Imagine yourself in this situation.
You have finally saved enough money to buy yourself a nice home and you are in fact searching for one online!
You land on a brokerage’s website and there it is, THE HOUSE you’ve been looking for. Your heart is full of excitement that this property might be finally yours...your mind, full of questions.
But you are not worried! Because it is at that exact moment that you hear the live saving popup sound of the one and only live chat.
Operator: “Hey! How can I help you today?”
You: “I am looking for 3 bedroom house in Atlanta and my budget is around $900k. Can you help me?”
Operator: “Yes I can! I’d be happy to have a representative contact you with the available listings that best matches your criteria. How many bathrooms you would like?”
You: “3 bathrooms.”
Operator: “ Alright. If you can leave me with your phone number and email address, I can have one of our specialists provide you with listings that best match your criteria.”
You: “Oh you can’t do that yourself. Actually I found a listing, I am on it right now. Do you know of any schools nearby?”
Operator: “I am sorry I can’t answer that. But if you provide me with your phone number and email address I can get someone to answer that for you.”
You: “It’s ok I just need a quick answer. Can you schedule a visit for me?”
Operator: “I am sorry but I can take your contact information and get someone to contact you for all your inquiries.”
You get the point.
Value to the customer = Zero.
And that is the problem.
That’s a typical conversation with most 3rd party “ISA” companies out there. Their number one goal is to get a lead’s contact information. But it doesn’t work like that anymore.
Consumers today are looking for value.
Here are the reasons why we think an AI powered assistant can bring value a brokerage's clients and solve the flaws of a "100% human powered" ISA.
FLAW #1: “100% human powered” isn’t always the best, most efficient way of doing things.
Yes it is real estate, and real estate is personal there is no question about it. But the question here is how can you maintain a certain level of personalization and provide value at scale?
The reason humans are not capable of doing so is because they cannot handle several conversations at the same time. Human operators can only handle a maximum of 1 or 2 or 3 conversations at the same time?
As you saw in the previous scenario, the human operator wasn’t capable of searching a listing database and send the lead listings that match their criteria. Not even schedule a visit.
Why? Because the operator did not have the necessary tools to do so. And in some cases, the human operators are not licensed to discuss real estate.
An AI powered software can do that within seconds, as you can see below.
A real estate bot is able to understand certain real estate questions and answer them, provided they have access to the necessary data. Another way an AI powered software can bring value to a lead is by providing neighbourhood data or sending a CMA to a seller lead.
The advancements of AI and chatbots have enabled us to automate redundant tasks that doesn’t need our immediate intervention. Chatbots have helped us do that in a more “human-like” manner.
As further proof that the live chat ISA model is broken. Two of the biggest and most advanced live chat companies* have shifted from 100% human powered to a hybrid live + bots model.
Intercom: Valued at around $600M with 20,000+ customers.
Drift: Raised $47M in funding with 50,000+ customers.
FLAW #2: Following the same script without taking into consideration context, does not convert.
In an era of hyper-personalization, following one script with all leads that land on your website is too generic. Not all leads are created equally. Some are buyers, some are sellers. Some leads want to inquire about a certain listing or schedule a showing, others are browsing.
Having the necessary tools to distinguish between those leads and changing your script accordingly, is imperative for good conversion. For example, a lead that lands on a listing on your website might be interested in scheduling a visit or checking nearby schools. Below is a good example of how a chatbot can go into different conversations depending on the intent of the lead.
FLAW #3: Lack of integration with mobile & messaging apps.
Legacy live chat is very complicated and hard to get right. Put yourself in the mind of the consumer for a second. When someone lands on your website from a desktop computer or laptop and wants an answer to an inquiry, they are expecting an immediate answer.
It’s proven that replying in under than 5 minutes can be very effective. Some companies aim to reply within seconds. And the only way to do that is through automation. You can see how this is hard to do when you a human behind a desk waiting for a lead to interact with the chat widget 24/7, 365. (Source: HBR)
But people are increasingly going mobile.That’s where conversations are happening today. So not only on web chat but SMS and messaging apps such as Messenger and Whatsapp. Consumers also expect to have the option of contacting a business through messaging.
The buying or selling process is long. It’s not a one time interaction on a website. During that process there is going to be a lot of back and forth communication happening between you and your client. It is by enabling and facilitating communication between you and client that you are going to start that relationship.
So yes a lead might start their search online, land on your website and contact you through your live chat widget, but it shouldn’t end there. With the help of messaging apps you will be able to keep this communication going off of your website, on mobile. Which, if you put yourself in the context of a consumer, isn’t expecting instant replies when it comes to mobile.
Think about how someone interacts on messaging apps. You send someone a message but you do not expect an answer immediately. Communication through messaging apps on mobile extends for hours/days/months and it’s expected.
So to recap what we have discussed. How can you solve the real estate ISA’s biggest problem of not being a solution that brings value to your website visitors?
By doing these 3 things:
Think about how you can provide your website visitors value upfront. Use automation and AI tools that gives you the ability to do so.
Knowing who your lead is and what they are doing on your website will give you better insight on how to better serve them and provide them with what they are looking for.
Finally, think about context and use mobile and messaging apps to your advantage. When people are on desktop they are looking instant gratification, an immediate answer to a question. Continuing the conversation on mobile through messaging apps will give you the time you need to nurture that lead and build the relationship.