We live in an on-demand world.
Need someone to pick up your dry cleaning? There’s an app for that.
Want a blowout before a big event? There’s an app for that, too.
You can buy something from Amazon and have it show up the next day.
If you’re craving Thai food, a bike courier will deliver it to you in minutes.
The “need it now” mentality has totally changed the world of customer service.
Consumers are no longer satisfied by a response that comes in 24 to 48 hours later. They want information NOW.
For real estate agents running their own real estate business, it’s pretty much impossible. You might send them an autoresponse but to personally reply to every inquiry within minutes or hours? Not gonna happen. And that means you could be missing out on great leads.
Chatbots are making it possible for realtors to offer sleek and *instant* online assistance to anyone who comes looking for information.
Read on to learn how the latest tech tool is changing the game for real estate agents.
Wait, what are chatbots?
Chatbots are artificial intelligence systems that are radically changing online customer service and communication.
Before you get scared, know that these aren’t the kind of advanced robots that destroy humans in movies. These are simpler, smaller scale systems that can respond to just enough questions to be useful, but not enough to be creepy.
Once a visitor starts typing their question or comment, the chatbot will respond accordingly. All kinds of companies are using these bots to help visitors, customers and followers get the information they’re looking for.
Want to see how it works for yourself? Check out the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook page. See the blue button labelled ‘Get Updates’? It has a Facebook Messenger icon. Click that button and the WSJ’s chatbot will send you news and data that you’re interested in.
Not all chatbots use AI. Some use only programmed rules established by their author. These kinds of bots only know how to respond to the specific questions they’ve been programmed for.
What can real estate agents use chatbots for?
In short, to handle questions that come in at any time of day, and to capture the information of all leads — including the ones that go nowhere.
Let’s say someone visits your Facebook page and, intrigued by your Facebook Messenger icon (like Wall Street Journal’s), starts a conversation. Your chatbot then comes alive and asks the visitor some questions about what they’re looking for.
Even if that visitor ends the chat right away, your chatbot has a record of that user. Boom. You’ve captured lead information. If they chat for longer and tell your bot about what they’re looking to buy or sell, even better.
Using a chatbot on your Facebook page or on your website helps you:
- Save time: instead of responding to one-time inquiries that don’t result in any business, your chatbot can handle it. The visitor will feel like they’ve been helped, and you won’t have wasted any time.
- Capture leads: your chatbot is a lead magnet. Once visitors engage the bot, it can take them through a series of questions to figure out what they’re looking for. It can point them to your current listings, and book them for open houses.
- Impress visitors: chatbots deliver 24/7 customer service. Being able to access on-demand information creates a pretty great first impression for your visitors.
- Stay current: chatbots are amongst the hottest new trends in tech. Using one for your real estate business shows how current you are.
How can I get my own chatbot?
You don’t have to be a coding genius to implement a chatbot for your real estate business. As chatbots have entered the mainstream, so have the number of tools and services available to help the average Joe take advantage of the technology,
Here are a few of the tools that we like best for the real estate industry:
This real estate-specific chatbot tool is designed to help realtors capture leads on Facebook and on their website.
It can answer and ask questions — it doesn’t have to wait for a visitor to initiate the chat. Once the conversation begins, the bot can guide the lead through a series of questions designed to help you qualify them, so you know just how to follow up. Pricing begins at $5/month.
ManyChat lets anyone create a Facebook Messenger bot for marketing, sales and support purposes.
It offers a drag-and-drop builder that requires no coding skills. A basic version is available for free; a pro version, with extra features and opportunities, is priced based on the number of Messenger subscribers your account has.
With Botsify, users can create customizable Facebook Messenger bots, as well as bots for their website, using a one-time setup.
Want to jump in on a conversation and take over from your bot? No problem. Free and paid plans available.
This tool by Structurely refers to itself as an “Artificial Intelligence Inside Sales Agent.” It actually helps your leads find properties that fit their description, thanks to its integration with MLS data.
It also offers an SMS tool for agents that provides them with on-demand information about any property. The bad part: it’s currently only available in the U.S.
Have any burning questions about chatbots and how realtors can use them? Ask us in the comments!