Real estate is one of the most critical components of the global economy valued at $228 trillion at the end of 2016. Today that value is likely to be higher as the global real estate investment market saw an increase from $7.4 trillion in 2016 to $8.9 trillion in 2018. While this industry in not short on opportunity, realtors must fight hard for their place on the market and hence find themselves in a constant battle for new qualified leads. And, it this in this battle, WhatsApp real estate chatbot can become the secret weapon you always hoped for.
Technology vs. Real Estate
There was a time when prospecting methods such as door-to-door canvassing, newsletters, flyers, and mass email blasts delivered solid results. Some realtors might argue that they still do... Sure, such an anomaly may pop up on a small niche market. Nonetheless, on a grand scale, you won’t be able to keep up with competitors who take advantage of technological advances.
Quite frankly, you see real estate companies using cutting edge technology and the market isn’t short on innovative startups like Buildium or Atlant either. On the other hand, the ways realtors communicate and manage relationships with potential leads and existing customers are still lagging behind.
In the real estate industry, sales and support are about speed as well as trust. Hence, many realtors are wary of automation alienating their leads. However, the traditional communication channels such as email and phone calls are not exactly a source of excitement and INSPIRATION either.
Emails are not particularly fast, nor do they radiate a personal touch which is crucial to not only qualify but also “hook” a great lead. Phone calls, while personal, can be quite disruptive for both the client and the realtor. Plus, both of these channels are usually subject to the 9-to-5 working hours and require the attention of a human agent.
This is where chatbots for realtors come into play...
Potential Benefits of Implementing a Real Estate Chatbot
Chatbot implementation can bring about quite a few benefits. In fact, when it comes to real estate, it can be a customer journey chameleon serving different purposes from the top of the funnel all the way to a closed sale.
Since technological advances have made chatbots fairly easy to build and customize, pretty much anyone can program them to deal with the routine tasks and leave yourself time for more productive work. From speeding up processes, answering questions to closing deals, chatbots in real estate can help with a wide range of goals and efforts.A few of the key benefits include:
- Instant response time
- 24/7 availability
- Multilingual service
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Fewer missed leads
- Increased customer satisfaction (as per the instant responses and 24-hour availability)
How to Use WhatsApp for Real Estate?
You might be on board with chatbots but why bother with WhatsApp? Wouldn't a Facebook Messenger or a website chatbot be just as effective?Indeed, website chatbots can be quite handy, however, they require your leads and customers to go through the trouble of actually visiting your website. While it can be very effective as a first touchpoint, real estate leads are unlikely to use the website bot again once they have actually started talking to you.
Having a Facebook messenger chatbot provides greater freedom than having a website bot. However, since the messenger app is tied to personal profiles, many are unwilling to use this platform for dealing with more complex business issues as communication is not encrypted.
Using WhatsApp for real estate dealings can help you harvest the ultimate potential of automated conversational assistants. You can build a WhatsApp chatbot that can answer any questions at any time, anywhere. Leads don’t need to download any new apps, visit a website, or write a clunky email to ask one simple question. Plus, writing to a specific phone number feels far more personal than writing to someone’s business Facebook page.
All of the above not only improve customer experience but also presents considerable cost-saving opportunities.
To demonstrate the variety of tasks you can “delegate” to such a bot, I’ve put together a list of WhatsApp real estate chatbot use cases that can shape customer journey from the very first touchpoint.
1. Generate Leads (Buyers and Sellers)
Every business transaction starts with lead generation. Since in real estate the stakes are high and competition fierce, ability to capture each lead effectively is key.However, many realtors struggle to generate the necessary leads.
Well, Once novel digital lead gen strategies are used by everyone and therefore neither unique nor affordable. Another issue is that many real estate agents ignored the shift to experience economy and instead of trying to provide value and build relationships, they try to go straight to business.
Automating lead generation through WhatsApp will allow you to engage with potential offline or online leads instantly and collect the necessary information (name, email, phone number) efficiently and when it’s convenient to the lead.There are a variety of ways to get prospects to contact you on WhatsApp by opting-in including:
- Website CTA buttons & pop-ups
- Click-to-WhatsApp Ads
- Email campaigns
- QR codes (On flyers - posters - printed ads - home buyer's guides)
WhatsApp makes the first contact easy and accessible which bodes well for the growing CX trends. Furthermore, WhatsApp makes it easy to build a bot that offers value before getting to the business. For instance, your bot can offer descriptions of different neighborhoods or provide a quick overview of the city’s real estate market.
2. Qualify Leads (Buyers and Sellers)
The next step that comes after lead generation is lead qualification. WhatsApp real estate chatbot can help you not only generate but also qualify the lead in real-time.
If the potential client ended up talking to your bot, you know they are interested. What you need to do is identify where in their buyer/seller journey the lead is and whether or not the lead is qualified and hence worthy of immediate follow-up.
Perhaps you are specializing in selling certain kinds of properties. By asking a few simple questions your bot can easily weed out leads that would end up wasting your time. They might be looking for something you simply don’t sell. Similarly, you can categorize leads based on where they are in their journey, their buying power, and so forth, allowing you to prioritize effectively.
What’s even better, your bot can react to the result of that qualification instantly. The hottest, most urgent leads can send a notification to your phone, others can be transferred to the relevant live agent within the agency and some simply provided with useful materials that will help them to move forward on their buying/selling journey.
3. Answer Routine Questions
There isn’t a more obvious chatbot use case in business than that of providing customer support. Realtors, as much as any other professionals who deal with people, spend a lot of their time answering the same questions over and over.
It’s natural for any qualified buyer or seller to ask these questions. After all, it’s not their job to be an expert in the field, that’s why they sought out your help! However, explaining the same things over and over is not only frustrating but also time-consuming.
A chatbot can easily answer all the frequently asked questions before and after the viewing, providing leads with immediate answers, and realtors with more time to spend on more complex tasks.
4. Handoff Qualified Leads or Complex Queries to a Human Agent
As mentioned above, one of the magic skills of WhatsApp chatbot is to allow human agents to take over automated conversations when necessary.
You can either provide your clients with a possibility to request a conversation with a live agent. Or, you can also program the bot to react with the human takeover in specific situations (e.g. if it qualifies a high-value lead or identifies a problem that requires immediate attention).
Another valuable aspect of human takeover is that you can design the takeover to be sensitive to real-life situations. For example, in case no agent is available or it’s after-hours, you can offer the lead to schedule a meeting/call with an agent instead or simply let them know when the agent will become available.
5. Helping Leads to Search for a Property
Another aspect of buyer journey a WhatsApp real estate chatbot can handle is helping leads find the realities that fit their needs and profile.
Bridging over from the qualification process, your bot can ask for more and more specifications such as location, size, price, etc., and use them to filter out viable properties. The lead can check them out and, if interested, immediately proceed to arrange a phone call or even book a viewing.This way, you are able to provide a smooth experience without unnecessary friction.
6. Give Virtual Tours
If you are really eager to get ahead of the competition, your real estate chatbot can go a step further than simply showing relevant listings and take your leads on virtual tours.
Similar to chatbot tech, VR, too, is becoming more and more accessible both technology and price-wise. Did you know that, according to Statista, the VR industry will be worth 29.7 billion in 2020?VR is particularly valuable to the real estate industry because it helps to accommodate long-distance or foreign leads/clients who are able to see the properties from anywhere around the world. Plus, it also allows you to showcase unfinished spaces and so help sell properties still under construction.
WhatsApp bots can save time interested parties time by presenting them with a link to the virtual tour directly.
7. Submit Properties for Sale
As highlighted before, WhatsApp real estate chatbot is not just useful in helping the buyers. They allow you to significantly improve the seller experience as well. Besides answering a few FAQs, you can use a WhatsApp flow to let sellers submit all the materials and information needed for you to advertise and sell the property.
NoBorker, an online real estate company used WhatsApp to automate property photo collection. Doing this they managed to:
- Cut the time spent uploading property photos from 3 days to 6 minutes;
- Increase their annualized return on investment through cost savings 20 times;
- Increase the number of rented or sold properties 2.8 times.
8. Book Appointments
Next, comes the appointment booking. Whether your leads just finished looking at the listings your bot suggested or are sending a fresh text message with a particular property in mind, a bot can easily schedule a viewing on the spot.
Integrating WhatsApp API with your calendar allows the bot to cross-reference the requested date with your agenda in real-time and so, arrange a viewing without risking double booking a slot. Alternatively, using the same concept, you can present the lead with available time slots for the date selected.
9. Confirm Visits
Sometimes prospects schedule viewings way in advance and forget about it. Other times something unexpected happens and they forget to cancel…
To avoid wasting your time, WhatsApp API enables you to send proactive HSM message templates to remind such prospective buyers about their viewing.
Receiving such a reminder on mobile, via an app they use frequently and notifications from which are likely to be turned on, significantly increases your chances that the reminder will be read. Furthermore, since replying is so fast and simple, it’s also more likely they will let you know if they cannot come.
Tip: Make sure to phrase your reminder message as a question to prompt the prospect to reply YES or NO. E.g.: “You scheduled a viewing tomorrow at [hour] at [address] with [agent’s name]. Shall we expect you?”
10. Submit Documentation
Document submission is a necessary step, however, usually also a completely unnecessary hurdle. It creates complications for both buyers and sellers.
End-to-end encrypted WhatsApp communication presents a great opportunity for realtors to streamline obtaining the necessary documents. Instead of having to physically pick up the materials, WhatsApp allows your clients to send you whatever you need safely, in seconds.
11. Payment Reminders
Another great way to use WhatsApp real estate chatbot is automating any process while maintaining a human touch. That includes payment reminders.
Be it rent, EMI, service fees or otherwise, the mishmash of daily responsibilities makes it easy to forget or lose track of what needs to be paid. WhatsApp for real estate makes it possible to integrate the API with your existing financial system and send automatic friendly reminders if something hasn’t been paid on time.
There is no need for pestering calls. Not you have to waste your time wondering whether the customer received the automatic email or it ended up in the junk folder once again.
12. Post-Sale Support
Last but not least, WhatsApp real estate chatbot is an excellent tool to go the extra mile. They let you provide an exceptional service at a minimal cost.
Once the sale is closed, the new owners/tenants might have queries, questions or complaints. Perhaps they are new to the area and would like a recommendation for an interior designer or an electrician? Maybe they need help changing the owner for the electricity and water invoices? Or they might need help finding the best local amenities? The list goes on…
WhatsApp real estate chatbot can address the vast majority of these issues in a friendly manner, in the safety of the customer’s comfort zone. You can choose to automate the whole service or stick to the basics and allow human takeover for more complex queries. The least your bot can do is identify the issue and forward the query to a responsible person straight away since the frustration with being passed from one person to the next and next is universal.
All in all your Whatsapp Business API bot can handle the flood of queries from owners and tenants with relative ease, leaving your mind free to deal with more complex tasks.
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