ChatBots have been around for a little while now, but humans are yet to adapt to this new way
of interacting with businesses. This isn't a new problem. It has long been the case that humans
don't change as quickly as technology changes. For example, the technology behind touch
screen displays has been around since the 1980s. However, it took until 2007 when Apple
released their first iPhone, that humans really started to become comfortable using this
technology. Although chatbot technology has been around for a while now, humans aren't yet
accustomed to using it.
There are many critics of ChatBots, some criticisms more far fetched than others. The main
criticism being ChatBots are simply put, 'dumb'. Currently, many ChatBots are not sophisticated
enough to talk and diagnose queries effectively. This no doubt affects the public's adoption of
such tech. Alternatively, some go as far to say ChatBots are dehumanising, and changing the
way we interact. If we look to voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, we're seeing a change in
how users interact with machines. Does this consequently, change our interaction with other
humans? Certainly one of the more extreme criticisms!
The purpose of this post, is to shake the taboo, and explain how our cautious development will
ensure all users are satisfied with occasionally talking with a ChatBot.
What is paramount when considering deploying a ChatBot, is perhaps obviously, its use, and
promoting awareness to the user that they are talking to a ChatBot. Transparency is key. Here
at HeyLandlord, we thought and are still thinking deeply about how our ChatBot can improve
user experience and save property managers / tenants time and stress, but also avoiding an
annoying ChatBot not performing its task, and creating a barrier to get things done.
HeyLandlord has been around almost 1 year, and in this period, a great deal of my personal
time has been building relationships with our community of users, who will always be the
experts. Through our research and feedback, we have highlighted many pain-points in Property Management that we seek to solve.
One of these major ones was simple:
Repetitive Questions from Tenants…
It was an obvious place to start when developing our AI/ChatBot.
Repetitive Questions are an annoyance for many reasons:
– Answering them takes time
– They distract you from the important tasks at hand
– Every answer relative to that property will be the same
There is a common pattern to the types of questions asked, specific to every unique
property/building. As tenants to a property come and go, new tenants will no doubt ask the
same questions previous tenants asked. We estimate that at least 40% of the total questions
asked by new tenants, would have been asked by the previous tenants, and our ChatBot will
answer them, without your property manager needing to do a thing.
If a tenant asks one of these questions in our App, they will receive an answer immediately,
24/7. This will help in many ways:
– Reduce admin and cost of management
– Help managers focus on what really matters
– Improve staff satisfaction by eliminating the mundane tenant queries
– Boost tenant satisfaction, with immediate answers
If you are / have been a tenant, would you care if a Bot was giving you an answer regarding
your property? Surely the correct answer, sent to you immediately without you even closing the
app, is all you care about when trying to find the Gas Meter, or find out when to take out the
ChatBot's no doubt need to be approached and deployed with caution, and this is the approach
we have taken and will take moving forward with its development. There are a great deal of
ways we will be developing our ChatBot, but what is vital, is that it works as a seamless solution,
and not a barrier.
A ChatBot should act not as a replacement for Property Managers, but act as an assistant, to
help property managers fulfill their tasks and provide their tenants with immediate answers to
their queries. This will always be our core value when further developing our ChatBot.
If all of this is a little scary for you, don't worry, our ChatBot is an optional feature.
However, if still doubtful ask yourself, how is receiving an immediate answer about your property from a
ChatBot, different from receiving an answer from Google?
By Tom Townsend