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Chatbot vs. Conversational AI: The Future of the Multifamily Chatbot

An illustration of a woman surrounded by text boxes, emojis, and icons.Chatbot vs. Conversational AI

Traditional chatbots versus chatbots fueled with conversational AI are two different approaches to building conversational experiences for your prospects, residents, and team members. While traditional chatbots are programmed to respond to specific types of user inputs, conversational AI trains your chatbot with sets of data that contain examples of how people would ask questions or make statements in a particular topic of interest.


What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a human conversation. It can answer user queries by using learned behavior in previous conversations, as well as any other data it has access to by using rule-based systems. The goal is to create an experience that feels native and seamless, much like talking with another person.

In most current multifamily leasing functionality, chatbots are typically limited to tasks and information already found on an apartment website like scheduling tours, pricing and availability, and a variety of photos and videos.

An illustration of a computer and a smart phone, with chatbot conversations shown on both.

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI (CAI) is a technology that allows you to chat with your digital assistant, virtual agent or chatbot in an interactive way. CAI enables machines to understand human language and respond appropriately based on what you say and do.

You can use conversational AI for a variety of applications, such as customer service and marketing automation tasks. Some examples include: 

An app that helps your residents find information about an apartment they're looking for by asking them questions such as "Do you need help finding something?" and then suggesting relevant items based on their responses (e.g., Amazon Alexa's "Echo Look" feature).

A chatbot that gives renters feedback about their behavior after they're completed specific actions like signing up for their resident portal or completing a rental payment like financial transactions performed on Facebook Messenger. 


The need for Conversational Design

Conversational Design is an approach to product design that focuses on creating human-like resident experiences.

This type of design considers every aspect of a conversational user experience, from the interface itself to how it interacts with users. For example, with Quext Digital Human, our design approach is to consider how non-verbal cues are incorporated into interactions (such as tone) and how they affect the way people interpret their conversations with Digital Human.

Conversational AI is another term for natural language processing (NLP), which refers to technologies that allow computers to understand human speech in order to automate tasks or services. Examples include voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, chatbots like Google Assistant or Cortana, personal finance apps like Mint or Acorns and even video games such as Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (2016).

An artist's depiction of a digital human chatbot on a browser window.

The Future of the Multifamily Chatbot

The future of the multifamily chatbot is bright! With new innovations like Open AI's, Chat GPT, auto generative systems will drive the creation of human-like resident experiences. To drive the right value with your prop-tech chatbot stack, you need to gain a better understanding of what your residents want or need at each touch point of the renter's journey.

If you're going to succeed at creating a user experience that feels natural, you have to make sure it's personalized for each individual user. One way we've seen this done successfully is by using the comparative data analysis from multiple digital advertising sources (i.e. Google Ads, Google Business Profile, Facebook, Instagram, etc. ) in order to create and provide personalized content based on prospect's preferences in various ways: through sending newsletters; through concierge-like services; or even just by making sure they get their mail on time (and not mixed up with another resident).


In the end, both chatbots and conversational AI are useful tools for the multifamily industry to use. It all depends on what you’re looking for: if it’s a simple way to manage your properties and keep tenants engaged with your brand, then a chatbot might be right for you. But if you want something more complex—like asking questions about rent collection or maintenance requests—then it might make more sense to use a conversational interface instead.

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect these systems to become even smarter over time—thus serving and driving value for marketers, operators, and residents alike.