I recently chaired a panel session on artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means for the future of communications. It was a fascinating discussion, where three great speakers – a writer, a social media expert and an AI expert – and I talked about how new technologies are changing the ways we connect with our target audiences and run our businesses.
For those unaware of AI, you’ll probably be surprised to know it’s already in your world.
Have you ever said ‘OK Google’ into your Android phone, followed by a question? Perhaps the popular ‘will I need an umbrella tomorrow?’. Google’s powerful algorithm serves you the answer. Each time you ask a question it learns more about you, which helps to improve the accuracy of search results in the future.
Maybe you’ve chatted with a customer service rep in a chat box online at your bank, or utilities provider. It may well have been a chat bot you were talking to, not a human, but you probably couldn’t tell the difference.
Or even more likely, if you are a Facebook user, have you ever wondered why your newsfeed is full of stories that are interesting to you, but not your partner? It’s because the machine of Facebook is learning what you like and showing you more of it. Its objective is to keep you in the app for longer, so it can sell you more and better targeted advertising.
Like it or not. AI is here and it’s not going away. The more you do online, or with any connected device, the more services like Facebook and Google collect data on you. This is the basis of AI – the vast amounts of data being used and analysed all the time to provide you with what you want, or what marketers would like you to want.
So, what does this mean for property investors and landlords?
There may well be opportunities to use AI to provide a better service to your tenants, or customers as we prefer to call them?
Here’s just three ideas to get you thinking:
1. Use a Chatbot for Handling Customer Issues
Imagine using a chatbot to manage common complaints from your customers. Here’s a scenario:
Customer: the lights are out in the bathroom, can you send an electrician around to look at this?
Landlord (chatbot): Thanks for letting me know. Have you tried changing the bulb?
Landlord (chatbot): Give that a try first and let me know how you get on.
Client: I’ve replaced the bulb, but it’s still not working.
Landlord (chatbot): OK, it might be the fuse has tripped. Can you check the box, it’s in the cupboard under the stairs.
Customer: What does it look like?
Landlord (chatbot): It looks like this:
Landlord (chatbot): check if the main switch is on or off. It it's off, turn it on again and see if the light works.
Customer: It worked. Thanks.
Landlord (chatbot): You’re welcome.
How hard was that? Your chatbot handled the whole thing and you just get an email report at the end.
2. Install Alexa in your HMOs
If you want your clients to have a more enjoyable experience living in your property and you’re happy to take the risk with a piece of technology, why not install Alexa in your communal lounge.
Your tenants will have a blast ordering takeaways, or movies to watch at home without getting off their backsides.
With tenant churn being one of the biggest costs that eats away at the ROI of your investments, why not make your property as comfortable and compelling as possible. The longer they stay, the lower your costs.
3. Research Where to Invest Next
Making investment decisions is not easy, especially if you want to target a new market of sector. How well have you done your due diligence on deals and what’s your long term view of the market?
There are tools you can use to automate some of this research, such as AI writer. Imagine if you are London based property investor considering a move into serviced accommodation. Wouldn’t it be handy to see what’s been published in the press during the last 12 months about this strategy that might affect your decision?
Take a look now at AI Writer and ask it to do some research for you. It might not provide you with all the information you need to know, but I’ll bet you the cost of a flat white it will make you think.
So, there you have it. Three ways artificial intelligence can be used by property investors. Go ahead, take a look and test some of these tools out and see if it helps you to make better decisions that also increase your bottom line.