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Avatars & Chatbots: Are Leasing Agents Becoming Obsolete

When implementing a digital human avatar or chatbot, the first question often asked by frontline leasing agents is, “are you planning to eliminate my job?”.  The simple answer is YES…and no.

The easiest way to look at this is to clearly understand the unique talents and limitations that both human real estate agents and robo agents bring to the equation. 

Two residents chatting at a table in an apartment unit

That Human Touch

Really, we are going to replace leasing agents with their robotic equivalent? Yes, we are going to replace the agent that works 24/7/365, never takes lunch breaks or family vacations. But, will we replace their personal human touch, empathy, compassion and distinct ability to connect with our customers? NO, not at all. 

Listen, no one can deny how amazing AI, neural networks and computer generated imagery (CGI) is. But, a good human leasing agent’s emotional connection and practical knowledge are irreplaceable. They guide a prospective customer through the gray areas of qualifying for a home. They provide the human touch in finding and selecting the perfect spot in the most ideal location, where experience and opinions matter. 

But within every job lie repetitive inefficient tasks and human limitations. An agent cannot work 24/7, and it is very expensive to staff that way. And, by steering prospects through a smart AI driven system that can answer many of their questions any time of day or night, you naturally free your agents to focus on the most important tasks of all, taking care of your customers and closing sales. This is where the digital human saves the day.

An illustration showing a Digital Human on a laptop screen around the clock

This Digital Human Works Its Tail Off

Whether it is a full CGI digital human or a more simplistic chat bot experience, AI-driven customer service platforms are smart and efficient. Any prospect can query your digital agent at any time of day from anywhere in the world. Let this digital human answer routine questions about the property, show pictures, pricing, availability and schedule tours. That is awesome! 

And, many of today’s consumers prefer that approach. They just want to get questions answered as quickly as possible and perceive people as complicating. Digital natives are very comfortable interacting with technology. How do we capitalize on those expectations in the most robust ways? As we have reported previously, studies show that more socially-oriented interactions produce better results, increase perceived enjoyment and trust, and are more rewarding for the user. So what is the best path to take, human or digital?


Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

A great team capitalizes on the unique strengths of its individual members, people who understand each other and work well together. Like us, our customers come in all shapes and sizes, unique circumstances and backgrounds, and have varying expectations. Some prefer a fully digital or even mobile experience, while others a softer human touch. The beauty is where these two converge producing the ultimate user experience. Talented human real estate agents should not worry about being replaced, but they can certainly rely on their digital teammates to work around-the-clock on their behalf. 

Good teammates always have your back.