Apartment Leasing

Human Interaction in Leasing Isn’t Dead – It’s Thriving with the Help of Automation

By Jacob Carter

Apartment operators have been reluctant to embrace automation technologies in the past, fearing backlash from onsite teams. There is a common misconception that adopting automation would replace onsite members. The truth is, automation is not meant to replace human interaction – it’s designed to supplement it.

New leasing technologies, like AI chatbots and lease conversion automation, are developed to improve and streamline the customer experience while creating more time for onsite teams to focus on customer service and establishing more meaningful relationships with prospects and residents. The leasing process has evolved tremendously over the last few years, and with more people searching online for their next apartment home, implementing automation tools assists leasing associates with communication efforts and customer satisfaction across the board. 

Sixty percent of potential residents search for an apartment home after hours when leasing associates are out of the office and unavailable to field questions and schedule tours. More than half of customers apply to two or more communities, so responding swiftly is an immediate competitive advantage.

Most customers also prefer to schedule a tour on their own; a staggering 95% of them schedule a tour within 24 hours of submitting a lead while 70% schedule within the first three hours. 

While this is a good thing for modern leasing, it also means that many onsite teams can easily become overwhelmed with the amount of leads that require follow-ups. The challenge then becomes quickly responding to all those leads before potential residents move on to a community that provides a timely follow up. Automation takes on the brunt of the lead influx. Some operators have even reported that, with the help of automation, the number of generated leads increased an average of sixfold within a two-year period. 

Leasing automation frees up more time for onsite teams to focus on better customer service and engagement, which ultimately attracts more residents and creates a better overall experience for them. Automation is the support that leasing associates have long been searching for in the digital leasing environment of today. It engages the customer early on in the leasing process by gathering vital information from multiple touch points, and leverages that information to create hyper-personalized messaging to send at the appropriate time via the customer’s preferred communication platform. 

Automation bolsters the front line of leasing. While automation does the heavy lifting with tedious tasks, leasing teams can focus on what they do best: talking to people. Leasing associates step in when human interaction is pivotal to turning a lead into a lease, and a first-time lease into a long-term resident. It takes time to connect with prospective and current residents and maintain those relationships that are the backbone of any community. 

Innovative automation tools encourage human interaction by providing the time and resources that onsite associates need to foster quality relationships with prospects and residents alike. Automation technology is not here to be a substitute for authentic human interaction. Quite the contrary – automation is meant to assist leasing associates and enhance the entire customer experience. This balance between automation and human interaction ultimately leads to increased lease conversions, higher renewal rates, more referrals and higher occupancy rates.

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