The rise of the chatbot

From virtual reality to artificial intelligence, the future is here and it’s helping your business. REB spoke to the founder of Apartment Ocean, the first real estate chatbot, to learn how agents are using this tech to boost their sales.

If you’ve ever wished you could double the hours you have in a day, Apartment Ocean might be the chatbot for you.

“Apartment Ocean can help property managers automate part of the job that human assistants currently do – taking requests, talking with potential tenants and qualifying them. This process takes a lot of time and time is money,” founder Nick Kljaic said.

“These tasks are very straightforward and should be automated so the human assistant can join later in the process and focus on more complex tasks.”

Apartment Ocean was launched in the US last year. It began in property management departments before moving to sales, and is now setting its sights on the global market.

“Feedback so far was positive. Agents started receiving more leads from their websites and they know more information about the prospects than just a name and email address. Artificial intelligence keeps improving as more data becomes available, so the chatbot conversation will constantly be improving as well,” Mr Kljaic said.

“Chatbot asks the user if they are looking to buy or rent and then proceeds the conversation based on what the user is looking for. Agents receive a notification once someone is chatting so they can go to their admin portal and take over the conversation at any time. We also added the feature where agents/companies can export their leads to Excel, CSV or PDF.”

Mr Kljaic is also quick to point out that real estate is an industry that needs a human touch, and while Apartment Ocean may be able to sort potential tenants into databases and pick properties based on their criteria, it cannot connect with them on a personal level.

“Property managers are still very valuable and human touch is necessary in the entire process. Apartment Ocean is here to support and help them become more efficient,” he said.

“There will always remain an offline element when people want to buy/rent. It’s one of the biggest decisions they make in their lives so they have to make sure the property is right ... I believe in that process [that] the agent can really help the person make a right decision.”

Besides agents’ time and money, Apartment Ocean can also boost the customer service provided by offices. Using the chatbot as a filtering process, agents are able to focus their energy where it is needed most.

“The main reason why customer service in real estate can be subpar is agents receiving too many phone calls and emails from people that are not qualified or serious, so once they receive a serious/qualified customer, agents will treat them as another person asking questions with no intent to actually buy/rent,” Mr Kljaic said.

Apartment Ocean is an ideal solution for that initial contact between agents and people looking for properties. Agents can immediately see who is worth pursuing and ... customers will be contacted with better service from agents and with recommendations that only match their criteria.”

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