5 Misconceptions about AI in Multifamily

With so many services now classifying themselves as AI, it’s hard to tell whether or not they’re actually based in tech, or just using a catchy buzzword to distract us from the wizards behind the curtain.

In 2018, we launched BetterBot.ai, and began marketing our product with the term “AI” thrown in to any material we created. As we continued to develop our product further though, we soon realized that AI is more than just a simple buzzword to slap onto a piece of collateral. It’s a term that’s often used when referring to the Natural Language Processing (NLP) software that builds the foundation of many chatbots and other industry tools, but what does it really mean? Today, we’re going to dive into what this tech really is, and the most common misconceptions about AI in multifamily. 

Natural Language Processing & AI

Put simply, NLP is the layer that communicates between computers and the humans interacting with them. Where AI comes in is through the process of machine learning. This process organizes the information collected from NLP and puts it into action. In the chatbot space today, this part is often overlooked due to the sheer complexity of this process and lack of understanding of its potential. 

The thing is, there is no true 100% AI chatbot or leasing tool (yet). Every product currently on the market requires some degree of human assistance and intervention. 

As conversational designer Maggie Jabczynski put it, “Over time, a bot can better understand its users as it receives more and more word combinations. Then – thanks to human intervention – it connects sentences from users in the chat to correct answers.” This learning curve is one of the many fallbacks to bot tech that relies on NLP. Our language is constantly evolving, so the work of the AI is never truly finished. 

Common misconceptions about AI in multifamily

1. All chatbots use AI

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are a variety of different chatbot types that all use different technologies and levels of AI to engage with people. For example, BetterBot is a guided conversation bot, which leads users through a branched series of questions and responses depending on their query.

2. AI replaces the need for human intervention

AI and AI-adjacent tech like chatbots have gotten a bad rap in the past decade or so, and all because of the misconception that these technologies are out to replace human workers and jobs. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Like we mentioned before, there is no 100% AI-based chatbot, which means that this tech will always have to be guided by trained (human) professionals. 

3. Only AI chatbots can give creative replies

One of the great things about guided conversation chatbots is that they can be programmed to tackle any question or query, all with a unique voice. Want your bot to be straight to the point? Cool. Want to inject a little more humor and friendliness into your bot? You totally can. However you want to get creative with your bot, you can – no AI needed. 

4. All it takes to train AI is uploading your website resources

One of the biggest misconceptions about AI in multifamily is that training an AI-based or NLP chatbot just involves info-dumping all of your resources and FAQs into a database. While that would be amazing and save us all so much time, unfortunately that is not how it actually works. There’s a lot involved with creating a functional AI architecture, and most property management teams either a) don’t have the resources or b) have no actual need to invest in that.

5. Your bot technology can self-improve

If you build your chatbot on intelligent software, it should be able to continually improve upon itself without human intervention, right? Not exactly. While neural networks can learn on their own, there are no bots currently available that can learn independently from past conversations without some kind of human intervention.

As we continue to grow the BetterBot.ai brand, we want to be intentional about emphasizing transparency – not only in our process, but in our data. We believe there’s no better way to understand how humans work and interact with each other than to have humans, not AI, be the masterminds behind our chatbot. No AI, no robots, just human-generated guided conversations that have a proven track record for converting prospects into renters.

5 Multifamily Trends to Watch in 2021

2020 was a landmark year for real estate. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every sector, from commercial office buildings, to residential and multifamily. In particular, the multifamily space was hit with a number of unprecedented challenges – many of which will continue to affect the space long after the pandemic subsides. However, last year also opened up new opportunities, and we’re excited to see how multifamily property management teams capitalize on them in 2021. Here are 5 key trends in multifamily real estate to watch this year. 

Changing renter expectations

People are spending more time in their apartments than ever before. Thanks to remote working arrangements, the line between work and home-life has become blurred, and people are looking to make their spaces as functional, comfortable, and versatile as possible. For property managers looking to wow prospective renters, it’ll be important to keep these things in mind:

1. Luxury amenities 

With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, millions of people are staying in their homes as much as possible. What’s more, many multifamily properties have closed shared spaces and non-essential amenities. As such, people are hungrier than ever for luxury apartment amenities like in-building convenience stores, free high-speed internet, and hand-sanitizer stations. 

2. The shift to virtual

Another one of the biggest 2021 multifamily trends is the rise of proptech and the shift to virtual tours and showings. While virtual tour tech has been in use for several years, last year saw a massive increase in use of these platforms, along with a desire for property management teams to utilize adjacent tech – like chatbots – to help with virtual leasing. 

3. Focus on customer service

Moving forward, multifamily teams will need to prioritize flexibility, and adapt their offerings to meet both long and short-term resident needs.

4. The importance of diversity and inclusion

The housing market continues to become more diverse, and renters want to live in inclusive communities that celebrate all people. For property management teams, ensuring an equal-opportunity rental process is key, along with finding ways to create and acknowledge cultural events for different communities. 

5. Communication is key 

Even though property teams are seeing less and less of their renters these days, that doesn’t mean that keeping up consistent communication isn’t vital. Digital communication tools like apps, emails, and SMS texting are easy ways to stay in touch with renters. In addition to communication, convenience is one of the most important trends in multifamily real estate management teams should prioritize. If you don’t already have one in place, consider creating an online portal residents can use to pay rent, submit maintenance orders, and ask questions.

Lasting effects of the pandemic

The pandemic has irrevocably changed both renter expectations and how multifamily teams operate. And zooming out to the wider real estate context, it has accelerated the adoption of technology on a massive scale. 

Proptech is here to stay

From helping connect prospective renters with properties, to aiding with the leasing process and creating a more luxury experience for renters, proptech is transforming multifamily real estate in creative and exciting ways. The time to embrace these technologies is now. 

Keep up-to-date with the latest multifamily trends and news over on the BetterBot blog. 

Introducing the All New Student Bot

At BetterBot we strive to provide a better user experience. We have worked really hard to customize the leasing process for our customers who specialize in student housing. We know that renting apartments to students is very unique and we are making the whole process a whole lot easier with our new student bot. A few of the added benefits include: 

  1. Unit Availability
  2. Customized Scheduling Tool
  3. Search by Number of Beds
  4. Interactive Student Resources 

Unit Availability

Students will have the ability to see unit availability right there within the student bot. They can choose the unit that is right for them and access all the information they need to make an informed decision. Our student bot will allow your students to easily make selections all on their own, saving you valuable time. 

Customized Scheduling Tool

Customize your chatbot with different types of scheduling. We know that the school year can be different depending on the location. That’s why you can customize your calendar to the semester, trimester, or quarter calendar. This will minimize confusion and allow your students to lease units based on the school year. 

Search by Number of Beds

We understand that student housing is unique compared to conventional leasing. That’s why with our student bot users are able to search not only by bedrooms, but by number of beds. This will help your leasing team stay organized when it comes to placing students in rooms and helping you fill up each room efficiently. 

Interactive Student Resources

At BetterBot, one of our goals is to help your teams save time so that you can focus on being human. One of the ways we are doing this is by providing interactive student resources through our student bot. You can add all the information your students need so they can access it easily and you can focus on what’s important. 

What Are You Waiting for? Try it out! 

The all new student bot, brought to you by us (BetterBot) is sure to dynamically change the way you lease your student units. We are continuing to make updates so that our users can get the most value out of our service. If you are interested in learning more about our student bot, click below to schedule a meeting! 

Exploring the Future of Bot Technology in Multifamily

Recently, our President and COO here at BetterBot, Robert Turnbull, had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Dennis Cogbill and Steve Lefkovits at the Multifamily Technology and Entrepreneurship Conference, where he examined the virtues of conversational leasing and the future of bot technology in multifamily. 

As he explained, leasing teams are often faced with an overwhelming amount of leads to track and follow up with. Add in rapidly evolving consumer expectations and you have the perfect entrypoint for bot technology to come in and really transform the leasing experience for the better. As Robert mentioned, “Sometimes the best renters are the ones you never talk to!” With bots, gone are the days of letting valuable leads slip by without notice.

Along with helping renters view floor plans and schedule appointments, chatbots are able to give time back to property management teams. “When you look at the bot just in terms of work on behalf of your leasing team, it’s saving about 80 hours per property per month,” he notes, “quite literally, your bot is working for your leasing team when your leasing team may not be working.” 

Some of our favorite highlights include:

Different Types of Chatbots

“There’s the prospective renter and what they want today – they want real-time, accurate conversations, wherever you are on the internet.” – Robert Turnbull

What’s the Next Move?

“Automation technology and the way that it can represent your product and brand and content – you will no longer be reliant entirely on some of these very large marketing sources. Management companies are going to get some of the power back in their hands because of this.”  – Robert Turnbull

How Using a Chatbot Can Save You Money

“I’ve seen shiny toys come through this industry for 22 years. Some work, and some don’t. The proof’s in the number. I say, take a handful and [put them up to] task. Test 2 or 3, put them on a community, give it its due diligence, and look at the data.” – Robert Turnbull

Check out the full recording and learn more about the benefits of bots here!

See the full transcript of the interview below!

ROBERT TURNBULL: I’ve got a large amount of data and a very short time, so I’m just going to buckle up and dive in. This is not a commercial, but there is a lot of our data in here. Some of it’s not our data, but I want to dive into that. If you want any – any of this of course, you can email Dennis and Lefkovitz. Okay, so you probably fall into three buckets when it comes to, I’ll say bot technology. You either haven’t thought about it at all – and hopefully this will make you start thinking about it. You have thought about it but aren’t sure where to go, so hopefully this will give you some guidance and some thinking around next steps. Or you’re using bot technology and you want to either validate what you’re thinking, maybe challenge your thinking, or maybe learn some best practices around bot technology. So, that’s what I’m going to dive in – and let’s do this. 

There are two things that are actually driving what I would call the bot proliferation that you’re seeing right now. Everywhere you go, banks, travel places, you’re seeing bot technology and you’re seeing it in multifamily. So what’s driving this? There’s really two parts. There’s the prospective renter and what they want today – they want real-time, accurate conversations, wherever you are on the internet. They want it 24/7, 365, they want control over the leasing process. They can order – we can order food from any place now and have it delivered, we can pick the aisle window on a plane, we can upgrade our hotels, so we have this at our fingertips, and they want the same thing for leasing. And here’s what they don’t want: they don’t want lead forms. Nobody wants to fill out lead forms anymore. They want fast, simple access to information. Now on the other side of the coin on multifamily and what’s driving this is – this is amazing because my business partners and I 20 years ago started ApartmentGuide.com in 1999 and a few other sites, and 50% of the renter leads sent 20 years ago were being unanswered. 20 years later, they’re still being unanswered. That’s a metric that hasn’t changed, shockingly enough. So you know, these marketing dollars are being wasted. Multifamily has a 34% leasing staff attrition rate – that is higher than retail. And the number one reason given? They’re overwhelmed. They have too much going on with the property. And technology – we talk to management companies and they say, “I don’t want another technology that’s going to cost me more money and cost me more time. So if you’re introducing something to me, it better save me money, it better save me time, or hopefully, both.” And that’s where conversational leasing technology comes in. Because renters are getting information faster, and the properties are not having to be there when information is being given, it speeds up the leasing cycle. You can focus on conversations.

I’ve said this before and people have quoted me. Our industry has “lead fatigue”. We have more leads than we know what to do with. So let’s focus instead on conversations. Your goal here is to get rid of repetitive, low-reward leasing tasks for our leasing team. Okay, so I’ve seen a lot of data over the years, and it’s all about the data. When you deploy a bot – and again, this is our data, but this can be a lot of other bots as well – when you deploy a bot per property per month – and anywhere else on the internet, Google My Business and so forth, we see an average of 200 unique renter conversations. That means they may have 2 or 3 conversations, but that’s still just one conversation answering about 150 questions. Sometimes the best renters are the ones you never talk to, because it answered the questions – they found it’s a fit for them. We then notice that there’s about 26 handoffs, and that’s where our consumer engages with the property through the bot. Those we call “high-value renter follow-ups”, so that’s like when they have a specific question that the bot can’t answer. And of those, 13 of those are scheduled appointments, so what’s interesting about that is 92% of appointments being scheduled through the bot are actually showing up for their appointment. Call centers have about 50%, according to my data. Properties have about 60-70%. Bots have upwards of 90% because it’s actually giving them information before they’re asking for information. So we see about a 92% show rate. Did a ton of lease matching we found out that bots are participating in about 4 leases per property per month. We recognize the bots didn’t materialize the leases, but it certainly helped facilitate that. And what’s really interesting is that almost 60% of that is happening after hours. So quite literally, your bot is working for your leasing team when your leasing team may not be working. This is after the hours of 6pm and before 8am. 

A few more things I want to throw your way: We’re not limited anymore. Bots just don’t sit on your property website, you can put a bot on your Facebook Messenger, Marketplace, Google My Business, which has up to 40% of the conversations we’re seeing as happening and originating in Google My Business. Google Ads, Yelp and the list goes on. So wherever consumers find you, let the bot answer it 24/7, 365. This is a great example of a consumer actually, on Instagram. They may look at some photos and then they want to click on a floor plan, and then boom – the bot – they don’t even leave Instagram, it’s embedded inside the experience they’re having. And this could be at 2 o’clock in the morning. The agent is responding to them right then and there. And you can see photos, see floorplans, schedule appointments and so forth. Because the bot can be put on all sorts of places like this, you want to arm it – just want to pack some virtual tours on it, you want to put appointments, COVID protocols, put everything you can in that bot because when it’s on Yelp or Google My Business or Facebook, it’s going to be able to show those virtual tours without ever even having to come to your website. Make sure you’ve got your virtual tours and video in there as well. I always get asked the question of cost. When you consider the bot works 24/7, 365 and are less than $100 on average, that’s $3 a day, 14 cents an hour, assisting with 4 leases, 60,000 annualized revenue. And more than that – and normally I’d dive into this in detail, I can’t do that, don’t have the time, so I’m going to get you a couple of highlights. 

When you look at the bot just in terms of work on behalf of your leasing team, it’s saving about 80 hours per property per month. That’s over $1300 after you pay for the bot and just time’s sake, doing those menial, repetitive tasks that your leasing staff is not having to do. So saving you time and saving you money. What’s also interesting is that you have a general agent now watching all the traffic come to your website, where it’s launching from all these channels, so you can begin to see patterns that some sources – some marketing sources – drive a lot of traffic and not a lot of engagement. Others maybe not so much traffic but lots of engagement. So a bot can actually look and use algorithms based on how much was engaged, was it a conversation, did it become an appointment, was it a lead? You can look at your best volume drivers, conversion drivers, your overall best channel. We had a client once ask, “hey, can you give me the worst channels?” Sure, so we actually put in some of the worst channels. We’re thinking of renaming that, but nonetheless it tells you your least performers. 

While I wrap this up, a couple things I want to leave with you: The bots can actually do email. And the challenge is we’re getting flooded with so many web leads coming through. In the old world, we said, you know, on ILS, it might be a marketing source, sending it to your CRMs, and then the problem with that is, you still have humans that have to do all the work. Well, what if you had the ILS or marketing source send it to the bot and have it say, “Hey, my human friends are busy but I can help you now!” Converting that asynchronous conversation and emailing it to a synchronous bot conversation and sending that appointment or higher value lead into the CRM. Let your digital agent do the work for you instead of you having to do all the work and your respective CRM. Uh, I don’t know if you noticed, but there’s a little bit of a situation happening in our industry. It looks like our sites are looking like Las Vegas. There’s so many widgets and ‘talk to renter’ – which is a great concept by the way, specials, and it’s like clouding our sites, so let the bot handle that. Put it all in there and it’ll direct you to the place you want to go – let’s ‘socially-distance’ our widgets on our website. 

A few things I want to leave you with: I hear all the time, “What about [live] chat?” Look – I actually ran the real estate division for the largest chat company in the world for 3 years, all over the world for real estate, and let me tell you what I found out. Chat just doesn’t work. It’s very, very hard to get chat to work. Here’s just some metrics – usually I dive in deeper, but here’s some data. Chat typically gets 2% click-rate – bots get 12%. That’s 6 times the results. There’s a lot of reasons for this, I could dive in another time. Time gap: Well, when you do live chat, it takes a minute and 45 seconds to connect, and once you’re connected it takes upwards of 76 seconds to have dialogue and 8 minutes to have a conversation. Bots respond in 1 second, and you’re done in 90 seconds. Available people? That’s the point – they’re not available. Call centers don’t know properties as well as the property does. With bots, you don’t need them! And they can usually answer 80% of those questions 24/7, 365. 

Here’s the other thing I get asked – hot transfer. “Hey, sounds really cool, can I have the bot transferred to human live?” And it sounds awesome, but don’t do it – and here’s why: If your prospect is given the option to talk to a human, they’ll probably take that option, so the bot’s doomed from the start. The average response time is less than 2 seconds, and you can see all the problems with replied chat. When transferred to a human, it goes from 60 seconds to 5 minutes to find the human. It’s transferred so that means they have to review the conversation, it went from 1 second to now upwards to a minute and a half. The CSAT scores for bots are up to 90%, and when you look at human transfer it’s less than 35%. 

And finally, NLP – natural language process. We have one of the largest NLP engines in all of multifamily. The problem is that NLP just isn’t there yet. 3 times out of 10, [NLP] fails. The top NLP bots in the world are still breaking 30% of the time. Guided conversation is what all the biggest generalist bots are going to because you can’t break the bot. 

So do’s and don’ts – the last 10 seconds. 

Dos: Customize your bot and build your brand. Put a bot everywhere. Put COVID protocols in there if you have them. Make sure it has deep industry integrations. 

Don’ts: If they say, “Hey, you can help train the bot,” run! It takes a month to 3 months, and that’s not your job. Don’t put all these widgets on your site. Beware the lead snares that actually hold content hostage. And NLP’s gonna be awesome, but it’s not for another couple years. 

So there you go, there’s consolidating 30 minutes of information into 12 minutes. 

STEVE LEFKOVITS: Robert, man, a few questions?

RT: Yeah, please! 

SL: So, uh, I very much feel humbled by this presentation because, it’s an area that I have no background or experience with. I didn’t learn it in graduate school. So for someone like me who’s curious, how do you advise us to try to understand what is a quality offering in this area – without, you know, promoting BetterBot. 

RT: Sure. 

SL: Just, I think about what I’m looking at when someone calls me up and says, “I have a new thing”. 

RT: Yeah, so you’re saying, “How do you assess bot technologies?” 

SL: People call me and they want to run bot technology past me and I go, “I’m just not the guy”. 

RT: Yeah, you know for me – look, I’ve seen shiny toys come through this industry for 22 years. Some work, and some don’t. The proof’s in the number. I say, take a handful and [put them up to] task. Test 2 or 3, put them on a community, give it its due diligence, and look at the data. The data is going to tell the story. The data always tells the story. If you’re seeing incremental lead lift, if you’re seeing spending less time, one of the things we like to hear is, “hey, we’re not answering as many emails and we’re actually getting more appointments than we used to”. That’s great! 

So, compare the data. And you can compare bots. And some AI technologies are not all the same. Some are handling like, email and text. Others are handling the front-end on Google. So they’re really not the same either. Plug it in, look at the data, and compare 2 or 3 and at the end of 30 or 60 days, you’re going to see a big difference in the data set. 

SL: Okay, fair enough – I understand that. And because this is an entrepreneurship conference as much as it is a technology conference, can you talk a little bit about the investment environment for automation technologies and where the level of investment is in our industry relative to the need?

RT: [Laughs]

Oh, yeah, that’s an interesting question. So when we came into the space there was like, one or two other folks, and I think some of the big companies were thinking, “Well, let’s see what happens, let’s see how these guys do”. And because we had such success and growth so quickly, I think what we did was we told the rest of the industry, “Hey, there’s something here”. So now you start seeing all these other entrants coming into the space, which is good. It just gives you options, that’s fine. So that tells me, when I go from 2, maybe 3 bots a few years ago to 8 or 9, that tells me people are investing in this industry. And it’s not a passing fad, it’s here to stay. And you have some of the biggest companies investing in some of this technology. At the end of the day, we’re all pushing each other very hard. And so, you’re going to get a better product. The life cycle is, I’d say in the next 2 to 5 years you’re going to see significant growth, so this isn’t a fad that’s going to come and then go. This is going to continue and create new options. So for investors, they’re looking at – this is a long-term option for them. And the technology is going to grow in the next 5 years. 

SL: What about the property sales side of the business? I mean, we focused so much on renters, but isn’t the technology also useful for people who are trying to market assets for sale? Why don’t we see more of that?

RT: Market assets – oh, you mean actually, owners trying to – that’s interesting. I’m not delved into that. 

SL: You just got it at MTEC, there you go. 

RT: Alright – that’s our next business model! I’m calling you tomorrow! 

[Laughs]

So I don’t have as much experience, but I love the idea. 

SL: This is fantastic, thank you for this – I really appreciate it. And maybe one more question: I understand the widgets on websites – what is the next move in this product category? Where does the product extend to in 2022 or 2023, where do you hope for?

RT: Yeah okay, so I gotta be careful. 

SL: No, no no. 

[Laughs]

RT: Okay, so no one’s going to record this and say, “Well Robert said…”. The way I couch that, it’s a great question. The way I couch that is, whatever an agent is doing today, the bot and automation needs to start doing that tomorrow. I mean, I don’t want to say, and I don’t want to say this, but, can it replace agents? Well, yeah, overtime. But it can certainly give some of their time back. I think it can start doing more email, more text, more coordinations, more guided tours, automation is going to help us do a lot of this stuff, and I think it’s going to change the way that – so mark my words, because I want to talk about this this time next year – it’s going to flip the script between how property management companies see themselves with major marketing sources, and that’s going to change in a year’s time. Automation technology and the way that it can represent your product and brand and content – you will no longer be reliant entirely on some of these very large marketing sources. Management companies are going to get some of the power back in their hands because of this. You’ll start to see that over the next 6 months to a year, so that’s my teaser for this time next year. 

SL: Alright, fair enough. We’ll let you have the last word on that, and I’ll just note that you used to work for one of those big lead sources, so. 

RT: [Laughs]

I know, that’s part of the problem! So I think it’s my destiny to help sell it so, I’m tilling at it – that’s my penance! 

SL: Gotta pull the sword from the stone – I love it. Well, thank you very much, Robert. We’re going to end day one of MTEC right here.

Introducing BetterBot’s Dashboard 2.0

It’s finally here! BetterBot is introducing our new and improved BetterDashboard making it easier than ever to visualize leasing velocity, track marketing performance, and save your leasing team time. Our goal? To provide you a better user and customer experience  A few of the added benefits include:

  1. Quick snapshot of performance
  2. Personalize the chatbot
  3. Easy omnichannel marketing source management (grab link to distribute to channels)
  4. Unique protocols / conversation modifications
  5. Export and schedule reports
  6. Manage specials, amenities, gallery, resident portal, maps, virtual tours
  7. Track all conversations, even afterhours
  8. Track the traffic sources

Quick Snapshot of Performance

With this improved dashboard you will see a breakdown of the total number of Greetings, Conversations, Answers, Virtual Tours & Videos, Handoffs, Follow-Ups, and Appointments provided to a single property. Additionally, this provides a full breakdown of all the prospects that were handed off to a property via follow-ups or appointments.

Personalize the Chatbot

Personalize your chatbot all the way down to the property level. You can decide if you want to use your corporate branding, property specific branding, or keep it simple with BetterBot’s branding. You are able to change color, logo, and the phrases that show above your chat bot. 

Easy Omnichannel Marketing Source Management

Within the dashboard you will be able to manage your omnichannel marketing sources. You can take a look at what sources your team is utilizing such as Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, Yelp, and so much more. Grab links easily so that you can put them anywhere you get your traffic. 

Unique Protocols

Within the dashboard you can set up unique protocols such as different COVID-19 procedures. You can specify if your community offers 3D or virtual tours, in-person appointments, self-guided tours, phone appointments, or live video tours. Plus you can easily update this information as conditions change. 

Export and Schedule Reports

Get reporting at the touch of a button. You can pull reports to share with your team or you can schedule them to go out automatically to save time. Keep track of how your bot is doing and what traffic is being handled. 

Manage Everything in One Place

All your properties, at your command. See how all your property’s bots are doing all within one dashboard. You can go between each community to find out how much traffic the bot is handling and what conversations are happening. 

Track All Conversations, even After Hours

Our bots are designed to take care of traffic when your agents are unavailable. Handling after hours traffic is a huge part of what we are made for! A bulk of traffic comes in after hours, which is why it’s so important that we help you manage it. With this dashboard you can track what after hours conversations are happening and see what information renters are searching for. 

Track Traffic Sources

Last but definitely not least, track your traffic more effectively. Our new dashboard allows you to track where your bot traffic is coming from and which channels are most effective for your properties. 

What Are You Waiting for? Take it  for a Spin! 

As you can see there are so many added benefits to our 2.0 dashboard, which is why we are so excited for you to try it out. We are constantly making updates to our products so that our users are getting the most out of the service we provide. 

BetterBot Raises Capital to Expand Product Offering and Reach

Atlanta, Ga, January 27, 2021 – A consortium of Multifamily executives closed on a Series Seed funding round led by San Diego-based venture capital firm UnitLeader. “We evaluated several companies in the bot space given the need for this technology in the multifamily industry,” said Dana Zeff, Chief Disrupter at UnitLeader. “BetterBot has a great deal of enthusiastic clients which got us excited about their product. We talked to fee-managers and owner-operators of different sizes and locations, and they all shared the same sentiment about the significant ROI they’ve gained from using the BetterBot platform.”

BetterBot co-founder Zlatko Bogoevski built and ran a successful Atlanta-based custom software development firm when his team designed a proprietary bot platform specific to the Multifamily and Builder Industries. He was introduced to BetterBot co-founder Robert Turnbull, who had helped build several successful Multifamily businesses such as ApartmentGuide.com, Rentals.com, RealEstate.com, RentWiki/RentAdvisor, and most recently for the largest conversational commerce company in the world, LivePerson. 

“Robert and I immediately knew we were two sides of the same coin given our backgrounds and where we were heading professionally,” said Bogoevski. “I had a solid and fundamental grasp of A.I., bot, and automation technology, while Robert had decades of experience bringing technology solutions to the Real Estate and Multifamily marketplace. Once we merged my team of professional product and engineering developers with his network of high-level clients and seasoned executives, BetterBot just took off.”

Today BetterBot is the most adopted conversational leasing solution in the Multifamily Industry serving thousands of apartment communities and their respective management companies. In 2020, BetterBot had nearly 4 million unique renter conversations, generating half-a-million renter leads resulting in a quarter-million scheduled appointments and tours.

While conducting due diligence, UnitLeader talked to a number of BetterBot clients including Seth Kaplan, Southeast Regional for Pinnacle Property Management, who stated, “Bottom line, BetterBot is the best ROI we get from marketing that we pay for.” They also spoke to Daryl Smith, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Kettler, who said, “…the bot plays a crucial part of our omni-channel strategy.” And Kim Boland, Director of Marketing for Morgan Properties who sees, “…BetterBot as a means of managing the overwhelming volume of prospective renter leads our properties get on a daily basis.”

UnitLeader’s investment comes at a critical time in BetterBot’s growth and scaling efforts. The capital will support the company’s product enhancements for current and future clients. Additionally, BetterBot intends to expand their sales and marketing teams and continue delivering key industry integrations.

# # #

About UnitLeader

UnitLeader is revolutionizing the traditional investment model to unlock the potential of brands and ideas. UnitLeader’s mission is to identify and collaborate with partners who have the power to disrupt their industry. We not only invest capital and resources but our time and experience in building long-term success. We are committed to partnering with forward-thinking and responsible businesses.

About BetterBot

Today’s renter wants control over the leasing process and access to information wherever, whenever, but today’s leasing team 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.unitleader.com

www.betterbot.com

For Media Inquiries

Trevor Park
BetterBot, Head of Marketing

trevor@betterbot.com

Automation Meets Autonomy as BetterBot Integrates with Rently

Announcing BetterBot’s newest partnership and integration with Rently.

Today’s prospective renter wants accurate information 24/7/365 which is where BetterBot’s automated technology comes into play. But it doesn’t stop there as renter prospects want a hands-on experience at all hours of the day, and that’s where Rently enters the picture.

“We are incredibly excited to have integrated with BetterBot for Rently’s self-guided tours,” said Andre Jordan Sanchez, COO of Rently. “BetterBot and Rently working together will further automate the leasing workflow, creating a seamless experience for the prospective renter. Operators leveraging the BetterBot-Rently integration will reduce time on market, decrease operating costs and increase NOI.”

Rently’s integration with BetterBot gives prospective tenants a more seamless experience by providing them an option to tour a community on their own. Prospects can easily click on a link that redirects them to a webpage where they can select units and schedule their self-guided tour. Coming soon is an additional integration that would allow prospects to pre-book a Rently Self-Guided Tour within BetterBot. When complete this integration will allow prospects to secure their tour inside the bot experience regardless of what channel they started the conversation such as the property website, Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Instagram, Twitter or any other place BetterBot can be deployed.

“Rently has done an excellent job bringing the concept and technology of self-guided tours to the Multifamily Industry,” said Robert Turnbull, President, COO & Founder of BetterBot. “Given both our companies’ services such as a large number of properties in our Industry it was no surprise we had a great deal of overlap, so an integration became an absolute necessity.”

About Rently

Rently provides self-guided touring and enterprise smart-home platforms for both single-family and multi-family operators. From lockboxes and keyless locks, to full smart-home integrations, the platforms offer convenient and cost-effective solutions to optimize and scale your business. Rently works with more than 3000 operators, facilitating over 13 million self-tours and holds 8 patents on self-touring and access control by the USPTO.

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.use.rently.com

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/

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