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?
What Are Chatbots and Messenger Apps
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.
Can Chatbots Mimic Real Humans?
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.
Is It True People Don’t Like Chatbots?
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.
The Benefits of Chatbots and Messenger Apps
- People are more impatient for answers than they used to be. Chatbot technology allows you to give an immediate response to standard queries which means buyers and sellers are not kept waiting.
- This service is available 24/7 which also means people can get the information they need at any time of day, wherever they are in the world.
- A conversation on a chatbot can lead to deeper engagement with your estate agency, ensuring potential buyers and sellers are more likely to take that next step.
- In the long run, developing a chatbot for your estate agency is a relatively cheap way of providing information and customer support.
- Once it is set up, maintenance costs are low and updates are easy to add into the system.
- A well-designed chatbot provision releases agency staff who aren’t tied up with answering standard queries.
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 Future of Chatbots
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.
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