Can AI 'chatbots' find a home in the property market?
by Housesimple on 3rd August 2017
The chances are you’ve met a chatbot. They’re often designed to seem like normal customer service reps that pop up in messenger windows online to ask if they can help. In reality, they're cleverly coded pieces of software that search company databases to find the answer to your questions. They could even help with your property purchase too.
Our new best friends
More people than ever are using instant messaging to have a natter. In 2015, the number of us using messenger apps overtook social networks. Just last year, a Marketing Week study found that 77% of content shared on our mobiles goes through messaging apps.
Trends like these show that the way we search, share and hang out is changing. Social media and apps are no longer the cutting edge of online tech. Messaging with chatbots is the new frontier when it comes to seeking out products and engaging with businesses.
For sellers and estate agents like HouseSimple.com, in the future AI could give us the chance to improve the house hunting experience for potential buyers. Chatbot advisors like Apartment Ocean's Advisor Mary can ask questions and help lead buyers to the perfect property, while virtual assistants like x.ai can quickly book viewings and other appointments into free slots in the calendar.
They could also save everyone time in bringing the right buyers and sellers together. As it stands, estate agents spend 90% of their time ‘prospecting’ – industry speak for looking for buyers and answering questions. Chatbots could cut the time sellers spend on this stage and ensure that it's dedicated to answering the important, human questions (and reaching a fair price, of course).
Finding the right fit
Buying and selling a property is a big deal. It takes a lot of trust to take the plunge and it wouldn’t be surprising if some people had trouble putting their faith in AI. So while proptech finds its digital feet and smart homes take root, chatbots may need a slow and steady introduction.
This could mean using them to do simple functions like quick, personalised searches to narrow down buying options. It could also mean handling viewings. But we think it’ll be a while before they take over the process from start to finish. Watch this space.
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