How Chatbots Work & Why Your Real Estate Business Needs One

Digital Marketing Consultant Washington DC - Alex Lloro


Managing Director

According to statistics, 85% of all customer interactions by 2020 will happen without the involvement of a live representative.

Chatbots are an emerging innovation that helps improve your processes while also lowering costs. So, how do chatbots work, and how can they help your real estate business? Let’s find out.

Artificial intelligence's (AI) revolution is in full swing and, much like other revolutionary technological happenings, is washing over every business sector like a tidal wave. As the real estate landscape grows increasingly competitive, you need to squeeze every drop of traction your business can get.

Understanding Chatbots

A chatbot, also known as a messenger bot, is a type of software designed to simulate a conversation with a human being. These bots convey their content either through text or audio and are specially designed to work on your website or even your Facebook business page.

How Do Chatbots Work?

There are two basic types of chatbots in use today. On the one hand, you have those that work in response to pre-prepared commands (rule-based bots) and those that respond to natural language (AI chatbots).

1. Rule-Based Chatbots

When it comes to rule-based chatbots, the web developer has to create keywords that the bot can recognize. To write these commands, a coder must use regular expressions (or other forms of string analysis) to generate each instruction individually. 

As a user interacts with the chatbot, they will need to use these keywords for the software to understand the input and respond. If the user asks a question without incorporating any of the keywords the developer has created, then the bot won’t understand. In response, it will issue a message indicating its lack of comprehension. 

A simple example of a rule-based chatbot is a basic text-based application that many businesses now use such as, “Text COFFEE to 56789 to get a 15% off coupon.”

When your phone system sends the word ‘COFFEE,’ the chatbot analyzes the word and likely normalizes it to lowercase. Once it recognizes it as a keyword, it responds to the rule the developer set and delivers the coupon. 

If you were to send “I want the coupon” in response to the instructions (or even misspell ‘COFEE’), the rule-based chatbot would respond differently. Since such an answer does not involve the keyword the bot needs to recognize, it won’t deliver the coupon. 

2. AI Chatbots

AI chatbots depend on AI and natural language processing to understand what the user is saying. These kinds of bots go beyond what rule-based bots can do by not only seeking to understand what the user is saying but also trying to discern their intent. 

Thus, in our previous example, if you were to send the response, “I want the coupon,” the bot can understand what you mean. In return, the bot would ask you if you want the donut coupon, coffee coupon, or both. 

AI chatbots have a database, access to APIs, and the application layer. As for the interface, an AI chatbot depends on a messaging platform so that it can interact with the customer.

The ability to query user intent further is the opportunity that makes AI bots more valuable for businesses than rule-based ones. 

Since this class of bot uses an interface that your customer is familiar with, and which plays a vital part in their daily life, it has much better odds of delivering your communication successfully

How Chatbots Can Benefit Your Real Estate Business 

Understanding how chatbots work is useful only if you can tailor them to your operations. The goal for you should be to let the bots serve your business and customers, and not the other way around. Let’s look at some ways those bots can add value to your real estate firm. 

1. Lead Generation and Qualification

Chatbots play a vital part in helping you both generate and assess real estate leads. 

For a start, these bots take on the grueling task of answering the frequently asked questions by prospects that would otherwise wear down a live representative. As a bot doesn’t experience fatigue, it can more objectively assess the quality of the inquiry from a prospect.

When a prospect does turn out to be promising, you can deploy chatbots to engage such prospects in their inboxes. As a result, you can generate useful information that helps you increase the quality of your sales funnel. 

2. 24/7 Support

Your level of customer service is arguably one of the most critical factors for success. A vital aspect of excellent customer service is available whenever a customer needs to reach you. Chatbots help your business be present to serve every customer when it is most convenient for them. 

You can deploy bots that are designed to respond to the most repetitive and frequently asked questions while forwarding more complex ones to a live representative. 

That helps you respond in the shortest time possible to customer inquiries and ultimately convert more of them to sales. 

3. Cost Saving

Chatbots have the potential to make your operations cheaper as a full functioning bot is more affordable to run compared to a cross-platform app or an in-house team. Since you can hand off some of the more routine and repetitive tasks, you have the ability to employ a lean force that handles the more complex issues.

In addition to having less staff to pay, a smaller and more effectively utilized team means that your business makes fewer errors. That, in turn, helps you cut on costs associated with resolving these employee errors. 

Another potential benefit of using chatbots is that it has the potential to lower your customer acquisition costs. Customers get to immediately access and interact with these bots, allowing you to optimize the associated costs. 

4. Proactive Customer Relations

Gone are the days where real estate businesses only interacted with customers passively, i.e., when the customer was reaching out to them. To survive in today’s competitive market, chatbots can help you effectively initiate customer interactions to foster your brand and nurture prospective relationships that might lead to sales. 

Back to the Future

Real estate entrepreneurs are daily looking to harness technology for more significant results. Chatbots are a useful innovation that can help lower your costs while also improving your customer experience. To get the best out of them, you need to answer the question correctly, “how do chatbots work?” and tailor the resulting insights to your operations.

Feel free to schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can help you generate and qualify more leads for your business.

How to generate more leads for your business