Why FREE Doesn’t Always Mean No Cost

With the current economy, most companies are forced to evaluate costs and ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck on all the services they subscribe to. Companies will often offer “FREE” add-ons such as lead nurturing or chat solutions to help teams cut costs. While this may sound enticing, “FREE” doesn’t always mean there is no cost associated with it. We are breaking down all the reasons why free isn’t necessarily better and all the areas that could be affected. 

User Experience

Many free solutions offer a user experience that will get the job done. However, it’s not always satisfactory. In fact, most of these solutions have a CSAT (customer satisfaction) score below 30%. The mobile experience is even worse, and 60% are using the bot on their mobile. In addition, many free add-ons are simply a pop-out form that take the user away from the initial experience making them more likely to drop off. All too often, the free experience gets less than 1/3 of the appointments scheduled and delivers low-quality leads.

Think of it this way — say you are looking for a new car. You have the choice between a new, reliable vehicle that gets you where you want to go, and is cost-effective with a low monthly payment. Your other option is a FREE beat-up car that breaks down often, wastes time, and rarely gets you from point A to point B. Which car would you choose? 9/10, you will select the first option that can be trusted to get the job done. The same can be said for automation solutions. Sure, one is free, but it’s only reliable a small amount of the time. Solutions that cost money usually do so because that allows them to invest in the product and provide a superior customer experience. Instead of offering a solution that saves time, teams are often forced to spend more of their attention on menial tasks. As the old saying goes…time IS money! 

Customizations

To create a cohesive brand experience, customizations are key. It’s essential to be able to add customizations in several areas, including branding, integrations, and property-specific info. 

Of course, it’s essential to use the branding that makes the most sense for your communities, whether custom property branding, corporate branding, or even a cohesive look and feel. It’s essential to be able to make updates as needed. 

Integrations are another big area that should have the ability to be customized. For instance, you want a solution that integrates with your virtual tours, videos, site maps, etc. This also becomes essential when it comes to appointment setting. It’s imperative that leads are not lost or forgotten in the process and that everything flows smoothly. 

Lastly, property-specific info is an essential part of customizations. You want to be able to customize topics like sister properties and office hours. If they can’t incorporate every aspect of your community’s information, most likely, they are not getting the job done. 

Features 

When choosing a free option over a paid model, you lose a lot of functionality regarding features. Essential information like prequalifications, waitlists, and FAQs become challenging to share. Plus, these platforms often can’t be parsed out by property types like senior, student, affordable, mixed-income, etc. Making sure all of the information is embedded directly into the bot will help ensure a cohesive user experience and confirm that the prospect is given all the information they need upfront. 

How does a paid model save me money? 

Typically FREE widgets and add-ons are built by companies that provide a CRM, website, etc. The widget is not their primary focus, so it will not be optimized in all the ways it should be. That being said, a paid model saves time and money in numerous ways. 

For example, BetterBot’s Multifamily automation solution saves an average of up to 100+ hours (per property, each month), which allows team members to focus on more critical tasks. On average, 300+ unique prospect conversations occur through the solution (per property, each month). Because the average person uses the 1.9x, that’s nearly 600 total conversations/property/month. To see a more detailed look at how BetterBot’s automation saves time and money, check out our full article on this topic HERE




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