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Real Estate Technology

5 chatbots that could dramatically change real estate marketing

(TECH NEWS) A new chatbot system is headed towards the real estate sector and it is sure to change the game.

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X and Y

Real estate and A.I. may seem like two different worlds, but some would say they’re just on different timelines.

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Grant Gould, co-founder of Automabots, is looking to bring artificial intelligence to the real estate world in a big way, through chatbots developed for real estate-specific purposes.

Real estate’s venture into A.I.

Gould is by no means new to the A.I. world, or to entrepreneurship.

In 2002, he started paying close attention to automated technologies, and began to focus on “building automated agents.”

Driven by the potential A.I. holds to make life more efficient, he read endlessly on the topic, digging into the hardcore science of MIT papers.

And now he’s come out with Automabots: real estate bots that claim to triple a website’s lead conversion rates, and engage more buyer and seller prospects through an A.I. technology developed specifically for real estate, not just a technology absorbed by the industry by default.

Shoes, flowers and now, houses

A 300 percent increase in lead conversion is a big claim, but Gould Gould notes that artificial intelligence is already fueling chatbots that are helping people to buy shoes, flowers, and a number of other things.

Why shouldn’t Realtors and Brokers take advantage of chatbots to nurture home leads on their websites?

Automabots is currently fundraising, which means they’re expecting rapid growth and want to be ahead of the game so they can keep up with demand – a highly positive sign. The company currently has 100 clients, and they plan to roll out to 48 different markets in batches this spring.

Quintuple the fun with Automabots

And here’s the coolest part of their story: Automabots has an ‘s’ on the end for a reason – they’re building five chatbots.

A lead capture bot -When a person undertakes to convert a site visitor into a real lead, it can take a bunch of time and money that could be well-spent elsewhere. Why not let a bot take care of it? Gould cites lead capture as the biggest challenge, saying that there’s currently no attention paid to lead conversion, so there’s tons of room for improvement. This is the bot featured on the Automabots website, so you can check it out for yourself right now!

A lead manager bot -If you’ve ever wished you could have a quick, productive convo with your CRM data instead of staring at it aimlessly, look no further. Gould compares this bot to a personal assistant that you chat with, instead of logging into anything. It’s elegant, time-saving, and friendly!

A scheduler bot -A simple bot for organizing showings and keeping sellers informed. Gould says this will be fully automatable, for minimal effort on your part.

A digital marketing bot -Oh, another one? But this one might be worth paying attention to – here’s why. Gould says this bot could automate listings uniquely, meaning that instead of the bot blasting a listing link across all social media platforms (and the link being ignored, because what works on Facebook is useless on Pinterest), the Automabots digital marketing bot could create 100 distinct property listing descriptions on one listing for content. It could be a gold mine for SEO and SEM, and it sounds to us like it might just be the first social media bot actually made for real estate. Consider us impressed.

A transactional bot -According to Gould, this isn’t a transaction coordinator – but those do exist. Instead, this is a bot designed to communicate with all parties intelligently and keep things running smoothly.

Don’t freak out, yet.

For those of you wary of robot job-stealers, your fears are somewhat justified.

Gould concedes that A.I. “does take jobs, just like in manufacturing with robots, but I don’t see it taking away Realtor jobs.”Click To Tweet

At least not yet – “Maybe eventually it will have an impact as Millennials are of an independent mindset of doing things themselves, but I embrace A.I. I see it for what it is – an opportunity to become more profitable, more efficient, and serve people better.”

In other words, it’s a paradigm shift, and it’s happening now.

#BuyYourHouseWithABot

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

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Real Estate Technology

Amazon Alexa app for real estate could fill your lead pipeline

(REAL ESTATE TECH) A new app has been developed for Amazon Alexa to connect home buyers and real estate professionals, check it out.

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Voice interaction is truly the wave of the future. Amazon Alexa leads the way. It’s reported that Amazon will be announcing Alexa for Business Platform, which takes voice into the workplace.

Enterprises can use Alexa to manage temperature and lights and to get information, but other skills and apps will be available to help with calendar management, ordering supplies and much, much more. Alexa has the capability to integrate with business to be a voice-activated virtual assistant.

And artificial intelligence via voice interaction with Alexa is now entering the real estate market.

Agent NEO is an Alexa app designed for the real estate industry. This app helps users look for homes to buy, check real estate information and find a real estate agent.

Agents who are registered with the app can easily connect with buyers and sellers and stay in touch with current and past clients through the app. Users can also get information about their home’s value through the app.

How it works:

  • Users ask Alexa to help them find houses to buy. Alexa narrows down the search by locality, budget, size of house and other preferences. Users can even access pre-approval for loans.
  • Alexa matches users to a real estate agent in the area where the user is looking to buy or sell.
  • Alexa sends the information to the agent about the potential client, including their search details. The user gets an email with your contact information, a bio and an intro from you.
  • The app can book showings for users, based on their individual preferences.

Agents can join by going to the Agent NEO website. Although the technology is still fairly new, as more people invest in voice-activated interfaces, it could be a great way to generate leads for your company.

This story was first published here in November 2017.

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Real Estate Technology

How to get chatbots to actually boost conversion rates

(TECH NEWS) Understanding your customers’ expectations and beliefs about chatbots can help boost your business AND save you time.

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Chatbots can save you time and money with the right set up, but first you have to get your customer on board with this relatively recent channel of customer support. A 2017 study conducted by Audience, Drift, myclever, SalesForce, and SurveyMonkey assessed consumer perception of chatbots.

Of the 1,051 adults aged 18-64 who participated in the study, only 15 percent had previously used a chatbot. So the results are a bit limited, but provide insight into how to draw in those who are inexperienced or unfamiliar with chatbots.

If you want to have a successful chatbot, aim for the lowest denominator of familiarity to ensure the overall experience is not frustrating. The goal is to reduce other forms of communication, like calls and emails to save your company time.

About two-thirds of respondents said they would value the 24-hour availability of a chatbot. Receiving assistance at any given time is a huge plus.

When you break that response into Millennials versus Baby Boomers, 66 percent of the younger generation like the round-the-clock availability while 58 percent of Boomers valued 24-hour service.

Over sixty percent of Baby Boomers see instant responses to simple questions as chatbots primary benefit. However, they have slightly less confidence than Millennials that chatbots will be friendly an approachable.

Overall, way less than half of those surveyed had faith in a chatbot’s ability to answer complex questions, or provide detailed, expert responses. There seems to be a general understanding that while chatbots offer help for easy questions, they’re not a catch-all for every use-case or advanced scenarios.

In fact, 43 percent stated they would prefer contacting a human for assistance, and a third cited fears that the chatbot would make a mistake.

Chatbots available 24/7 that aren’t able to sufficiently answer customer’s questions can lead to frustration by the time they end up speaking to an actual person if incorrect info is provided.

Not naming names, but I’ve personally experienced the nightmare of asking a chatbot a question only for it to repeatedly provide irrelevant solutions and ask, “did we get that right?” all the while continuing to not answer my question.

I understand a chatbot won’t always have the answers, but it’s still an aggravating experience to deal with a product that doesn’t seem to work in you or the company’s favor.

Other potential barriers to embracing chatbot use included respondents preferring to “use a normal website,” or if they couldn’t interact with the bot in a friendly manner. Some also reported they would not use a chatbot if it was accessible only through Facebook.

Brave souls reporting “nothing would stop me from using a chatbot” only made up 15 percent of respondents.

When setting up your chatbot, make sure you include as many potential questions and answers as possible.

However, there should also be a clear channel to communicate with a real person should the bot provide unsatisfactory or limited help.

Brokerages are using chatbots on their sites already and annoying users, converting nothing. Heed the advice above, understand your consumer and the limitations of chatbots, and your conversion rates are set up for success.

There are plenty of services out there to help you get started with setting up a chatbot, and some even offer free trial periods. Customers may not be totally sold on chatbots over real people, but if you set yours up in a user-friendly way, you could boost your support levels and customer satisfaction, thereby improving conversion rates.

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Real Estate Technology

Real estate offices can be much more like sexy startup offices

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Science proves that open floor plans are more conducive to office productivity, but is that true for brokerages, too?

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Office settings

If you walk into a tech startup, nine times out of ten you’ll find an open seating / bull-pen style seating.

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Open offices are trendy amongst tech startups – has the fad caught on amongst real estate brokerages?

Better together

Whereas traditional work environments are divided up into departments with individual offices and cubicles, open offices have floorplans that put all employees in the same room.

Studies have shown that cubicles don’t increase productivity.

As a matter of fact, people are more productive when they are sitting close together, but can see each other.

Pros of openness

Some of the advantages of an open office floorplan are obvious. These kinds of offices are economical because you can fit more people and more desks in less space, and because it is more efficient to heat, cool, and light one large room than several small rooms.

Open office plans also facilitate communication between managers and their employees, and between departments.

Rather than taking the stairs or hiking down the hall to collaborate with another person, you can simply holler across the room.

Cons of openness

Unfortunately, all of that hollering can be pretty distracting. A University of Sydney study found that half of workers in open offices say that the most frustrating part of their workplace is the “lack of sound privacy.”

Open offices are not only noisy, but are also less secure, since everyone can overhear one another.

Employees may get peeved if they can’t concentrate because of all the noise around them, or can’t make a phone call without being overheard.

Dr. Who inspired solution

A startup called Framery Acoustics offers a solution.

They create soundproof phone booths and meeting pods designed to complement open office floorplans.

One of the founders, who previously worked in an open office, complained that his boss talked too loudly on his cellphone. His boss replied, “Well, get me a phone booth.” Thus, Framery Acoustics was born.

Simple solutions

Framery Acoustics is just one company that offers a product suited to appease open office dissenters. Framery Acoustics isn’t ready to give up on openness and neither should you. Instead, look for ways to make your office more flexible. Whether it is by providing a quiet capsule for private meetings and phone calls or just having a designated section for meeting, the solution is out there.

Compromising allows you to reap the benefits of an open office plan, while still ensuring that you and your officemates have privacy and quiet when it is needed.

#openoffices

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