If you don’t like change, I’m with you on that. But sometimes change is good for you personally and for business… especially changes that save you time, streamline your business or save you money. Now, when it comes to technology, there are many sceptics out there. Many people don’t like the shiny new toy, but one technology I’d like to introduce you to is Alex, a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence. And it’s a game-changing property management software. If you are serious about reducing stress and accelerating growth in your business!
Leanne Sorby, National Sales Manager at Rental Heroes, joins me in today’s conversation. She started her career in real estate in 2003 and has worked in sales and property management for agencies in New Zealand, England, and Australia. Leanne transitioned into the Prop tech space in 2013, initially working in Project Management roles to broaden her knowledge and help better understand the implementation of real estate software. She then moved into Business Development and has built a solid network within the industry.
Let’s dive in and find out exactly how AI can help your business save time and money and accelerate growth.
Now let’s talk about artificial intelligence. So what is it? Well, the definition of artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer programs that are able to do tasks and solve problems that usually require human intelligence. So artificial intelligence is being used in hundreds of ways all around us. It’s literally changed our world and made our lives more convenient and certainly more interesting. So voice recognition is a form of AI that we are all familiar with. Most people know how to call Siri, for example, for directions or to call somebody, or play music. Self-driving cars is another form of artificial intelligence and who wouldn’t love one of those? And also chatbots.
Now many companies are utilizing artificial intelligence to strengthen their customer service teams. Chatbots can interact with customers and answer generic questions without needing to use real human time. This expert system can give a human level of interaction to customers 24/7 when your clients are Googling your business at 10 p.m. and there’s no human available to answer that, guess what? The chatbot will be there. So my guest today is Leanne Sorby. She’s the National sales manager for Rental Heroes, a PropTech company that has developed a property management software that uses natural language and AI to handle tenant issues and inquiries. So you no longer have to know their virtual assistant, Alex, is an AI-powered chatbot, Alex Troubleshoots and offers self-help advice to solve common problems. Now, if the issue can’t be resolved by Alex, he gets all the details and creates a work order that gets sent directly through to your CRM.
HOW DID SHE GET STARTED IN THIS?
“Well, I’ve been in the real estate industry now coming up almost 20 years, so a long time. Um, the first sort of part of my career for about 12 years was working within real estate agencies across property management and sales teams. I’ve worked in Auckland, real estate in London and Sydney, which has been really exciting, I think it’s about eight years ago I started to get itchy feed. I really wanted to stay in the industry. At the time I saw some really interesting real estate technology companies emerging. So I put my feelers out and I landed a role at Agent Box. So that was my very first intro into the PropTech space. I then went and worked for other companies like Moving Hub, Rock End Property, and Tree product. And about a year ago I was appointed national sales manager for Rental Heroes. So Rental Heroes is a fantastic company based in Melbourne. Great team, and awesome co-founders. And I absolutely love my role.”
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HOW IS IT CHANGING THE WAY THAT WE DO REAL ESTATE?
“So artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI. It’s been around for a long time, chatbots and all that sort of thing within other industries. We’ve been sort of in the space now for about three years and our technology is changing the way property management teams can run on a daily basis. So I guess, three key reasons why agencies are adopting AI and getting on board right now:
– Alex the chatbot is saving teams a lot of time. It’s reducing those unnecessary pesky interruptions that they’re getting on a daily basis.
– It’s improving their level of customer service. We all know expectations are always changing. People want answers and they want them now. So a solution like this essentially gives an agency the ability to give their clients 24/7 instant help and instant support.
– Our solution is super quick and easy to set up. 30 minutes is all it takes to get it up and running. No process changes”
HOW DOES AI HELP PROPERTY MANAGERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS ON A DAILY BASIS?
“Think of Alex as another channel into the business, another front door, so to speak you’ve still got your calls coming in, your emails, this is another channel of choice or way that your clients can communicate. So Alex will essentially troubleshoot through things like – “my tap is leaking” they might have a problem, electrical problem, all that sort of thing, but other non-maintenance related questions as well that they might have around – “when is my rent paid?” “When does my lease expire?” Those are the type of pesky sort of interruptions that we call them… that you just don’t want to be interrupted with on a daily basis.
So it’s nice and quick they can just scan a QR and they can start communicating with Alex. Also, another interesting fact, around 47% of tenant-initiated conversations through Alex will be of a self-service nature.”
ALEX THE CHATBOT
“For anyone that might be a little bit confused… Alex is a chatbot that sits behind the scenes of your messenger or behind the scenes of your business. And when tenants have inquiries, they are intercepted by Alex and she will answer a lot of the questions first, or he, I’m not sure if Alex is a male or female, or it could be either. And if Alex is unable to answer the questions, of course then it goes through to the property manager.”
HOW DID ALEX COME ABOUT?
“So our two co-founders come from corporate backgrounds, but sort of specializing in chatbots and that sort of thing. The very first story was they were having a drink at the pub and wanted to get out of their corporate roles and decided that you know, we want to build a chatbot. What market could we target? Where is there a gap that we could fill? So after a bit of market research and they did their research. They spoke to hundreds of real estate professionals, but they saw a real need for something like this within the sort of property management space just due to various things going on in the industry and the really busy work that’s involved in property management… and that’s, that’s how Alex was born.”
WHAT OTHER AI PRODUCTS DOES RENTAL HEROS HAVE ASWELL?
“We are currently building out some other solutions and we’ve really listened to our customers. Identified various pain points around things like leasing inquiries and that sort of thing. We’ve also got chatbots for websites, so they can pass through and capture leads as well as act as an access point to Alex. So those are the sort of the products that are, that are live. And then we’ve got a few others in the wings. We’re a company that’s constantly evolving and we really listen to our customer base. We are always coming up with new ideas and things that we can do, to help our clients.”
CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE MORE IN-DEPTH ABOUT CHATBOTS
“There’s a number of chatbots out there that are available, free versions of chatbots that are really just quite limited. The chatbot is real estate industry-specific, so it’s really easy to navigate. It can take a prospective landlord through a very quick journey, just kind of capturing their information so that the chatbot would sort of pop up on your website and they can just pop their information in from there, and then that will send it through to whoever as a warm lead. So having that acting on your website is kind of like, I describe it as like having a 24/7 concierge so they can still start clicking around and having a look at your website as a whole. But I think having that pop up there can sort of easily capture the information. Our product will also give you stats on how many leads you receive on a monthly basis as well. So, it’s, it’s a really powerful tool.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STATS AROUND EXISTING CLIENTS OR THEIR SUCCESSES IN CAPTURING LEADS?
“Yeah, so stats barrier, it really depends on your sort of website traffic, but what we’ve seen is an increase of around sort of 20 to 30% after having the chatbot live just for a couple of months. So think of that as leads that you may have never even got through your front door. So pretty impressive stats.”
SHARE A PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT TOOL OR RESOURCE
“Personal development for me is something that I’m always working on. My career, like everyone, has had a few ups and downs along the way, a few knockbacks with confidence and stuff. Your recent podcast around imposter syndrome really resonated with me too! It’s just all about not so much a tool, but I just really like to focus on my mental health and well-being. So, I keep a planner every week. I set myself little mini goals that I work towards. I don’t beat myself up too much if I don’t manage to achieve them. Just keeping myself on track, but also exercising and meditation. Just all those sorts of little things like property management is such a busy, busy industry.”
HOW CAN OUR AUDIENCE CONNECT WITH YOU FURTHER AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AMAZING PRODUCTS AT RENTAL HEROS?
“I would love to talk to anybody out there. We can basically service any size business. So, we’ve got customers with 40 properties right through to sort of 4,000 properties. I think reach out to me, my demos are short and sweet, literally 15, or 20 minutes to run you through the product. We’re not a CRM or a workflow solution where it can be quite a sort of convoluted. It’s a nice simple product to get your head around. So jump onto our website. You can book a demo, we just need to know what trust accounting CRM you’re using, so then I can show you how it practically works and hopefully takes it from there.
Now, if you are someone who is serious about growing your property management business and you’d like to learn the systems that I’ve put in place inside my own business that consistently brings in 5 to 15 new management leads every single week without me having to do anything, then go to the show notes and click on the link to get on the waiting list for the Growth School, and you’ll get notified when it launches!