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There is no doubt that technology is changing the wider business world in many different ways. We spend much more time online shopping, for example, than we did just over a decade ago when smartphones first appeared on the market.
But can new technology such as chatbots and messenger apps make a difference to a business such as an estate agent?
A chatbot is a piece of software that mimics human beings and answers questions or queries from potential customers or a website’s users.
If you’ve ever complained about a company on social media and got a reply directly from them, it’s most likely an AI program that is producing automated responses rather than a real human being.
Many businesses have either a chatbot or a messenger app on their site which visitors can use to ask specific questions. These can either be powered by AI or be manned by real humans or a mixture of both.
The early technology in this field was pretty unremarkable and led to the growing opinion that AI chatbots weren’t much use. In the last five years, however, AI has come on leaps and bounds.
In fact, most people conversing with a chatbot don’t realise they aren’t dealing with a person at all.
This is a slightly apocryphal notion. People want their questions answered and are not at all bothered that it’s being delivered by a chatbot, whether on a business website or social media.
Chatbots are becoming the standard on many business sites, especially those that provide a service. You will find them on legal sites as well as healthcare providers such as chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Some of these are automated, others are direct contact systems with specialist advice from staff members which can give a much wider range of advice and guidance in real-time.
The use of chatbots is becoming more nuanced than a simple FAQ provision. You can now use ads on Facebook, for example, that link directly into the Messenger app. This enables you to target your ads at particular audiences and tailor the conversation to improve engagement and boost conversions.
The majority of chatbots are text-based where someone types their question into an online box. With the rise of home communication systems like Alexa, however, the future is likely to be in voice-activated systems.
It’s well worth investigating the potential for using chatbots and messenger services for your estate agency. As a cost-effective way to engage potential customers, it also provides you with another opportunity to move both buyers and sellers down your sales funnel for better conversion rates.