Pros and Cons of Using Chatbots in Your Marketing

By Sarah Malcolm
My health insurance provider has a customer service chatbot that is useless. Every time I make a query, it tells me I can't access that information and to call customer service. What's the point of having a chatbot? That said, I have worked with chatbots that have been extremely helpful. It really can go either way. They definitely have promise for commercial real estate marketing and customer service. Whether to add one to your company’s digital marketing strategy really depends on what you would like to get out of it.

My health insurance provider has a customer service chatbot that is useless. Every time I make a query, it tells me I can't access that information and to call customer service. What's the point of having a chatbot? That said, I have worked with chatbots that have been extremely helpful. It really can go either way. They definitely have promise for commercial real estate marketing and customer service. Whether to add one to your company’s digital marketing strategy really depends on what you would like to get out of it.

Advantages of chatbots

#1. Customer service all day, all night

Some people keep crazy hours. When working in the real estate business, you might have foreign investors interested in what you have listed or using your product with their properties.  But it’s not reasonable to run a customer service team all day and night just to answer a query. That's where a chatbot can be helpful. Chatbots are lightning-fast with their responses. People can get some help when they need it, even if you’re snoozing away at 3 am.

#2. Only real people, please

Every real estate broker and agent has their own strategies for fending off the curious but not serious prospects. The best chatbots in the business ask leading questions to determine if the person could be a viable prospect. They ask more questions to capture that person's information and add into your contact management system for follow-up. It’s prospecting made easy!

#3. I want the answer yesterday

People want answers to their questions now. Let’s say we've landed on your website, and we don't see what we want right away. Up pops a chatbot asking if we have any questions. Now we type what we’re looking for and get the answer immediately. It’s much faster than searching through the different pages on your website. Chatbots add convenience to the website visitor and improve the user experience. 

Disadvantages of chatbots

#1. It’s a computer, not a human brain

Chatbots are computers, which means they're only as good as their digital code. Chatbots work how they are programmed, and programmers can't predict everything a person might say. In most cases, they can’t wing it. Just like in my opening example, sometimes it simply can't get the person the answers they need. This results in frustrating, circular conversations that annoy customers. 

#2. This isn’t me being sarcastic

What makes language beautiful as its ability to express things in creative ways. This creativity that has led to poetry and music doesn't perform so well in the chatbot. The finer intricacies of language tend to be lost. If you ask it to “pass you a cold one,” it's going to get confused.  

Where to find a chatbot

The good news is chatbots and AI technology gets smarter and better every day. If you're still interested in chatbots, it's going a matter of finding which one will work best for you. A few chatbot providers to look at: 

  1. Roof.AI: helping capture leads and turn unknown visitors into people profiles.
  2. Hello Alex: works on multiple platforms without a software install
  3. Drift: Requires no coding to build a bot for your website
  4. Apartment Ocean: targeted for multifamily and property managers, its chatbot engages with a conversational style
  5. Olark: Live chat that engages customers
  6. Realty Chatbot: Integrates with Facebook Messenger, which is used by billions

Please, please, please, don't add chatbot just because you think it's trendy. You have to have a purpose and you have to be careful with the programming. This is one of those trends that could easily backfire on you if you are not purposeful in your adoption and management. 

Interested in doing something different? Let ATYPICAL help you audit your website and buyer journey development. Put our technology background and marketing know-how to work for you. 

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