Will your next home purchase be with a Chatbot?
by Michael Lam | Dec 28, 2016
This year, messaging and AI came to the mainstream media and became one, it’s called a “Chatbot”. With Microsoft and Facebook popularizing this phenomenon of a Chatbot, a new trend has risen, and it’s the promise of a chatbot augmenting your business or possibly taking over a business completely. How can this new technology benefit or hurt the real estate industry? Let’s first define a chatbot.
What is a chatbot?
Wiki says “a chatter robot is a type of conversational agent, a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via auditory or textual method.” Another way to define a chatbot, it’s a program designed to take messages from a user and respond back with a relevant answer. The “relevant” answer can be thought of being pure AI (artificial intelligence) or some form AI. How could a chatbot benefit an agent and how could it improve the client & agent relationship experience?
Real estate notoriously is slow to adopt any new technology and only recently that last 10 years have we seen a wave of new technology in that space, i.e HomeTrueScore. Even with that, you still have the common questions that challenges the core principle of a real estate transaction. Do we need real estate agents (the middle man)? I’m on record being a strong believer needing a real estate agent by your side when you arguably make the LARGEST purchase of your life. You always need a ‘confidant’. But due to the influx of sub-par, unqualified agents muddying up the group of qualified agents. It’s easy to choose the “bad apples” to work with.
Top agents like Allen Benjamin and Jordan Mott, don’t really care about bad agents. Their laser focus and commitment to their clients, supersedes any negative outcome from those unqualified agents. They put their clients first and are always willing to adopt new technologies that provides a superior service than any ONE technology can offer.
How a Real Estate Chatbot could help your business:
- Manage agent’s house viewing schedule. A chatbot could connect to a realtors schedule and work with it while interacting with the client to find a convenient time for both to look at a home.
- Answer relevant questions about a home. For example, if you have a profile to only care about home price, home sqft dimensions, number of beds/bath. You can text a number,code or address to the bot, and it can return back with your desired information. This is most relevant to seller agents who want to give buyers a way to access details of the home without needing to print out a flyer that can easily get lost.
- Coordinating a home tour map. This is a common annoyance among buyers. If you have multiple homes to visit, what’s the best route to take that is convenient for BOTH the client & agent? The bot can figure this out and send both parties the ideal driving directions.
- The chatbot can notify the client of a home status. Getting real time status of an offer is another option that can be made available by seller agent’s bot.
- By plugging a bot with your business, you can scale as an agent and take on more clients while serving the needs of your clients in a more focused personal environment. No more missed calls, or incorrect email reply, or being too busy..etc.
- … the features are limitless
- You lose the personal relationship between the client and the agent. Since most common questions can be answered by a bot. You may end up interacting less.
- There is the possibility of incorrect status updates being made by the bot, thus negatively affecting your offer strategy
- There is the concern of real estate compliance and the type of data that can be shared or governed. How is privacy protected? Clients often share personal finances with the real estate agent such as purchasing power, or max limit…etc
- With any tool, there are possible points of failure. How much and how often can be put on the chatbot technology
Chatbot – Example: GoBe – The Job Bot
What better way to make your own decision if a chatbot will be useful by testing one yourself. I personally co-founded, GoHire, Inc, with Jonathan Duarte, a 20 year veteran of the HR industry. We are in the chatbot industry, currently focused in the HR space. Together, we created a valuable chatbot for job seekers. We call our bot, GoBe – The Job Bot. We’ve designed the chat flows to be extremely easy to understand and navigate.
With just answering a few relevant questions, you will get presented of jobs in your local area. It’s simple as that. It can help you find, view, and apply for jobs directly within Facebook Messenger.
Now imagine you take GoBe, and place this on each realtors website? Have GoBe connect to each realtors scheduling software. What do you have now? To the benefit of the Realtor, he/she can now focus on tending to a client’s real time needs while scaling and not having to waste precious time ‘scheduling’ open homes or meet ups or other task that can get automated. The bot can do all this behind the scene while conversing with the individual via messaging. I have yet to see such a chatbot on a realtors page yet, but that’s just a matter of time. Is it just be a matter of time your next home purchase will be with a chatbot and a realtor? Will the chatbot get a commission as well?
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