Why Online Reviews Matter To Renters

According to research from the United States Bureau of Statistics, 93 percent of consumers read online reviews regularly, 85 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 40 percent form an opinion after reading one to three reviews. 

When I was apartment shopping, I read 5 to 10 reviews on every apartment I was considering. 

Whether it was good or bad. 

Respage wrote an article called Why apartment Google reviews matter more than others and stated, “Google considers apartment reviews when determining the ranking of local organic search results. This implies that communities with positive apartment ratings get a higher ranking than communities with negative reviews. Another element Google considers is the number of apartment reviews, and those with the most reviews are rewarded by having their apartment ranks boosted.” 

Reviews give you insight into the property that might be hidden behind all the photoshop pictures on the website. 

When I was searching for an apartment, I would be more focused on how a property manager would respond rather than the problem itself. 

It allowed me to see how property managers handle problematic situations. 

While I understand Google reviews sway someone’s decision, here’s why I give apartment complexes the benefit of the doubt sometimes when they have a negative review. 

I once ran into a situation where I fell in love with a property online. However, the Google reviews were disappointing to read. There were tons of reviews complaining about the property, but I couldn’t shake my love for how the property looked. 

A few days later, I decided to visit the property to see it firsthand. 

When I met with one of the leasing agents, she explained how they recently acquired the property and have been trying to make up for all the turmoil the last management caused in the three weeks they owned the property. 

The leasing agent walked me through all the changes that were going to be made and the problems they were currently working on. 

The moral of the story is if you are having doubts about a property, it’s best to go to the property yourself and get firsthand experiences. 

Another tip! You can always bring some Google concerns up to the leasing agent and inquire about the issues mentioned.

When it comes to reading online reviews, my suggestion would be to search for the apartment complex on multiple platforms aside from Google.

While Google reviews hold a lot of weight regarding how people make decisions, other platforms such as Facebook and Apartment.com can have more authentic reviews. 

Chatbot Vs. Live Chat: Which is Winning in Renter Conversion?

Chatbot vs. Live Chat: What is the Difference?

Over the past decade or so, the property management world has undergone quite the digital transformation. From things like VR tours to e-signing, new technologies are continually pushing the envelope of what’s possible in multifamily. Yet, one of the most important innovations driving change in the industry isn’t one of the flashiest or most expensive. In fact, chatbots are one of the simplest and most affordable technologies a property management team can adopt. But can a bot hold its own against more traditional live chat-based customer service? Today we’ll break down the chatbot vs. live chat debate to get to the bottom of which one is really better for converting users into new renters. 

Chatbot vs. live chat: the breakdown

Who will win? While both chatbots and live chat ultimately share the same purpose, there are a variety of important ways that they differ in functionality and overall helpfulness. Let’s see how each holds up to scrutiny. Time for the chatbot vs. live chat showdown. 

Where chatbots go the extra mile

24/7, 365 service

Today’s prospective renters want to be able to get info on properties and have their questions answered anytime, anywhere. The beauty of chatbots is that they allow hands-off customer service whenever it’s needed, even when it’s after business hours or on holidays. Most people tend to do research when they’re off the clock, so having a chatbot available to handle requests can be a big plus for your team. 

Instantaneous responses 

We all live busy lives, and the shorter amount of time we can spend waiting on info or assistance, the better. Chatbots are automated, which means they can provide information almost instantaneously. 

Let’s your team focus on other tasks

One of the biggest pros of having a chatbot is that it allows you to give more time back to your property management teams. Instead of employees filling their days responding to an endless amount of customer service queries, they can redirect their focus and energy into other, higher-value tasks like marketing and outreach. 

What are the Limitations of Chatbots?

No human touch?

Chatbots can answer questions quickly and effectively, but when not programmed well, they can come across as cold, artificial, and unpleasant to converse with. That’s why it’s super important to customize and build personality into your bot. That way each conversation users have will be friendly, pleasant, and helpful. In fact, 33% of consumers user conversational marketing tools for scheduling and average satisfaction of a bot-only chat is 87.58% which is higher than the average rate for when prospects engage with a human.

Harder to take care of complex queries

Bots can handle simple requests like no one’s business. But they’re only programmed to understand and offer solutions to a certain set of scenarios. When it comes to more complex customer service issues, they may have trouble providing answers. They can also be tripped up by any spelling errors that occur. If a user submits a query with typos, natural language processing chatbots will have a hard time parsing through and understanding the text, whereas guided conversation can offer suggestions so that the bot never breaks. Guided Conversation bots can actually fix issues that Natural Language Processing bots encounter. Guided Conversation is a clear solution to handling prospect interaction by attending to 100% of the questions 100% of the time. Natural Language processing bots only succeed on average 66% of the time. This is why it’s important to create a seamless chatbot to human handoff when these situations arise.

What is the disadvantage of live chat?

Low volume capacity

Popular properties may have dozens (or even hundreds) of queries sent in each day. If you only have 1 or 2 people taking care of these requests, you’re severely limited in how many requests you’re actually able to complete. And that means people will take their interest elsewhere. 

Longer wait times

Chatbots can answer a request in under a second. If you’re talking with a live agent, you have to sit and wait for each new message to roll in, a process that can take upwards of 30 minutes if you have a lot of questions or a particularly tricky issue that needs resolving. 

Teams have to hire additional help

Like we mentioned earlier, popular properties can have hundreds of queries each day. But many teams don’t have the funds or resources necessary to hire a whole fleet of live agents. 

Chatbot vs. live chat: the ultimate verdict

While each method has its advantages and disadvantages, it’s clear that chatbots are winning when it comes to customer service and renter conversion. Today, 70% of consumers prefer chat over other forms of communication, and bots can provide quick answers with no need to wait for an available live agent. What’s more, we’ve found that if a bot has a successful conversation, it has upwards of a 95% consumer satisfaction score. With properties that use BetterBot specifically, we’ve seen that 10% of all conversations starting on our chatbot convert to a viable prospect or scheduled appointment. Along with converting more prospects into renters, these automated conversations have saved over 1 million hours for leasing teams across the country, allowing them to spend more time on the tasks that matter most.

If you found this guide helpful, we’ve got more where that came from. Explore the latest multifamily news and trends on the BetterBot blog

Why BetterBot ditched NLP and moved to Guided Conversation

From the beginning, BetterBot has adapted to changes as we’ve learned. Early on, we built the largest proprietary Natural Language Processing (NLP) database in the multifamily industry, and we scrapped it for several reasons. To understand why it’s essential to know the difference between NLP & Guided Conversation. NLP bots guide users through human-like conversations instead of giving users a predefined set of questions to choose from, like Guided Conversation. NLP bots analyze user queries for keywords and phrases and then answer accordingly. Here’s why we opted to move towards Guided Conversation for our bot: 

  • Guided Conversation doesn’t break
  • Less is more
  • Guided Conversation is fast and effective 

Guided Conversation doesn’t break.

Unlike Guided Conversation, NLP is highly inconsistent. It may be further developed in instances such as Alexa or Siri; however, in the multifamily industry, we found that using NLP meant the bot would break more times than not. One of the reasons being is that the bot must be trained for hundreds of question phrasing variations. We compiled over 80,000 notes from our bot and found we could only train 2,000 of those questions. It would become nearly impossible to train the bot for those different variants. We found that we could focus on answering those questions more simply by using Guided Conversation, and our bot would never break in the process. 

Less is more 

When prospects are looking for information, they want to be able to find it easily. When prospects arrive at an NLP bot, they may not know what to ask for. Additionally, most users have experience with bots breaking, so they may not know how to ask the question they want answers for. Guided Conversation allows for an easy way to answer questions most renters are looking for. BetterBot has done extensive research on what information prospects want to see, and we have adjusted our bot to meet these needs. 

Guided Conversation is fast and effective. 

When NLP bots break, they often will hand off the conversation to a live agent. What happens when that live agent takes more than 10 seconds to answer? The prospect is most often lost. With Guided Conversation, responses are immediate, which results in an effective conversation. BetterBot uses Guided Conversation to provide a seamless experience for prospective renters and share information quickly so that user’s attention is never lost. In addition, you can see exactly what conversations are happening and how effective they are through our reporting dashboard. 

AI can be a great tool in many cases; however, we have found Guided Conversation to be a superior product after testing different technologies in the multifamily space. Some of the biggest reasons Guided Conversation is so successful is because it never breaks; it’s simple, quick, and effective. We are constantly looking at technology to see where it has advanced and what pieces we can bring to our bot. For more information on the differences in bot types, CLICK HERE

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