Last modified on December 5th, 2019
By Megan Eales Monroe
70% of companies will have adopted at least one form of AI technology by 2030, according to a report from McKinsey. No industry will be left untouched, including real estate, where AI is already transforming the way work is done.
All of this raises an important question — how will the rise of AI technology impact the quality of customers’ experience?
Delivering a consistently excellent customer experience is one of the best ways that you can differentiate your brand from the rest and win loyal residents.
According to Microsoft’s 2018 State of Global Customer Service survey, 59% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service than they did a year ago. Artificial Intelligence can help you rise to meet these expectations.
While the term AI may suggest an impersonal, robotic-like exchange, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. AI technology can actually provide the valuable, personalized, real-time interactions that customers now crave.
Here are three ways that AI technology can transform the customer experience by enabling fast, personalized, and data-driven service.
AI Improves Lead Response Time
First, let’s dive into the problem of slow lead response times. According to a 2018 Zillow report, renters who inquire about a rental listing expect to hear back from a property manager within 24 hours. The faster you can reply, the greater your chances of obtaining a signed lease. According to research by Zillow, if you respond to leads in the first 1-2 minutes of receiving the inquiry, you’re 40% more likely to engage with customers. If you wait even 30 minutes to respond, that likelihood plummets to 10%.
AI makes it possible for each and every renter to receive a response within minutes, no matter what time of day they reach out. With conversational AI like AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant Lisa, a prospective renter can find your listing, call or text the number, and almost instantly hear back with answers to their questions. Lisa will ask questions to qualify the lead, cross-sell other vacancies in your portfolio to find the best fit, and then help the prospective renter to book a showing. On the day of their showing, she’ll text them to confirm their appointment and reschedule if necessary. She even follows up after the showing with application information.
This is a great example of how AI technology can solve the problem of slow response times. By giving the renter the immediate service and information they need, with AI you can make sure every lead receives the timely follow up they expect.
AI Provides More Personalized Service
A recent Accenture study showed 58% of consumers would switch to a provider that excels at personalizing experiences. Furthermore, a Salesforce study revealed that 84% of customers said being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.
So, how can AI provide the high level of personalization that your customers expect?
In many ways, AI technology is well-equipped to personalize interactions with customers. By accessing all the data points available about your customer, AI can actually tailor the service and information provided to that individual.
For example, AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant Lisa asks questions to prospective renters to understand what’s important to them. Maybe they’re looking for a property that’s pet-friendly, has a certain number of bedrooms, or is located in a particular neighborhood. With access to your business’ database, Lisa can quickly determine if the property they’ve inquired about is actually a great fit. Renters may not always read the entire property description before reaching out, but Lisa can ensure it’s a good fit for their needs — and if it isn’t the best fit, she can suggest other vacant units in your portfolio that would suit their needs.
Just like a skilled leasing agent, but with the added ability to instantly scan all the data available and make a decision, AI can actually provide highly personalized experiences.
AI Enables a Consistently Excellent Customer Experiences
Finally, AI allows you to provide the same excellent experience to every customer, every time. One of the reasons that it can be challenging for your team to provide consistent experiences is that volume fluctuates — and when that volume becomes too high, even the most capable team members will be unable to provide instant replies and top-notch service to everyone at once. Work-life balance is also a concern for leasing teams. Although leads expect quick replies, it’s not easy to provide that outside of your team’s normal business hours.
Since an AI Leasing Assistant can reply to any number of incoming questions at once, no matter what time of day or day of the week it may be, it makes it possible for your leads and customers to have the same consistently excellent experience, no matter whether they reach out during business hours or at 3 A.M.
If you’re curious to see what this looks like in practice, check out this video to learn how Cambridge Management Group uses AI to provide personalized experiences and excellent service to renters:
In many ways, AI empowers your team to not only meet, but even stay ahead of customer expectations. And since research by Salesforce revealed that 72% of customers will share a good experience, focusing on providing this experience will earn your business better word-of-mouth for more referrals and testimonials.
Far from being a cold and impersonal technology, AI is indeed transforming the customer experience, while positioning companies like yours to win more loyal customers.