How agents can use AI to boost revenues and streamline operations

24 August 2023

Goodlord Director Oli Sherlock discusses how artificial intelligence can help letting agents to succeed.

This article was originally published on PropertyWire on 24 August 2023.

Over recent months, there’s been a huge amount of hype and hysteria around the role AI is going to play in our personal and professional lives. The latest wave of Generative AI tools has ushered in a new era of tech-powered capabilities. Here, we explore what that means for agents and how you can explore AI right now to make your business operate more efficiently. 

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1. Check IDs with facial recognition

With fraudulent tenancy applications on the rise, AI can be deployed to reduce nefarious activity in the referencing and tenancy process. 

Confirming that someone's face matches their ID is a key part of any reference check and often still done manually. This means extra time and logistical wrangling on the part of your team. 

However, there are an increasing number of technology providers that use AI-powered biometric facial recognition software to conduct this check. This type of check can be much more accurate than a manual one, being far less prone to human error, as well as speeding up the process by skipping the need for in-person meetings. Many systems can also check for fraudulent documents at the same time, protecting your landlords from dodgy applications.  

Read more: Should your lettings agency be using artificial intelligence? 

2. Support your customers - and generate leads - with automation

AI-powered chatbots can also be used to automate key elements of customer support and source new leads. Integrating a chatbot onto your website can help field simple questions from landlords, tenants, or customers, or engage with them out of hours. They can also collect data on common queries, which can be fed into content strategies, website upgrades and business plans. 

AI scanning tools can also take over manual work your team may be undertaking in the hunt for new properties or landlords. Instead of pouring over databases or manually tracking listings online, AI algorithms can be trained to do this for you. Spectre, a lead generation and prospecting tool provider, is a good example of a platform that now offers AI - allowing estate agents to sell their services to sellers whose homes have been on the market for a specific period, generating automated letters after a certain time period has elapsed. 

Read more: 6 reasons why letting agents should give technology a chance.

3. Write content with natural language processing tech

The natural language processing tool, ChatGPT, went viral as soon as it launched - amazing the public with its ability to turn text prompts into impressive prose. This type of AI could be a solution to support you in creating valuable content for your clients in a quicker, more efficient way. 

Agents can experiment with tools like ChatGPT to write or refine content for blogs, property listings, or team member bios. You can tell ChatGPT to write in various styles and also share demographics, locations, and so on, to ensure the content is tailored. 

Obviously there are some pitfalls. The copy created might be technically accurate, but anything produced through ChatGPT should still be edited and checked to make sure it’s all completely correct. You might also need to edit the copy to ensure it reflects your company’s tone of voice, but it could save valuable time and boost your content output without the need for extra resources.

For example, at Goodlord, we use a natural language processing plug-in to help find information buried in our company’s instant messaging platform. Instead of scanning through lots of how-to guides or completing manual searches, we’ve created a bot that can help us find the information we’re looking for quickly. This is already reaping benefits for the team in terms of time saved. 

Read more: Technology in lettings is the only way to go, says this agency

4. Market properties with virtual reality tours

During the pandemic, scores of agents embraced online viewings. Some kept things simple, using mobiles to snap videos of available properties. Others invested in 360° virtual tours, using AI-led tools such as Matterport to generate immersive content for prospective tenants or buyers. 

AI 360° technology stitches together 2D images to create a 3D tour, overlaid with automated recognition of different rooms and objects. This gives tenants or house buyers the chance to ‘see’ the space without booking a viewing and get a feel for the lay-out. 

Embracing a more formal roll-out of AI in this way can help refine who is booking viewings (filtering out those who may not be interested in the property on arrival) and even enabling tenancies or sales to be confirmed completely remotely, freeing up time for your team. 

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