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/

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

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

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.

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

Kitty Callaghan

– Vice President of Marketing for Wasatch Property Management

Jonathan Ford

Jonathan Ford

– Vice President of Marketing for Gates Hudson

Seth Kaplan

– Southeast Regional Marketing Director for Pinnacle Property Management Services

ryan perez

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.