The ChatGPT effect: How conversational AI is transforming the property industry

As ChatGPT and Bard continue to make headlines, many are wondering how rapid AI advancement will affect PropTech. James Matthews, Country Manager, UK + Ireland at discusses how conversational AI is transforming the property industry.

Related topics:  Business,  Property Industry,  Proptech,  ChatGPT
James Matthews |
16th March 2023
James Matthews 844
"The momentum that ChatGPT has generated should not be underestimated – especially considering the increasing focus on customer loyalty"

The advent of ChatGPT has brought advanced AI technology to the masses. Acquiring over one million users in a single week, everyone with internet access is now able to pose questions and give commands to what is perceived as an “omniscient” chatbot.

As Google and Bing weigh into the conversation via the introduction of Bard and Bing Chat, the evolution of Big Tech now seems inevitable. This continued intrigue has caused many to wonder about the impact that ChatGPT will have on businesses – specifically, how communications with customers will be handled, going forward.

Innovations in PropTech

The property industry is no stranger to innovation; indeed, the integration of property technology (PropTech) highlights significant advancements that have been made in recent years, within estate agencies and housing associations alike. The automation of various elements of the customer journey has fostered stronger relationships with prospective buyers and tenants.

An effective solution to the problem of employees’ busy workloads - which can pose various challenges to the delivery of round-the-clock customer service - PropTech has made life simpler for internal teams. Through handling essential administrative tasks, PropTech affords agents the opportunity to make meaningful connections with customers and add human value and connection where it matters most.

Touching base with customers

With more digital touchpoints to cover than ever before, there is potential for ChatGPT to facilitate a smoother customer experience, on account of its ability to communicate instantaneously with users. For the property industry, ensuring that hard work translates into rentals, sales and repeat business will depend on its ability to meet customers where they are, on a platform and at a time that suits them.

Flexibility is key, and organisations that can provide easy, instant access to information via a range of entry points will be best placed to meet the needs of prospective buyers and tenants, ensuring that a customer-first approach is adhered to.

An integrated approach

The momentum that ChatGPT has generated should not be underestimated – especially considering the increasing focus on customer loyalty. ChatGPT has been hugely successful in encouraging those slow on the uptake to integrate conversational AI into day-to-day operations. While its versatility and responsiveness are undoubtedly impressive, ChatGPT technology will be best used when integrated with pre-existing PropTech to create a balanced solution.

Integrating technology that enables homebuyers and tenants to interact with agents via messaging apps, live chat, chatbots and voice technology are key to improving customer satisfaction; rather than a magic bullet solution, ChatGPT will play a crucial role in awakening businesses to the possibilities of conversational AI.

The Large Language Model

Although ChatGPT is perceived as an omniscient and omnipotent technology, this isn’t exactly true, and the current version of the software is not yet equipped to deal with company or property-specific queries independently. Whilst proficient at Natural Language Generation (NLG), ChatGPT can make mistakes; in contrast to conversational AI, Large Language Models (LLMs) used by ChatGPT are not designed to be responsive to the type of internal information required to provide accurate responses to customer queries.

Given that ChatGPT is operating based on a dataset which has not been updated since September 2021, there is considerable potential for it to give outdated answers to buyers, and it is crucial for organisations to take this into account.

A ‘Best of Both Worlds’ solution

While many house hunters will welcome the implementation of chatbot technology that facilitates convenient communications via channels like WhatsApp, it is important to acknowledge the importance of engagement with human agents.

Certain stages of the buying and renting process will require more input from agents than others – many customers may feel comfortable, for example, scheduling viewings or logging a repair request after they’ve moved in via chatbot, but will likely prefer to speak to an agent directly to query a clause in their contract. Ultimately, a combined human-bot approach that provides customers with as much choice as possible will create a ‘best of both worlds’ solution, helping businesses embed versatile communications into their day-to-day operations.

Future communications

As conversational AI continues to transform the property industry, further developments in customer communications are inevitable. As subsequent versions of the software are developed and become available for business integration, ChatGPT will undoubtedly be a part of this ever-evolving landscape.

To meet the evolving expectations of buyers and tenants, estate agencies and housing associations must seek to leverage technology that helps employees manage challenging workloads and utilise their time effectively so that they can interact with customers meaningfully and develop strong professional relationships.

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