Apartment Communities & Colleges Share A Common Marketing Success Strategy: Chatbots
What do applying for college and applying for an apartment have in common?
First, they both involve big decisions to make, forms to fill out, documentation to secure, money to fork over.
Second, they both lean heavily toward younger people.
And finally, both are looking to artificial intelligence-driven technology to help streamline their processes. Specifically, chatbots.
In the higher ed camp, there’s Pounce.
Georgia State University launched this text message-based chatbot, named after the school’s mascot, last year to help guide incoming students through the enrollment process and to ease “summer melt,” which is when admitted students don’t show up in the fall. The summer melt rate at Georgia State was 18 percent at its height in 2015.
Pounce, fueled by artificial intelligence-based technology, answers questions and sends reminders about enrollment tasks. Upon its launch to a randomized control trial group of 3,114 students, 63% had engaged with Pounce on at least three separate occasions throughout the enrollment process.
So what did that mean for the summer melt? The university saw a 21.4% lower summer melt rate as well as a 3.9% higher enrollment rate.
Given that millennials adapt to new technology easily, it’s not a huge surprise that users gave Pounce excellent grades — 80% gave it four out of five stars, and 94% felt Georgia State should continue offering Pounce.
Now, other colleges and universities, including Bowling Green, West Texas A&M and Allegheny College are planning to launch their own chatbots.
Just as Pounce was higher ed’s first chatbot, the Respage Chatbot is the first for the multifamily industry.
And, like Pounce, it’s more likely to be used by millennials than any other age group. After all, millennials have been dubbed “the rental generation,” and represent the largest demographic living in apartments.
Another similarity is the effectiveness it’s shown after being in effect for just a short time.
Launched in June 2017, the Respage Chatbot lives on apartment communities’ websites and uses AI to carry on seemingly “normal” conversations with prospective renters that’s not much different than two people conversing.
It provides information that may or may not be on the website, schedules tours, sends rental applications, and collects contact information of every chatbot visitor, then forwards it to the leasing office for follow-up. The goal is to help leasing agents do their jobs around the clock — the Respage Chatbot works 24/7.
While it’s too early to have as comprehensive data as Georgia State, Respage did publish a small chatbot case study last week that tracked chatbot performance for eleven properties over a two-week period.
During this two-week period, 1,165 website visitors interacted with the chatbot. And, 407 of those interactions turned out to be qualified leads, which amounts to roughly 29 leads per day. (A lead is defined as any visitor who used the chatbot to schedule a walk-through appointment.)
Interestingly, 60% of these chatbot leads were generated outside of normal business hours, meaning the hardworking bot was still producing results even after human leasing agents had gone home for the day.
Take the success of Pounce at Georgia State and the fact that 80% of Americans between 18 and 34 have no intention of buying a home anytime soon and we can come to one major conclusion: Chatbot technology for multifamily is not only a no-brainer, it’s inevitable.
And, as the first and only chatbot for the multifamily industry, the Respage Chatbot is leading the charge.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Respage Chatbot, or seeing one in action, check out our sandbox to interact with the Respage chatbot right now.