Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) will be used to improve the customer experience and potentially save property managers from burnout, courtesy of a new deal between Australian PropTech startup Propic and MRI Software.
The exclusive partnership announced yesterday will see MRI Software introduce the new conversational AI to its clients across the country and, later, New Zealand.
Propic has developed two AI solutions that enable real estate agents and property managers to respond and communicate with clients via automated, conversational or text AI at any time of the day or night.
MRI Software Strategic Industry Principal Josh Symons said the technology was industry leading.
“This is at the forefront of solutions globally” he said.
“We know that our customers in the industry have significant struggles with the cost of labour and there’s been a lot of buzz and talk about the customer experience in the past few years.
“To get a consistent customer experience you need to move away from a point where the humans do the grunt work and have property managers focus on those relationships and those moments that matter for clients, whether that be a tenant or a landlord.
“There’s a lot to be said for a prospective tenant being able to get all the questions they would like answered in real time, in natural language, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
MRI Software client and property management agency Leah Jay tested Propic’s Enliven product for about two months and have used it live since January.
In that time the AI chat bot, which the agency has affectionately named Andy, has responded to more than 20,000 inquiries, including sending out more than 100 tenancy applications, and reduced the number of emails waiting in inboxes by the thousands.
General manager Cassandra Lantry said ‘Andy’ had intercepted all of the inquiries about rental properties that would normally funnel through from real estate portals such as Domain and realestate.com.au to an inbox that a property manager would sort through.
“What used to happen is all of those inquiries would come through to an inbox in our office and we would have to try and work our way through them, decipher which ones were answered and which ones weren’t because the volume was too significant to be able to answer them all,” she said.
“The AI technology has literally deleted that whole inbox.
“In a tight rental market, where we’re seeing such an influx of inquiry and applications on properties, with the technology being able to handle the bulk of the inquiries, we can then focus on processing the applications and getting people into their next home sooner.
“That’s really where our time is best spent.”
Ms Lantry said Leah Jay had also implemented further technology to allow prospective tenants to do virtual inspections.
“Andy can answer all of their questions, they can do a virtual inspection at 10pm at night and then submit an application so that by the next day we can be processing their application and have them into the property in 48 hours,” she said.
“Traditionally, you would have to book an inspection, wait five to seven days, go and attend, then fill out an application and all of those types of cumbersome things which, when you’re working and have a family, are just not convenient.”
The Propic and MRI Software partnership follows hot on the heels of Australian Community Media’s Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz investing $6 million in Propic to propel the development of its AI solutions for the real estate market.
Mr Symons also said burnout was a common issue in the property management sphere and MRI Software hoped introducing AI technology could help ease the mental load that can overwhelm property managers.
“There is so much inbound communication coming in, whether it’s inspections or maintenance and those types of things, that property managers have to deal with,” he said.
“If we can help deal with the basics and have AI handle answering easy questions, where the data is readily available, that don’t need that human connection, that certainly should, and we hope will, go a long way to helping with the mental load that results in burnout.
“So hopefully this type of tech in the industry will help people stay in jobs longer.”
Ms Lantry said the Leah Jay team had worked with Propic to develop the AI conversations to ensure the tone and language used fitted the agency’s brand.
She said the agency was about to launch phase two of the AI rollout, which would see the technology sit on its website and cater to current tenants and landlords, as well as consumers asking questions about the business.