Supercharging Renter Conversions with an AI Leasing Assistant
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Prospective renters crave instant answers. Can you provide them?
Each day, consumers lead on digital assistants to get instant answers as they go about their day: Calling on Alexa to preview the day’s schedule, activating Siri to pull up directions, leaning on Google to settle a burning question, and more.
We’ve grown dependent on the conveniences of AI assistants, and it’s no different for prospective renters, who expect the same ease, instant answers and gratification as they search for a rental unit.
Swaying “stealth mode” prospects
It’s worth noting that today’s renter journey is much lengthier and more complicated than just a couple of years ago. Data from tens of thousands of multifamily website sessions and prospect interactions tell us the average renter takes 46 days to choose a rental unit, though many spend more than six months searching – and that’s just from the time they become known to a property management company.
Long before that, renters do much of their research on “stealth mode,” not wanting to interact with a leasing agent until they’ve discarded several options and narrowed their choices. Put another way, you don’t know who your prospects are until the tail end of their renter’s journey — that is, unless you have a way to deliver so much value during their self-led search phase that they’re willing to trade personal information for it and keep in touch.
That’s where AI leasing assistants come in. But not just any AI leasing assistant.
What’s Possible with an AI Leasing Assistant?
To answer this question, we’ve asked a handful of multifamily marketing leaders to share how PERQ’s AI leasing assistant has impacted their marketing programs. Here’s what they had to say:
“I was shocked to see how much people are willing to talk to an AI leasing assistant, and the sheer quantity of data we’re obtaining from people inputting their contact information to get easy questions answered…We’re halfway into [the month] and we’ve collected more than 260 pieces of contact information from potential renters. A percentage of those were passed on to our onsite teams as rent-ready leads, and the rest are being nurtured.” — Lindsey Kuhn, CMO, The Champion Companies
“Prospective renters want instant gratification. We’re seeing data they they’re interacting with our AI leasing assistant longer. They’re scheduling tours. They’re asking a lot of questions and those questions are being answered. In the last three months, our PERQ AI chatbot was able to answer 93% of prospect questions, which is very impressive.” — Liz Bogue, director of marketing, Bonaventure
“Woody, our AI leasing assistant, has answered 1,800 questions in just three months. That’s 1,800 straightforward questions that prospects got real-time answers to. They didn’t have to pick up the phone or send an email.” — Brian Erickson, senior vice president, marketing, Wood Residential
“If you want to be impactful, you have to automate, no doubt. Our number-one reason for adopting PERQ was to be available to renters 24/7. Unless we started three shifts of leasing teams, this is how we make it possible. I know with 100% certainty that any digital lead coming into Boyd Wilson is being addressed. I was never able to say that before.” — Lisa Delgado, vice president of asset management, Boyd Wilson
Boosting agent productivity while easing their workload
One benefit of augmenting leasing teams with an AI leasing assistant is taking low-impact tasks off their shoulders so they can operate more efficiently, focusing on leads that present the greatest potential for revenue. To make that possible, your AI leasing assistant can tackle 70% of routine inquiries and “warm up” leads for the leasing team. Natural-language AI has the added benefit of learning each prospect’s preferences over time and adapting follow-ups so they’re relevant to individual interests and preferred communications channels.
By the time leasing agents follow up with a prospective renter, they can trust that (a) that’s a high-intent lead, and (b) they have deep intel into that prospect’s preferences, budget and other considerations so they can personalize their approach for a compelling interaction.
Elizabeth Shew, property team lead at SkyVue, reports that PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant has transformed their team and prospect experiences: “It’s saved our team hours of work It’s so easy to call a prospect when you already know what floor plan, timeframe and budget they’e looking at.”
For leads that have not yet engaged with a leasing agent, there’s no gap in support, notes Virginia Kull, property manager at Highview Pointe: “In a world that requires instant gratification, [our AI leasing assistant] allows our leads and residents to gain extensive information about our property, quickly.”
On average, multifamily property managers we’ve worked with at PERQ report they’ve been able to free up 10 or more hours per week, increasing leads by 200%-400%, increasing conversions up to 50%, and lowering costs significantly.
Vetting an AI leasing assistant
Not every solution that claims AI capabilities is worth your dollars, of course. To get the most out of your AI leasing assistant, it’s wise to prioritize the following criteria:
Conversational, Natural Language Programming (NLP) AI
Unlike rule-based AI, which is limited to an inflexible script, your AI leasing assistant should carry a conversation and deliver a warm touch that, ironically, makes your organization feel more “human.” Natural language AI also learns over time, adjusting every interaction to reflect prospect preferences or information the prospect has shared before. It’s the difference between truly helpful, concierge-like assistance and getting stuck on one of those tiresome “Press 1 to repeat this menu” scripts.
One connected platform
If your goal is to become more efficient, the last thing you need is inconsistent data and disconnected systems. Your AI leasing assistant should integrate with your CRM systems, plus inbound traffic sources like property listings, your Google business page, inbound phone calls, and more. It should also be able to communicate with prospects across multiple channels, and give you visibility into how each channel or traffic source is performing.
Additionally, the only way to keep your CRM clean is to only put high-intent, agent-ready leads in there. To that end, the PERQ platform nurtures leads, building rapport and warming them up, delivering them to your CRM only when they’re ready to talk with an agent. In doing so, your team prevents low-impact, time-wasting interactions, without having to worry about letting viable leads fall through the cracks.
When adopting new technology to accelerate revenue goals, you want the learning curve to be as minimal as possible. And with the speed of change in the market, you want a platform that’s easy to adapt to your needs as they evolve. You shouldn’t have to hire a data scientist to activate, manage or upgrade AI capabilities.
Introducing PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant
As multifamily’s first standalone marketing automation platform designed to personalize every step of the renter’s journey, the PERQ platform includes best-in-class modules designed to supercharge conversions. Among these tools is the PERQ AI Leasing Assistant, which offers automation designed to increase conversions from your lead sources while also reducing your onsite team’s workload stemming from top-of-funnel leads.
PERQ’s Leasing Assistant uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate time-consuming activities like answering questions, following up with prospects, and scheduling tours. Baked into the PERQ platform is AI with some important distinctions:
- First, PERQ’s conversational AI is natural language processing (NLP), meaning it can understand and respond to questions written in natural language, as we touched on earlier. This provides a far better experience than “guided bot” technology, where a user has to choose from a list of topics, rather than type in the exact question they have.
- Second, PERQ’s AI is machine learning, meaning it learns and improves over time. In addition, the PERQ platform also offers personalization capabilities for its automated nurture outreach, that adjusts nurture communications for each prospect and has intelligent lead handoff, knowing exactly when it is the right time to hand the lead off to a member of your onsite team.
Whether a rental prospect begins engagement with your community via your website, on your Google business page, from an ILS or an inbound phone call, the PERQ Leasing Assistant allows you to be there to respond immediately and provide a consistent, responsive brand experience. Any automated conversations are stored in PERQ’s centralized database to be made available to your onsite team when they are agent ready.
► Be everywhere your prospects are
PERQ automates top-of-funnel engagement with prospects across your inbound channels with its AI chatbots for your website, Google business page, SMS, and email. This cross-channel approach ensures you are supplying your prospects immediate answers to their questions, right at the time when they’re researching your property and their interest peaks. The cross-channel coordination also ensures prospects have a consistent, cohesive experience with your brand and community, even as they switch channels.
Altogether, this maximizes conversions and saves your team valuable time and effort in answering questions repeatedly for unqualified prospects. Additionally, the PERQ Leasing Assistant can convert phone calls to automated text messages, saving your team even more time. And because PERQ automates the scheduling of tours, your team can now focus on qualified tours and signing leases.
► Make the most of every lead
PERQ’s Leasing Assistant also boasts multifamily’s best nurture automation solution. Designed to follow up on leads from your website and ILSs, PERQ’s nurture uses our proprietary Nurture Science™️ that personalizes the nurture outreach via SMS and email to increase conversion to tour.
PERQ’s Leasing Assistant personalizes nurture outreach based on any prospect intelligence that’s been gathered. This goes far beyond using a prospect’s name at the beginning of an email. Instead, we deliver meaningful personalization by customizing nurture components including:
- The cadence of communications based on the timing of the prospect’s intended move
- Content and calls-to-action that are relevant to their preferences and interests
- The prospect’s preferred communications channel — whether SMS, email nurture, or both
And because all prospect data is centralized in the PERQ platform, a person can seamlessly jump from a nurture touch into an AI conversation with one of our chatbots. In head-to-head tests against other nurture automations, PERQ’s nurture outperformed the others in conversion to tour and lease.
All of the messaging in our nurture touches are based on the best practices PERQ has learned from sending millions of communications over many years. Each nurture touch offers each prospect compelling content and calls-to-action that are relevant to them, giving them important information about your property.
In addition, those touches include the number to text PERQ’s Leasing Assistant 24 hours a day, giving them ’round the clock coverage and instant answers to their questions. Put another way, a prospect that’s browsing your property website at 2 a.m. doesn’t have to wait for office hours to get their questions answered, at which point their interest might wane, competitors might get to them first, or distractions prevent them from following up. And, because PERQ remembers interactions with prospects, the conversations are intelligent, picking up where they left off.
With PERQ, prospect see your property as highly professional and proactive, consistent in its communications, helpful in sharing information, and timely in its response. Our messaging receives exceptional conversion rates for our customers and can be customized or changed as needed for your property. And, PERQ’s AI constantly learns, allowing PERQ to continuously improve outcomes.
PERQ also knows when to discontinue outreach and uniquely recycles leads, beginning automated outreach after a year has elapsed to recapture prospects’ interests round their lease expiration.
► Nurture personalization & interactive experiences
The PERQ platform also has a website conversion module that instantly modernizes your website with interactive website experiences. This capability can be added to the PERQ Leasing Assistant to amplify its results.
For context, PERQ’s nurture outreach is personalized to the individual in three ways:
- Cadence: The cadence of the touches are based on the prospect’s move-in window and changes when their plans do.
- Content: The actual content of the communication is made more relevant by referencing the personal preferences of each prospect.
- Channels: The channel the nurture is sent is based on consumer behavior and preferences.
When added to the PERQ Leasing Assistant, interactive experiences work as a secret weapon for the nurture personalization because they offer more free leads converted from the website as well as engaging CTAs that can be used in the nurture to further engage leads from any source.
Additionally, PERQ’s interactive experiences capture more data on the prospect and preferences than, for example, what an ILS gives you when they pass over a lead. When you use interactive experiences to capture more data, your nurture personalization is even better, you have more leads to nurture, and your website becomes more engaging and higher-performing.
Since PERQ is able to nurture your ILS leads, you can also amplify the performance of these paid leads with personalization by leveraging PERQ’s nurture to send them personalized interactive experiences on your website. Those engaging experiences will educate prospects on your property and convert them to tours at higher levels. In short, these capabilities working together will supercharge your conversion to tour.
Results you can’t ignore
Proof’s in the pudding, as the saying goes. It’s why PERQ offers a no-risk trial so PMCs and multifamily marketers can see for themselves what an AI Leasing Assistant can do for their business. Invariably, they come away shocked by the results they see in a short time.
Take CA Ventures, for instance. At the end of a 90-day pilot with PERQ for 10 of its properties, CA Ventures reported the following:
- +226% average increase in lead-to-tour conversions for each pilot property.
- 99% of tour scheduling was handled automatically by PERQ.
- +157% average increase in website leads.
- +1,002 hours of staff time saved, resulting in labor cost savings/reallocation of ~$20,000.
Laramar, which manages a portfolio of 150 properties, also ran a no-risk trial with PERQ. At the end of the three-month experiment, the Laramar team reported the following improvements:
- -2,858 fewer hours spent managing leads, equating to $57,160 in payroll value.
- 90.4% of tours were scheduled via PERQ, requiring zero human interaction.
- +182% increase in lead-to-tour conversions.
- +113% increase in website traffic to lead conversion.
- $43,116 in savings or cost avoidance in lead generation (more leads generated from web traffic, plus more tours from nurtured leads).
In all, you can expect the PERQ Leasing Assistant to improve your marketing results in very important ways, including:
People Hours Saved
With top-of-funnel FAQs and lead follow-up being handled with automation, you’ll free up onsite resources for closing leases and servicing residents.
Higher Conversion of Leads to Tours
The best marketers know that the key to having the lowest cost per lead/tour/lease is to maximize the conversion of your leads. PERQ’s unmatched personalized nurture capabilities double your lead-to-tour conversion!
Better Consumer Experience
PERQ’s AI chatbots converse in natural language, making for a better user experience and a higher percentage of questions answered over other approaches — instantly and automatically.
Automated Tour Scheduling
PERQ automates tour scheduling via our built-in tour scheduler or yours, saving time over manual scheduling.
Optimized Marketing Spend
PERQ’s full funnel lead source attribution reporting gives you important insights about your lead source performance, allowing you to optimize your marketing spend.
Consistent Cross-Channel Brand Experience
When you use PERQ’s Leasing Assistant along with PERQ’s Website Conversion Maximizer, your prospects get a consistent experience across channels, powered by one AI platform. They’ll see the latest information available, presented the way you want, in every channel they engage with your community, and you’ll only have one vendor to manage.
► Your Turn
What can PERQ do for your marketing performance?