In some industries, artificial intelligence is designed to replace associates. In multifamily, it is designed to help them.
A hyper-competitive market and low unemployment rate are among the factors that have made it more difficult for the industry to attract and retain high-performing associates. And oftentimes the associates that remain are saddled with a wide variety of busywork that prevents them from concentrating on high-level duties or creating innovative ideas.
AI can alleviate much of that busywork, process data faster and make leasing offices much more efficient. Here are some of the benefits AI can bring to the apartment world:
For all the attention given to machine learning, don’t forget that the best ideas come from humans. Team members constantly enraptured in mundane daily tasks simply don’t have the time to be innovative. Chatbots that can guide conversations on websites serve as a prime example of a functionality that frees up time for associates to create groundbreaking concepts. Along the same lines, optimizing community websites for voice-activated searches through Alexa and other smart-home devices are a legitimate time-saver.
Streamlining the resident experience
Some apartment operators have presented Alexa as a move-in gift. With voice activation becoming such a key facet of everyday life, steering residents in that direction can only enhance their experience. The ability to pay rent or submit service request in voice-automated fashion not only is convenient for them, but also helps streamline things on the operations side. Naturally, more efficient onsite teams equate to a better resident experience.
In addition, the introduction of AI-based technologies can be empowering for residents. A recent multifamily survey indicated that 43 percent of current renters are still unsure on how to pay rent online, so convenience-based technologies such as voice activation can create more tech-savvy residents.
Address the labor shortage
The unemployment rate descended to 3.8 percent in February and has been at a five-decade low for the much of the past year. No industry has been immune from the effects, including multifamily, where many leasing offices have more work to do than people to do it. The more apartment operators can rely on automation, such as auto-responders for emails, the aforementioned chatbots and self-tour capabilities for prospects, the better. AI can simplify or completely eliminate tasks so fewer associates are needed to operate apartment communities.
Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. And although some worry about its implications when it comes to operations, the goal of AI is never to replace humans. It’s always to make humans’ jobs easier and more efficient.