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Will Chatbots Help Bring Customer Service Back to Real Estate?

By Allison Halliday | March 8, 2017

An article in REM highlights the fact that the real estate industry often fails to utilize technology, particularly when it comes to customer service, and this is where chatbots could be useful.

The way people search for a home has changed considerably over the past few years as far fewer people will walk into a real estate agency to find out details about a property featured in the window. Instead, a survey by the National Association of Realtors estimates around 88% of homebuyers and people looking to rent a property will visit a website first to find their new home. The article points out that even though home details may have been digitized the same can’t be said about customer service. For many people, this is still an important factor when choosing a Realtor. Nowadays, the importance of customer service and the whole process of building a relationship with a client is diminishing.

This is hardly surprising given the fact that a conventional website is unable to answer any queries or questions a potential buyer may have regarding a particular property and often buyers can feel disconnected due to the lack of personal interaction. Actually generating contact with a buyer can be a challenge. Website owners often make the mistake of assuming that people visiting a website don’t wish for any personal interaction and some will actively discourage this to help reduce customer inquiries.

Currently, around 90% of real estate brokers have a website that includes property listings and staff photos, as well as testimonials. These three factors help place a real estate website within the top 40% but some have a few other elements such as an interactive map or a home financing widget. In contrast, any attempt at offering customer service is usually limited to an email address or a phone number available during office hours. This is where chatbots can be very useful as they are online every second of every day and can interact with multiple customers at the same time. Chatbots can deal with customer inquiries at times when you cannot.

Surveys have found that consumers appreciate having their questions answered during an online transaction, so potentially this could be a valuable feature for a website to offer. Having a chatbot will also help your website stand out from the crowd.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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