Friday, 5 October 2018

Chatbots, AI and Real Estate


Chatbot: “Good Morning! How may I help you?”

Buyer: “Hi! What apartments are available in your new project in Hebbal?”

Chatbot: “We have 2 BHK and 3 BHK apartments.”

Buyer: “What is the price for both?”

Chatbot: “2 BHK starts at Rs. 75 lakhs and 3 BHK at Rs. 90 lakhs. Would you like to see a sample apartment?”

Buyer: “Yes. Can that be arranged?”

Chatbot: “Sure. When would you like to visit?”

Buyer: “Next saturday would be good.”

Chatbot: “Sure. Please type your mobile number and email address and we will follow up with details for the site visit.”

This hypothetical conversation between a prospective homebuyer and a chatbot provides insight into the ease with which customers can explore home buying options without human intervention. Chatbots or intelligent virtual assistants present an opportunity for customers to gather important information and even set up initial project site visits. All this can be done without calling a contact centre, standing in long queues, being put on hold while retrieving important information or call drops. In essence chatbots offer a seamless interaction to the customer at any and all hours of the day, week or year.

Technology’s unbridled advances continue to offer previously unexplored avenues for better customer interactions, data gathering and analysis, improved customer services and much more. Most of us are already familiar with intelligent virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa on our mobile devices. Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms have the capacity to engage with customers and learn with every interaction, thus enhancing the customer experience.

For customers, chatting with an AI-powered entity may initially seem underwhelming as opposed to speaking with a live customer service executive. However, some of the advantages include:

1)    24x7 access to information via chatbots
2)    Quick and polite responses to questions
3)    Responses to routine queries can be efficiently received
4)    Relevant responses can be expected since the chatbots are powered by algorithms which are based on specific built-in keywords
5)    Chatbots are unaffected by fatigue or irritation from having to provide responses to repeated queries. As a result one receives unwavering quality of responses.

As we make advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence the experience of interacting with chatbots or virtual assistants will improve further.

There are advantages for real estate companies too in adopting such technologies. Data collected from the interactions of customer with chatbots can be processed, analysed and summarised for future use in understanding customer needs better.

Many companies and large businesses are already leaps ahead in implementing this technology in some form or the other. With Indian real estate sector in the post-RERA era it is perhaps the best time for realty companies to also adopt technologies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. At the end of the home buying spectrum we already have smart homes with IoT powered household devices which residents can manage from their smartphones. Thus, it makes sense to power the first step of home buying - information gathering - through intelligent virtual assistants or chatbots.

At House of Hiranandani, we are already in the process of using technology in a big way so as to improve customer’s experience. Technology is an empowering force and we are empowering our customers.