With today’s red-hot real estate market, agents are busier than ever. That said, it’s important to not just work hard, but also to work smart.
Enter chatbots, a virtual assistant that can help you get more clients and grow your business. Here’s the lowdown on this cutting-edge marketing tool.
What exactly is a chatbot?
As the name suggests, a chatbot is an AI-powered tool that simulates conversations with humans.
In real estate, it’s often used as a frontliner in customer engagement, answering preliminary questions when an agent or broker can’t personally attend to queries.
At this point, it’s important to make one thing clear: they are not meant to replace good old-fashioned customer service — chatbots merely shorten the amount of time people have to wait to be entertained.
There are various ways to set up a chatbot on your website; you could use Facebook’s Messenger plugin or a system made by other providers. And yes, you’re allowed to customize the “dialogue” or conversations that the chatbot carries out. In fact, you can even tweak its language to reflect your brand’s personality.
Why add a chatbot to your website?
Simple: more leads. In an era where convenience is central to good user experience, having a chatbot can boost the number of conversions your website generates. In fact, data suggests that the clickthrough rate of chat conversations ranges anywhere from 15% to 60% — proof that it pays to be fast and responsive. Below are the ways that chatbots can give your business an edge:
Improves customer service – Making prospects wait half an hour for a response certainly leaves a bad impression. Even more so if their query is fairly simple, such as your availability for a meeting. They might assume you’re too busy to handle their real estate needs properly or that you simply don’t care. Getting an almost immediate response — even if it is from a chatbot — on the other hand, says that you value their time.
24/7 prospecting – As agents are fond of saying, “the grind never stops.” However, entertaining clients at two in the morning is untenable even for the most hardworking professional. But if your website has a chatbot, you won’t have to! Whether a prospect is asking for your latest listings or requesting information about a certain neighborhood, your trusty AI-powered concierge can handle these queries tirelessly at any time of the day. The result? You have more time (and energy) to give existing clients the hands-on service they deserve.
Streamline your services – Another great thing about chatbots is that they can optimize user experience. For instance, they can ask upfront whether a browser is looking to buy or sell, then provide the relevant links so people won’t have to scour your website to find them. Chatbots can likewise pre-qualify customers by asking their estimated budget so you can easily narrow down which listings to show them.
Set appointments – What if you had a secretary who can automatically fill out your appointment book so you never miss a meeting? Yes, chatbots can do that, too! Thanks to integration with appointment-setting apps like Calendly, chatbots can notify you every time a new booking is made. What’s more, it can also send follow-ups and reminders to prospects to avoid no-shows.
Garner consumer insight – Over time, you can look at chat interactions to extrapolate exactly what your prospects need and how you can best attend to them. What are their most common questions? What’s their typical budget for buying a home? Which neighborhood are they most interested in? All these data points are insights that you can leverage to turn casual browsers into actual customers.
Best practices for real estate chatbots
Of course, trying a new marketing platform comes with a learning curve. To help you succeed from the get-go, we offer a few tips derived from clients who have successfully implemented chatbots.
Point out the feature – Most chatbot icons are tucked into a corner of the website, which may cause visitors to overlook this handy feature. The solution? Create a popup notification that invites browsers to start a chat. Jenni Davies’ website goes one step further by adding a photo of an agent to the popup to give the chat experience a more “human” touch.
Leverage available technology – Yes, you can have custom-built chatbots made for you, but solutions from established platforms can be just as effective. Case in point: Linsey & Leake, which uses Facebook’s Messaging app plugin effectively on their website. Not only does it cost less to implement, but it also ties into your social media marketing efforts. Any message or query you receive on your website will be automatically reflected in your Messenger inbox, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Provide conversation starters – Here’s a pro-tip you can borrow from LinseyAndLeake.com: start with a welcome greeting to prime your prospects, then offer “conversation starters.” These are essentially a list of commonly asked questions that users can simply click on to get a response. This saves people the hassle of typing and takes them one step closer to getting the information they need.
Offer seamless chatting – Unlike other websites that require you to register before starting a conversation, AtlantaHomes.us lets you start chatting right away; you just need to provide your name to proceed. You’ll also notice some short copy that says, “We reply in seconds” — a message that reassures people that their time is valued.
Allow people to leave their own messages – There are some instances where your pre-filled questions do not match the query a visitor has. As such, it’s vital to let people leave their own messages that detail what they need. After they send it, provide an auto-generated response assuring them that their query will be answered at the soonest possible time.
Ask for their contact info – While Sunny Brstina’s website has a chatbot, she also understands that people might not hang around waiting for a reply. That’s why the chatbot asks for the prospect’s email address so they can forward the response to it instead. This way, even if a person closes the website before seeing the response, they will still receive it in their inbox at a later time.
Want to have a website that’s equipped with a chatbot? Allow Agent Image to update your site today!
Not only will we make your website ready for the future, but we can also redesign it to create a better user experience. To learn more about services, just call 800.979.5799 or fill out our contact form to get a free design consultation!