot Really Saving?

During the course of a typical conversation around bot technology, a question that often comes up is, “How much time and money is a bot really saving me?”  It’s a difficult question to answer because there’s really not one answer. 

There are three answers.  Let’s start with answer #1:

The Work

Let’s look at what a typical bot does in a given month for an average property when deployed on a property website and additional channels in the digital marketplace. Additional channels could include  Facebook Messenger/Marketplace, Google Ads/MyBusiness, Yelp, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

The average Multifamily bot  greets around 3,000 prospective renters, has about 400 conversations, answers around 450 questions, hands off around 13 high-interest/high-intent conversations to the leasing staff, and schedules an average of 12 appointments a month. In the chart below we calculate the savings based on the estimated amount of time a human leasing agent paid an average hourly rate plus benefits would take to accomplish specific tasks.

What can we glean from this?

  1. Well, the bot handles the same volume of tasks at nearly 1/6th of the time for less than 1/10th of the cost.
  2. The bot saved the leasing staff almost 80 hours of work and more than $1,300 if in fact the leasing staff were to actually do all of these tasks.
  3. If the property were to pay the bot the same hourly rate as a human ($18/hour), the bot is being grossly underpaid ($149/month), even when recognizing the bot is working 6x faster. The bot should actually be paid $273 for the 15 hours it put in.

The Bump

When property marketers deploy a bot solution to their property website and in the digital marketplace they see an immediate lead, conversation and appointment bump of 20%+.  Why? Today’s consumer, especially the renter demographic, is less and less inclined to make phone calls and really doesn’t like filling out webforms.  Often they’ll just pass through your social outreach, ads and website without engaging. But they’ll engage with conversational technology, especially a bot that’s quick and provides what they’re looking for in less than a minute. This is tantamount to putting a fuel additive in your marketing gas tank to drive more efficiencies in your consumer outreach.

The easiest way to quantify the value of “The Bump” is simply figure out how much it would cost to drive 20% more leads, conversations and appointments to your respective properties. Then apply that to answer #1.

And all the Other Stuff…

What’s not being factored into the above calculations is: A bot works 24/7/365, doesn’t get snowed in, take sick days or require benefits. Can handle 3, 5, 20…an unlimited number of conversations covering a dozen topics all at the same time. Can be deployed on virtually every digital channel to instantly meet and greet prospective renters anywhere, any time. Look up and coordinate complex calendaring and appointment scheduling in seconds, see and convey unit availability and pricing in under a second, show virtual tours and videos at the click of a button, and so much more.

In close, let’s be very clear about one thing: Bots will never replace humans. They simply create efficiencies of marketing scale while reducing repetitious tasks that humans either don’t do, don’t like to do, or don’t do very well.  Humans will always be needed to handle interactions that require thought, empathy and complexity. So let’s let humans be humans and bots do the rest.