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

Is your successful marketing killing your brand?

What we see in multifamily is a story of what happens when well meaning marketers do the right thing. I mean achieving the results you hoped for is good, right? As you’ll see that’s not always the case. Allow me to explain.

Over the last 20 years multifamily marketers have gotten really good at getting the message out and attracting attention from prospective residents. This has been helped by well-funded ILSs, social media and outstanding marketing platforms. The results have been mind blowing and we have seen a steady increase in leads funneling down to leasing teams. One look at a leasing agent’s to-do list and you’ll see tons of leads from various marketing channels like social media, website, ILS platforms, phone and SMS.

And herein lies the problem. The leasing teams are simply not able to respond to a large percentage of these leads. Validating leads is a time consuming activity and people easily get discouraged because you may need to go through many low quality leads to find that one person that will actually come in for a tour. Not easy to do for a person working during office hours only and at the same time juggling 10 other things as part of their workload. Property management companies have tried to solve this by using outside call centers or adding additional staff but those are expensive solutions that result in diminishing returns. Our experience shows that even the best teams barely respond to 50% of their prospect leads.

How does all this leave our future residents feeling? Pretty disappointed actually. They’ve gone through the trouble to reach out on social media, fill out ILS forms and leave voicemails to only be ignored. What is the point of all this great marketing if a large part of the budget is wasted and only resulting in underwhelmed prospects? I think that that most property marketers will agree that this is not the brand engagement they are hoping for.

I’m not suggesting that properties cut back on marketing but they should instead consider ways to close this gap. This may require us to rethink how we structure leasing teams. Conversational AI technology is an option and can help properties engage with prospects in ways that humans simply cannot. Properties must nurture prospective residents to ensure that they are fully assisted during one of their most important life decisions.

Can bots replace humans in multifamily?

Given the attention that AI is receiving lately I’m not surprised to see the elevated levels of anxiety among employees and managers in multifamily. Two weeks ago I was asked to participate in a panel regarding this very question. To nobody’s surprise the conversation took interesting turns as panelists shared their vision of the future. I mean if titans like Jack Ma and Elon Musk can’t agree on the future impact of AI then how can mere mortals like us agree?

Yogi Berra famously said that it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. I feel obligated to give it a shot since a lot of the arguments I hear are based on science fiction and less science than fiction at that.

AI bots are not approaching human intelligence! Currently AI is nothing more than a collection of algorithms fed by large amounts of data and processed by powerful computers. That means that even the smartest AI cannot even come close to a human in natural language understanding. AI machines are not capable of common sense, flexible thinking or empathy. General AI resembling what you see in movies is still not on the horizon as AI is in it’s infant stages.

AI bots will require a rethink to management practices in multifamily. Now that we concluded that AI is not as smart as humans let’s also agree that AI is better than humans at certain tasks. Bots never get tired, can efficiently talk to multiple people at once and crush repetitive tasks. The questions becomes on how to best structure this human and AI coexistence in order to allow humans to concentrate on higher level tasks while the bots handle the mindless repetitive stuff. It can be a powerful combination!

AI is advancing quickly and will provide a competitive advantage for property management companies. Based on where we are today compared to just a few years ago the progress in AI tools has been nothing short of staggering. This aggressive advancement is fueled by two parallel processes. Improvement in AI technology and adoption by end users who have come to prefer interactions with bots vs. humans.

I want to encourage multifamily managers to start exploring solutions today because it can take time to find the perfect human/bot balance. However, when done correctly AI bots can supercharge your organization and hugely improve your interaction with future and current residents. And yes, humans are safe for now.

An Unmatched Appointment Generating Machine for Renters & Apartment Communities

Atlanta-Based bot technology firm cracks the code on converting traffic and leads to conversations, conversations to prospects, and prospects to appointments

It’s a problem that has been plaguing the Multifamily Industry for nearly two decades; how do we quickly respond to the overwhelming volume of renter leads?

“Until now, lead response has continued to be very challenging,” explains Ryan Perez, Vice President of Marketing for CF Real Estate. “The property staff either spends a lot of time manually responding to every lead, they don’t respond at all, or we send auto-responses back to the prospective renter. None of these ‘solutions’ are good ones.”

In early 2016, BetterBot co-founder Zlatko Bogoevski had a very successful custom software development firm in Atlanta. At that time he recognized the immediate value bot technology could bring to the Real Estate world, so he started building his own proprietary bot platform. Two years later Bogoevski met Robert Turnbull, a serial entrepreneur in the Multifamily Industry with 20 years experience building businesses in the apartment space. The two mutually decided to partner and tackle the lead response challenge with bot technology, launching their first BetterBot in the apartment category in April 2018.

BetterBot is rapidly growing and has deployed its bot solution to 31 property management companies, adding an average of four management companies each month. “With BetterBot we gather more information about prospects upfront while prospects receive instant answers, freeing up valuable sales staff time,” states Jonathan Ford, Vice President of Marketing for Gates Hudson in Fairfax, Va. “The conversion rates to tour speak for themselves.”

BetterBot has managed more than 260,000 prospective renter conversations to date. The average conversion from renter traffic to BetterBot engagement on a typical property website is 13.5%, nearly 5x the engagement ratio of a typical chat solution. In addition, BetterBot drives an average of 25 incremental renter prospect acquisitions each month, 13 of those in the form of high-value bot conversation leads, and 12 appointment requests.

“Of course, we’re thrilled with the results our bot solution is driving,” says Bogoevski. “But the real value of BetterBot is its ability to work independent of any platform, yet seamlessly incorporate into any ecosystem.” BetterBot has successfully completed integrations of varying degrees with property software and CRM solutions such as RentyDynamics, Hy.ly, Entrata, Yardi, RealPage, MRI, Knock, etc. BetterBot also works with website providers such as G5, Jonah Digital, Merrick Towle, Spherexx, Resident360, RentCafe, Onsite, LeaseLabs, and more.

Robert Turnbull, Co-Founder and Partner of BetterBot, will be speaking May 6 at the upcoming AIM 2019 conference in Huntington Beach, Ca.

Apartment SEO to Offer 24-hour Automated Leasing Agent

Multifamily marketing firm introduces iLeaseBot, powered by BetterBot’s conversational leasing technology

Long Beach, Cal. – January 22, 2020 – Apartment SEO, the leading full-service apartment

marketing firm specializing in multifamily marketing optimization has partnered with BetterBot, the Industries first and only enterprise solution for conversational leasing technology. The result of combining these two companies, their solutions and expertise is iLeaseBot, a fun, interactive, informative and user-friendly digital leasing agent for apartment communities.

Utilizing the Industries most advanced guided conversational technology, iLeaseBot is the perfect solution for every multifamily real estate website. Apartment SEO’s newest digital assistant greets an average of 3000 prospective renters per community each month, engaging in approximately 400 conversations, answering around 1100 questions, resulting in 25 incremental conversational leads of which half are appointment requests. More importantly, this saved time enables front office and leasing staff time to focus on what’s really important, personal touch with prospective renter tours and current residents.

As with other advancements in digital marketing, Apartment SEO is once again poised and ready to deliver a multifamily real estate tailored solution for the Chatbot trend. “Apartment SEO was quickly drawn to BetterBot because their passion to supercharge property management teams mirrored our own determination to deliver top level services to our clients,” remarked CJ Stillwell, Director of Operations at Apartment SEO.

With Apartment SEO’s iLeaseBot, future and current residents can enjoy 24-hour support from any device; enhancing your resident’s leasing experience from start to finish. And, with a completely customizable interface, apartment communities can personalize their iLeaseBot to match their brand. This fast, intuitive, easy-to-implement technology is easy to talk to, always available, accurate in its responses, and has proven to be the best first impression for your residents.

“Technology is a double-edged sword,” said Robert Turnbull, President and Co-Founder of BetterBot. “It’s created new channels for prospective renters to engage leasing staff, but there’s just no way leasing staff can converse on all these new channels. So let’s use conversational technology to solve this problem and give our leasing staff their time back.”

iLeaseBot can:

  • Be deployed on multiple channels such as Facebook Marketplace/Messenger, Google My Business/Google Ads, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube, Pinterest, Craigslist, etc., in addition to your property website.
  • Interact via chat, text, email and social
  • Reduce repetitive inbound inquiries by addressing information conversational in real-time.
  • Be customized to your brand’s look and feel with unique avatars, colors, etc.
  • Showcase real-time unit availability, pricing, floor plans, etc., and schedule appointments with your leasing staff 24/7/365.

As the leading full-service apartment marketing firm proudly serving the multifamily industry since 2013, Apartment SEO prioritizes being on the cutting edge of the latest technologies to ensure that it delivers the most up-to-date, effective, and in-demand marketing solutions to our clients. iLease Bot is your state-of-the-art way to make the right first impression and never miss greeting a prospective or current resident again.

About Apartment SEO

Apartment SEO is a leading full-service internet marketing firm dedicated to serving the multi-family housing industry. With decades of combined industry and marketing knowledge, we provide property managers an all-in-one digital marketing solution designed by leaders who understand the unique market that is multi-family housing. For more information, visit our website at www.apartmentseo.com .

Follow Us @ApartmentSEO

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

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

Apartment SEO
BetterBot
Robert Turnbull
Founder & President

robert@betterbot.ai