Multifamily apartments and technology have been working hand in hand for a while now. From chat bots to online rental applications, here are some of the ways that technology is helping multifamily apartment communities thrive.

Using Chatbots to Respond to Emails
Faizan Ali Khan, the CEO and Founder of LetHub, describes various use cases of artificial intelligence for rental property managers, including having BDMs and salespeople forgo answering emails manually and let a chatbot respond to emails. The chatbot observes and learns conversations from previous salespeople and property managers’ interactions and refines its own communication to potential tenants, including gathering contact information from these leads.
Khan says the best use of artificial intelligence for property managers is to speed up common processes, including answering basic questions, scheduling tours and showings, pre-qualifying leads and “getting the best people in the door… saving your team hours in a day [and] driving those big vacancy rates down.”

Answering Calls and Setting Appointments
LeaseHawk reports that with all the technology available today, prospective tenants are still most likely to call your property (75%) versus email (23%) and text (2%) for information. Artificial intelligence could answer these calls for you. Google recently demoed what the company is calling an “experiment” in artificial intelligence technology called Duplex, a computerized phone assistant that sounds eerily human.
LeaseHawk’s ACE (Answers Calls Every time) claims to be the industry’s first conversational automated assistant that takes calls, answers questions, collects guest card information and sets appointments when leasing agents aren’t available to answer the phone.
City Club Apartments in Detroit uses ACE at 17 properties. In the first half of 2018, ACE answered 1,427 calls from prospects that would have otherwise been missed. Of those calls, it set 640 appointments, which is a 44.8% conversion rate.
“ACE has been a valuable contribution to our business because it allows us to be available to prospects 24/7 … whether it’s 2 a.m. or 3 p.m. when the office is tied up with a resident or tour,” says Cherise Soulliere, director of organization development for City Club Apartments. “This allows us to take a breath and not stress that we are missing phone calls, because we can be assured the system picks up anything we can’t take care of right away. It’s particularly beneficial because we have a large market coming from out of country, and having ACE accommodates any time zone.”
When a prospect calls the number on the leasing page of a two-bedroom, one-bath unit in Oceanside, Calif., that’s pet friendly, the chatbot answers in a slightly tinny voice that could almost pass for human with a recording that says, “Hi, this is Lisa at the leasing office. I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone right now. I’ll text you back as soon as I can.”
The call disconnects, and minutes later, a text comes in: “Sorry I just missed your call. I am unable to make or receive phone calls on this line, but I am happy to answer your questions over text.”
If the prospect responds to that text with a question like, “How close is the Freeman St. apartment to the beach?” Lisa answers, “The full address is 501 S Freeman St., Oceanside, CA. However, sorry, those units are currently leased. If you’d like to apply for the waiting list, here is the link.”
The interaction, which took all of 5 minutes, gave updated, real-time information on the apartment in question, while freeing up an actual human being from answering the kinds of basic questions that prospects often have when they’re running from apartment to apartment on their cell phones. Lisa’s main objective is to prequalify prospects by asking them if they’re okay with income and background check requirements, and then schedule tours for those incoming prospects, so leasing agents don’t have to.
“Two-thirds of the phone calls are just people who don’t read the ad, or they’ve written down too many addresses and don’t have key details like the deposit or does it have parking,” says Kayla Roeder, Chief Operating Officer of Cambridge Management Group. “This is great for that basic information where you don’t really need somebody sitting there, just to reiterate what the ad says.”

Cross-Selling
Faizan Ali Khan, the CEO and Founder of LetHub suggests that even leads who are not qualified for a specific property should be kept in a CRM database. The machine can then cross-sell a more suitable property to lead (for example, based on a low credit score or someone who wants to move in with a pet). However, Khan cautions about intelligent chatbots being used for lead qualification from interactions as it presents the potential of discrimination for fair housing, especially if the machine is not trained properly.

Delivering Targeted Content to Leads
In a thought leadership piece from PERQ, the provider discusses how software solutions guided by artificial intelligence can track a rental prospect’s online behavior and deliver custom content. Through this, the software is programmed to react to the information entered by the consumer, offering the next best step in the apartment-searching process.
Richard Bullen, Property Manager of Grand Villas Apartments in Katy, Texas, says the data collected by his property’s website gives his leasing agents information on a prospective renter’s preferred contact method, move-in time frame, budget needs and pre-qualification status. “It helps tremendously,” Bullen says. “It allows us to get a better sense of what they are looking for before we even make contact. And when we do make contact, we are able to specialize and pitch to them more effectively. It eliminates a lot of back-and-forth.”
LeaseHawk believes that displaying ads for wide groups of people based on demographics or search history, artificial intelligence can capture and analyze the demographics and IP addresses of people who click on real estate ads and then serve up those same ads to people most like them, and therefore most likely to also click

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