AI—the Here and the Now | ShoreAgents

AI—the Here and the Now

by | Apr 27, 2020 | Guest Experts | 0 comments

‘The here and the now’: even the smallest real estate branches are benefiting from AI, right now – and in doing so, cementing themselves as market leaders for decades to come.

 

Over the last month, off the back of COVID-19, we have seen property managers rapidly adopt technologies such as:

  • Ramping up their use of teaming software such as Trello
  • Using Facebook Live for open inspections
  • Appointment booking software for back-to-back private inspections
But what about AI technology?

At times, AI feels like a “future technology”, or perhaps a technology that is more suited to very large corporations, where budgets and resourcing tend to be more available.

But what about the hundreds of thousands of small real-estate businesses that operate from High Streets across the globe? How – and should – local community real estate branches be concerned with AI technology now?

Prior to becoming a co-founder of Rental Heroes in 2018, I spent 17 years working for telecommunications and insurance corporations on projects that use digital technology to transform customer experience (CX). In the later years, the delivery of our CX was grounded in relatively new (and expensive) enterprise AI applications.

Why should a consumer of an insurance company get an AI-powered experience, however the same consumer, as a tenant, must rely on phone/email or web-form for property-related service requests?

Tenants are consumers like all of us. On any given day, they may be exposed to applications of AI like voice recognition (when a calling their bank) or maybe prompts from Facebook inviting them to “share a memory”.

Over the last 18-24 months, we have seen the acceleration of a trend in AI; many applications of AI are now being readily made available to consumers. In many respects, this is led by the tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google – allowing for example consumers to interact with service providers via their smart speaker (natural language processing AI) or sort their photos with accuracy via Google’s Assistant (computer vision AI).

We created Rental Heroes to enable tenants, property managers, and landlords to experience the “here and now” benefits of AI, many of which they already access daily as a consumer of other services.

Now the time is ripe for the small business application of AI.

But, the successful application of AI technology in real estate branches needs to respect their “here and now” reality:

  1. Real estate branches typically have multiple systems to which they are required to login and lack the resources to manually transfer data between systems.
  2. The application (and resulting benefits) of AI needs to seamlessly integrate with existing workflow systems and ways of working. Human-centred experiences should require minimum training.
  3. The technology needs to be affordable, ideally with pricing based on a business’ size. In property management, a 15% gross operating margin does not allow for upfront or bumpy fees.

In time, AI technology will undoubtably transform the property sector; the very way properties are bought / sold/ marketed and how property management services are delivered. Perhaps there will consolidation within the industry; perhaps there will be greater reliance on gig or contract work; perhaps humans will be freed from the transactional repetitive tasks. But this is a journey, not a cliff.

Today, local real estate branches have a growing range of “plug-and-play” options available to them to experience the power that AI can add to their existing processes and workforce. Sure, over time, AI offers the potential to “re-design and optimise” service delivery all together, but why not start by improving operations today?

Companies like Rental Heroes understand this is a journey; they will activate solutions today that deliver an immediate CX and productivity benefit. Trying-out AI products today also has strategic longer-term benefits. Real estate branches who build relationships today with AI vendors are also effectively joining the “vendor journey”, which will allow them to progressively widen and deepen their use of AI technology as it evolves overtime. It’s a small step today that branches can take to position themselves with a competitive edge in the longer-term.

So, what is available “here and now”?

There are a growing number of AI-powered property technology companies. By way of example, Rental Heroes’ AI-chatbot “Alex” currently offers Property Management branches:

  • Facilitation of communications with your tenants to understand and triage what their request is using natural language AI technology, rather than humans.
  • Matching tenant requests to “self-help” options – including urgent trade referrals, rental queries / lease information and even modification or pet requests.
  • Keeping your tenant informed each step of the way, tracking and enhancing tenant satisfaction.
  • Plugs directly into your cloud-based CRM or maintenance workflow system – no need for another login.
  • Low monthly subscription fee with no lock in contracts. Like other AI-vendors, we build and evolve our product for multiple customers with similar use-cases.

Our AI-chatbot Alex provides every Property Manager with their own digital personal assistant, who communicates on their behalf directly with tenants 24/7.

So what are customers and property managers experiencing today?

  • 79% of tenant requests – including urgent requests – are being handled outside business hours by Alex, drastically reducing reliance on after-hours emergency numbers.
  • 62% of tenant-initiated requests are being handled via Alex (and largely automated). This translates to fewer emails and phone calls for property managers.
  • Tenants love Alex – he is available 24/7, simple, intuitive, helpful, and fun. 82% of tenants are rating their experience as “better” than traditional ways of communicating.

The time is now for real estate branches to try out solutions that apply AI to practical use-cases. Feel free to read our Rental Heroes blog at www.rentalheroes.com.au/blog , contact me at [email protected] or book a demo.

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Contributors

With 13 year’s experience in Real Estate, 7 years running businesses, 6 years running offshore teams and importantly the Managing Director of a Real Estate Specific Offshore Staffing Solution for the past 3 years. Stephen Atcheler is an expert in helping businesses implement offshore solutions to help them scale, reduce internal wage costs, create automation and develop an online footprint.

Stephen Atcheler

Currently the Marketing Manager and Coordinator of ShoreAgents, Angie Dayrit has built her career in the Marketing field for 5 years.
Since the early age of 20, she has been exposed to the positivities and possibilities of top career industries.
She’s a firm believer of the power of out-of-the-box thinking–taking in the key things of traditional marketing while openly embracing the technological advancements of Marketing.

Angie Dayrit

CIPS, TRC, Founder and Managing Director of property management business solutions company ireviloution is an international real estate identity who has coached, mentored and trained over a thousand of property management teams and business to success and thousands of individual property management business owners and property managers worldwide.

Jo-Anne Oliveri

A co-founder of LockedOn – a powerful, easy-to-use real estate CRM platform that makes listing and selling simple. With over 15 years in software development experience in the real estate industry, Iain has helped create software solutions that have enabled thousands of agents create lasting relationships with their customers.  

Iain French

He is the Founder of the hugely successful Offer Management Platform, Market Buy, and a career real estate agent spanning 22 years. He has worked in all facets of real estate and has won many awards over the years for Innovation, Sales volume, and office performance. Dave is dedicated to improving the real estate industry and providing agents with the tools they need to survive and thrive in an ever-evolving business environment.

Dave Stewart

She is the founder of Rent Roll Starter and specialises in helping independent real estate agents to start and build their own Rent Rolls, using affordable (and sometimes free) marketing and growth strategies.

Ellen Bathgate

He is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Melbourne-based proptech start-up Rental Heroes. He is passionate about applying innovative digital solutions to help people connect better. Like many Australians, Ben and his co-founder Dom, have been both tenants and landlords. They founded Rental Heroes because they saw an opportunity to speed up issue resolution and automatically handle common tenant requests 24/7 (everything from a broken dishwasher a to pet requests!). Rental Heroes have launched their AI-chatbot “Alex” - who helps property managers by liaising directly with tenants to handle everyday requests and issues.

Ben Burton

With more than 15 years experience as a professional real estate photographer, Brad has a deep understanding of what it takes to showcase a home in its best light. After photographing homes all day and editing them all night, Brad decided to create BoxBrownie.com, which has become the ultimate photo editing portal for everyone from professional photographers, real estate agents, to property managers.

Brad Filliponi

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