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.

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 ($99/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.

A BetterBot Needs Better Advisors

Company announces official multifamily advisory team

Atlanta, GA, July 9, 2020 – BetterBot, the leader in Conversational Leasing™ technology in the Multifamily Industry has officially announced its newly formed advisory board.

“I’ve been in the Multifamily Industry for more than 20 years and have been fortunate to meet some of the keenest thinkers and up-and-comers our Industry has to offer,” said Robert Turnbull, president and co-founder of BetterBot. “We’ve asked some of those folks to provide their Industry experience and insight to – what was a little start up – now the fastest growing and most adopted Conversational Leasing™ solution in Multifamily.”

Though BetterBot has a long list of Multifamily executives that provide guidance and feedback on a daily and weekly basis, these individuals have agreed to officially help shape the BetterBot roadmap into 2021 and beyond (in alphabetical order):

Kim Boland

– Director of Digital Marketing for Morgan properties.

Kitty Callaghan

– Vice President of Marketing for Wasatch Property Management

Jonathan Ford

– Vice President of Marketing for Gates Hudson

Seth Kaplan

– Southeast Regional Marketing Director for Pinnacle Property Management Services

Ryan Perez

– Vice President, Marketing for CF Real Estate Services

Daryl Smith

– SVP & Chief Marketing Officer for Kettler

Candace Weaver

– Director of Marketing for Bell Partners, Inc.

Why Live Chat Doesn’t Work in Multifamily

For three years I worked for the largest live chat company in the world, Liveperson. They service more than 60% of all business-to-consumer live chats on their platform across the planet. They’re good at it, they know what they’re doing, and it works very well in most industries.

But it didn’t work in Multifamily.

It wasn’t the software. Liveperson literally started live chat 25 years ago and continues to be the leader in the live chat space.  It wasn’t the deployment.  It was easy to get the software hooked up and even easier to train folks to use it.  It wasn’t the people. Many management companies bought into the concept and we had great chat agents manning the chats for properties.

So why didn’t it work?  Simply put, live chat is the square peg in a round hole that is Multifamily. Allow me to explain:

Clicks. No matter how we presented the live chat button, only about about 2% of people on a property website actually clicked on the live chat option.  We never could entirely figure out why, but we just began to accept that prospective renters were not interested in live chatting.

Defections. Of those folks that did click on the live chat button, a full 50% stopped using it after only 2 exchanges or less. We eventually stopped asking for any kind of personally identifying information at the start such as the prospective renter’s name, email or phone, but that only reduced the defection to 40%.

Time Gap. After waiting an average of 1 minute, 45 seconds to connect to an agent, the average time in between a prospect asking a question and a chat agent responding was 76 seconds.  That may not sound like a lot of time, but when you ask a question and stare at a screen for a minute and 16 seconds, that feels like an eternity.  

Available People. Let’s face it, leasing agents at properties have a hundred things they’re working on at any given time. They don’t have the time nor the proper infrastructure to stop whatever they are doing to start and maintain a chat conversation which lasts an average of 8 minutes. And having a call/chat center respond to these chats is not only very expensive, they simply aren’t as knowledgeable about the property in question.

So what does work? Bots work! They solve most of the problems listed above as long as they are the right kind of bot (more on the “right” kind in a different article).  Just look at this data provided by BetterBot below:

Clicks – Avatars get an average 14% click rate on a property website which is 7x that of chat. And, some bots can be deployed on more than just a website such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Instagram, etc., significantly increasing clicks and conversations.

Defections – If a bot doesn’t ask for personal information up front, it will likely only get 10% of prospects x out before using. Most of those are people who are just wondering what this avatar is.

Time Gap – Unlike live chat’s average in-between time of 76 seconds, a typical bot’s response time is 1 second. And instead of 8 minutes for live chat, bots usually get through a conversation in 90 seconds. Helps explain why such little defection.

Available People – Don’t need them! A good bot can answer 80% of the questions a consumer has and schedule appointments, etc.  Blending or “hot transferring” bots to humans is a terrible idea as well. Here’s a great article that explains why.Bottom line, good bots work infinitely better than live chat in the Multifamily space. To see the difference, put live chat on 3 properties and a bot on 3 similar properties and after 60 days, you’ll see a dramatic difference in usage, questions answered, and appointments scheduled.  And best of all, bots are not only much less expensive, they work 24/7/365.

The Right Way, and the Wrong Way, to Hand Bot Conversations to Humans

Let’s face it, everyone agrees that bots are not as smart as humans and there are certain conversations that need to be escalated to human agents. However, not everyone agrees on what’s the best way to handle this and the “conventional wisdom” often favors immediate human handoff using live chat. Not so fast, read on to see the major pitfalls of this approach.

Problem #1: If a prospect is given the option to talk to a human when using a bot, the entire conversation is doomed for failure. Why? Because instead of trying to solve the reason a prospect might want to talk to a human, the bot developer elected to take the easy route and provide an instant human-handoff option. Also, bots can solve a lot of issues if given the chance and people can navigate good bots with relative ease. But if a giant detour sign is thrown in the middle of the conversation called “talk to a human,” many consumers will elect to take that route vs. seeing the bot through.

Problem #2: Bots are fast.  Really fast.  The average response time for a bot is less than 2 seconds.  So when a consumer using a bot clicks on “talk to a human,” they go from a 2-second response time to:

  • Waiting for the bot to find a human to connect with (anywhere from 60 seconds to as long as 5+ minutes).
  • Waiting for the human to review the conversation up to that point (if they even do that).
  • An average 1 minute 16-second interaction time.  Good chat agents respond to an inquiry in less than 1 minute.  But those are rare and most chat agents are managing multiple conversations at once.  In today’s world of immediate response, going from a 2-second bot response time to a 76-second response time feels like an eternity.

Problem #3: Unless you’re using a call-center, there’s likely no human available to immediately handoff to! Leasing agents aren’t sitting around waiting for a consumer to chat with them which is why chat doesn’t work well in the Multifamily Industry (more on that in another article).  Using a call center is extremely expensive and we all know call centers aren’t nearly as informed as onsite agents. And even if you do have an expensive call center available to back up the bot, refer to the aforementioned problems #1 and #2.

 CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) Scores!

But don’t just take my word for this, let’s look at the data.  When a consumer initiates a chat conversation with another human, the CSAT score starts at around 65%.  If the conversation is successful, it ends at around 65%.  When a consumer initiates a bot conversation the CSAT score starts at around 60%, and if it’s successful can end as high as 95%*.  But, if a conversation starts with a bot then gets “hot-transferred” to a human, the CSAT score usually ends up below 30% which makes sense given the problems listed above.

The Solution…

Find a good bot that doesn’t fail and get confused. Those bots typically use Guided Conversation Methodology vs. Natural Language Processing. If the bot can’t answer a question, create an asynchronous expectation with the consumer.  In other words the bot says, “I’ll forward your question to our leasing agents and they’ll get right back to you. How would you like to be contacted?  Phone/email/text?”  In this instance, the consumer is in control of the conversation, determines how they’d like to be contacted and isn’t expecting to be “connected” right then and there.  They realize their conversation and question will be forwarded and someone will likely get back to them with an answer in the next 20-30 minutes and in their manner of choosing.

*LivePerson, 2017

Virtual Tours and Videos

We’ve gone virtual with BetterTours!

Well…BetterBot was already virtual. But now virtual tours and videos are part of the bot experience!

Have you ever come up with what you thought was a good idea and then it turned into so much more than that? That’s exactly what happened when one of our SoCal clients asked if we could put their Matterport tours into the bot. So in January we began building out this functionality. Before the pandemic hit we assumed this would be a nice added feature making things easier for prospects searching for the perfect place to live.

Fast forward a few months and now this isn’t just a nice-to-have feature, it’s an absolute necessity. In-person tours aren’t a viable option for many people right now, and it may not be for the foreseeable future. So BetterBot launched BetterTours and videos! We created the ability to embed hosted tours and videos in the actual bot experience. No other bot solution has this capability, and this is just one of the many functionalities, tools, and services that make BetterBot…better.

At BetterBot we are always trying to make life easier and more efficient for both multifamily properties and their future residents, so when we built this new functionality we did it to incorporate just about any hosted tour or video. Some of the most popular videos now appearing in BetterBot community bots are virtual tours hosted by Zillow, Matterport, FocalRack, and Helix. It also had videos hosted by YouTube, Vimeo, Realync, and Roundme. 

It’s only been a few months, but the addition of virtual tours and videos to the bot is already transforming how prospects interact with BeeBee as they hunt for the right place to live. Since launching this new capability, the “Virtual Tours” button is officially the most clicked on option in BetterBot…by a lot. It’s the next best thing to being able to check out a property in person, and it’s far more efficient and safe. With the new functionality of virtual tours in the bot, everyone wins.

Let us host your virtual tours and videos today!

How BetterBot Is Adapting to Help You Survive and Thrive During the Pandemic

While the current Covid-19 pandemic has forced most companies to change the way they do business, this change isn’t all bad.

Over the past year BetterBot’s main goal has been to embrace “no-touch technology”. Today, that phrase has now taken on a whole new meaning. At first BetterBot’s mascot and avatar “BeeBee” was there to make your life easier by scheduling tours and answering simple questions from prospects that unnecessarily took up a lot of human time. Now more than ever this no-touch form of communication is essential to businesses surviving, and even thriving, during these challenging times. It’s about more than saving your team members’ valuable time. It’s about keeping your team and your prospects safe.

While there are quite a few factors that go into demonstrating how BetterBot can help your team succeed, there are two key points to look at when comparing life before Covid-19 hit and life during (and after) this pandemic. 

The first is the number of questions answered by the bot. This number went up 37% from March to April! That’s a huge increase and tells us that people are adapting to the use of technology and virtual interactions now that in-person meetings are generally discouraged. From January to March this number was actually down nearly 10% as people took time to adapt to this new normal, and it wasn’t surprising to see this dip as the world was essentially put on pause. But it didn’t take long to see a significant increase in using the bot to get the answers people were searching for. Even though it’s going to be a while before the world feels “normal” again, people are always going to need a place to live. And just because you can’t walk into a leasing office, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some answers. Many industries have slowed down or been put on pause over the last few months, something Multifamily simply can’t do.

The second key point proving the success of BetterBot’s no-touch technology is the engagement funnel. From March to April there was an increase in prospects greeted (+13%), conversations (+25%), leads (+32%) and appointments (+12%). Not only are more prospects reaching out through the bot, but they are following through and making appointments to check out these properties. BeeBee has even evolved to provide 3D and virtual tours to prospects since this can’t be done in person right now. Just as prospects are adapting to digital assistance, BetterBot is too.  

With the help of BeeBee, the pandemic doesn’t need to slow you down. Your team members don’t need to be wasting their time doing something that BetterBot’s BeeBee can handle, especially when many of your clients have bigger concerns than scheduling a tour or finding out which units are available. We’re all in this together, and with the help of our no-touch technology we’ll not only survive, but thrive, during this pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about how BetterBot can help your leasing team, take BeeBee for a spin here. If you like what you see, simply fill out the contact form and we’ll get right back to you!

This Is What Makes No-Touch Technology Powerful Today

We are currently on the brink of a significant industry shift. Facing today’s new challenges has only offered us new opportunities to adapt to an ever-evolving market as we begin to see how the role of technology can support businesses while many work from home. Though there is no “cure-all” for these events, many in real estate have looked to technology to help them transition from working on-site, to relying on virtual interactions. What was considered convenient just a few months ago has taken the role of necessity and is enabling us to provide more options for current prospects and customers.

In a time where remote work is becoming a standard, we continue to emphasize and prioritize the importance of human connection in a business. For this reason, we’ve employed a method of rationalization to identify and simplify what prospects are looking for. This is where the role of no-touch technology comes into play. The need for renting homes in a no-touch world has enabled multifamily tech companies like BetterBot to provide alternate solutions for property managers and marketers.

No-Touch Technology functions in the background, while the leasing agent’s time is freed up to focus on tasks that concern clients, or other important objectives. With regard to management properties, agents no longer have to answer rudimentary questions and qualify prospects. In our case, we’ve been able to help detail prospect needs, demonstrate the ease of bot use, and build a connection that enables future tenants to schedule virtual appointments. Agents can now connect with future residents who wish to “tour” or discuss a community.

While disruption has played a factor, we’ve managed to adapt to circumstances by going from scheduling in-person tours to scheduling online appointments. This way future tenants can meet agents using FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom, not to mention other virtual tour options recently integrated with BetterBot, such as 3D virtual property tours and video guides. Many Multifamily leasing agents have used video to provide a virtual open-house tour of the property. Meeting in person is no longer an obstacle in our sector. Especially since multifamily is poised to withstand the current economic climate, as a recent report from Yardi explains. Another report from MorningStar shows that the effects of the pandemic will not only be minimal to the housing market, but multifamily property construction will be affected less long term, compared to previous market dips. “We expect a rebound in housing demand in the second half of 2020, particularly as households respond to lower mortgage rates,” the article states. It is also predicted that social distancing measures will be maintained and ingrained into society for the foreseeable future. That being the case, we recommend utilizing technological innovation that could not only save your business, but save lives in the meantime. Our belief in building and strengthening client relationships is amongst the most important principles to keep in this time; even if it is from behind a webcam.

BetterBot’s no-touch technology is more important than ever as we deploy social distancing protocols while meeting the needs of prospects. In the past, we have found that some bots and other chat solutions required agents to be available in the event the bot couldn’t handle the conversation. With BetterBot, this is no longer necessary. Our definition of no-touch has been adapted to the literal sense of the meaning. Take a look at BetterBot’s demo, and you’ll see how easy it is to schedule 3D tours, answer questions, and lead prospects to start an online application.

For additional help, please feel free to reach out at sales@betterbot.ai. We hope this information finds you well. Please be safe and stay healthy!

Our Commitment To You And Your Team Amidst COVID-19

We recognize that with the constant change of the COVID-19 situation around the world, we’ve all been presented unanticipated challenges. Our hearts and thoughts go out to each and every one of you during this time. With social distancing and self-quarantining becoming more common, we at BetterBot aim to do our part by assisting your leasing staff and prospective renters as best as we can.

As of late, we have adapted our bot to allow rich-media integrated 3D tours, virtual walk-throughs, etc., within the chatbot. You will now be able to direct prospective renters to these virtual tour options, versus in-person prospect meetings. Your bot will also be able to help facilitate live video tours and self-guided tours.

For both our existing customers and those new to BetterBot, we are offering our bot services to your community(ies) with a dramatically reduced bot build fee and a reduced monthly cost with no contractual obligations. Please contact us for specifics. This gives you the option to keep the bot on your site(s) and social channels for as little or as long as your property(ies) need. You may be able to turn off the bot at any time. For our existing BetterBot users, this means you’ll also be able to add the bot to your communities that don’t already have one. If needed, you may access the bot demo at the top of the screen.

We hope this will alleviate any burden or uncertainty your marketing and operations staff may be experiencing right now. All of us at BetterBot are wishing you, and everyone close, well and to please be safe during this time. Our thoughts are with you and your loved ones throughout all of this. We hope this message finds you well.

Sincerely,

BetterBot Team

G5 Partners with Best-in-Class Multifamily Chatbot Provider BetterBot

G5 to offer interactive website experience to answer renters’ questions faster

BEND, Ore. – January 7, 2020 – G5, the leader in real estate marketing optimization, has partnered with BetterBot, a best-in-class chatbot provider for the multifamily industry. Powered by BetterBot’s automated conversational leasing technology, G5’s chatbot can be implemented on any G5 website to provide an additional and alternative communication medium for prospective renters to get answers faster.

“A recent survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council revealed that nearly 50% of prospective renters would use a chatbot during the leasing process, which more than justifies having a bot in your stack,” said Mike Wolber, VP of Business Development, G5. “We vetted multiple bots in the multifamily space and it was clear that BetterBot was the right technology partner for us. Like G5, BetterBot is a best-in-class provider that is both vertical and solution-focused. We’re excited to combine our already robust digital marketing platform with their bot technology to deliver an even better online experience.”

Why use a bot?

  • Saves front office time by acting as an extension of a property’s leasing team: Bots can handle high volumes of inquiries and also schedule property tours, even after hours, resulting in fewer phone calls and emails
  • Delivers additional prospects with higher intent-to-rent: Bots can answer questions about real-time pricing and availability, floor plans, and more, allowing prospects to pre-qualify themselves
  • Reach new prospects: Capture additional prospective renters who would rather interact with a bot than make a call or fill out a form

“G5 plays a significant role in helping us find, attract and market to prospective renters using their various advertising and analytics solutions,” said G5 client, Kim Boland, Director of Digital Marketing for Morgan Properties. “When you combine that with BetterBot’s conversational leasing technology and data you get a very solid top-of-the-funnel consumer experience that converts to more appointments and leases.”

“Over the last decade, G5 has established itself as a solid marketing optimization company in multifamily,” said Robert Turnbull, President and Co-founder, BetterBot. “BetterBot and G5’s shared focus on providing an excellent user experience that converts to high-quality renter prospects at different parts of the marketing funnel makes for an ideal partnership.”

To learn more, watch a demo or come by Booth #24 at MultiFamily Social Media Summit in Napa, Calif., January 8-10, 2020.

About G5

As the leader in real estate marketing optimization, G5 is a predictive marketing SaaS company that uses AI and other emerging technologies to help marketers amplify their impact. Through its Intelligent Marketing Cloud, G5 delivers unrivaled performance and scalability through predictive analytics, 1:1 customer journeys, hyper-personalized customer experiences, and continuous spend optimization.

Founded in 2005, G5 has more than 8,000 properties and two million units under management throughout the U.S. and Canada. G5 was named one of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies by Inc. magazine and one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies by Deloitte. Google selected G5 as a Premier Partner in 2016, the first in the real estate industry, and recently awarded G5 a next-level Premier Google Partnership.

The Bend, Oregon-based company is backed by private equity investor PeakEquity Partners. For more information, visit getg5.com.

About BetterBot

BetterBot is the fastest-growing, most-adopted automated conversational leasing technology in the multifamily industry. This best-in-class platform helps properties nurture prospects from multiple sources on their path to becoming a resident by greeting prospects, conversing with them, answering their questions, and scheduling their appointments. BetterBot’s powerful technology and unique user interface dramatically eliminate repetitive, time-consuming tasks, so property management can concentrate on higher-value work. For more information, visit betterbot.ai.

Press Contacts

G5
Natalie Dent
PR & Corporate Communications Manager
natalie.dent@getg5.com

BetterBot
Robert Turnbull
Founder & President
robert@betterbot.ai