From cars to real estate: the case for chatbots

June 13, 2019
Martijn Kemper

Extensive market research confirms a sharp rise in the number of use cases for chat- & voicebots. According to Gartner, 68% of service leaders believe chatbots will become even more important within the next two years. So if you’re in the service industry, now is the time to decide how this technology could be integrated into your customer interactions. 

To better understand the value of chatbots to different sectors, check out my previous blog about promising use case domains. This follow-up is a deep dive into real-life examples of chatbots and conversational AI being applied in the real estate, HR, insurance and automotive sectors.

The age of conversational AI

Before describing the use case examples, let me take you back in time for a moment. In the 1950s, Alan Turing, famous for cracking the German Enigma code, developed a way to define the intelligence of computers. Turing wondered whether a computer could imitate human responses to the extent that it would be impossible to tell if you were speaking to a computer or to an actual person. To be called ‘intelligent’, computers had to pass this so-called Turing test. While the idea was no more than a science-fiction utopia in the 50s, today AI-driven algorithms as used in chatbots and conversational AI can pass the Turing test. More importantly, the technology enables companies to change the way they do business and interact with their clients. For more information about how chatbots are changing business, download our white paper: The rise of chat- & voicebots.

Let's deep-dive into four examples of chatbots that have transformed companies.

#1 Got a problem under the bonnet? Ask your in-car bot!

If a light on the dashboard of your car flashes up, what’s the easiest way to find out why? One of the largest car companies in the world has completely rethought the process, replacing user manuals with a chatbot that offers customers instant advice. It works like this: if you buy a new car, a bot contacts you to introduce itself, list its functions (anything from helping to set up the stereo to letting you know when to expect your first oil change), and act as a standby guide for real-time questions. The bot can even offer to set up a service appointment or provide directions to the nearest dealership.

In-car chatbots transform CX by offering:

  • Consistency: Regardless of the content or complexity of a question, the bot offers fast and reliable support through app-interfaces like Facebook messenger, enabling drivers to get back on the road as quickly as possible. 
  • Precision: In contrast to a traditional user manual, chatbots ask very specific follow-up questions in order to better understand the query. They can also provide the driver with enriched content, such as images or graphs. 
  • Perceived expertise: Rather than having to flip through a manual in frustration to try to solve a problem themselves, drivers interacting with chatbots often perceive their conversation as if they are talking to an expert. This is highly beneficial in the feature-rich vehicles offered by the company and has been shown to improve drivers’ customer satisfaction levels significantly. 

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#2 Disrupting the insurance market

A renters and home insurance company is changing the way tenants and home-owners insure their belongings. This insurance company may be described best as a hybrid between a tech start-up and an insurance company. Backed by big insurance players, it uses AI-powered chatbots to issue policies and handle claims from its customers without employing brokers.

The Palo Alto-based start-up relies on its AI bot Maya to interact with customers through its website and social media, tapping into the shift in communication preferences across all age groups and nationalities. Research shows that instant messaging is more in demand than customer support via conventional channels. Meanwhile, Maya’s world record of paying a customer's insurance claim within three seconds sparked the media’s imagination and demonstrated just how much easier and faster it can make insurance transactions.

Chatbots beat insurance brokers by:

  • Bridging the trust gap: AI chatbots increase consumers’ trust in insurance companies in two ways. First, they build customer engagement quickly and reliably. And second, chatbots increase transparency by answering questions and explaining the small print in clear, fact-based language where an insurance broker might easily resort to a sales pitch. 
  • Streamlining processes: People tend to perceive insurance transactions as being very slow and complicated. Chatbots streamline transactions significantly by sharing information in small batches rather than in dense, jargon-laden documents. They can resolve customer queries rapidly by inviting users to state the exact nature of their query.
  • Providing the ‘human’ touch: The chatbot replicates human reactions so well that people perceive their interaction as having been with an actual insurance broker in terms of expertise and trustworthiness.

 

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#3 - Superhuman resources -

As part of efforts to innovate its HR activities, one of the largest furniture and kitchen appliances companies in the world replaced their conventional paper application process with an online job kiosk. However, the retailer was disappointed by the initial results. The new online process was too complex and time-consuming for many applicants, resulting in a high drop-off rate. 

Due to the large investment it had made in the kiosk, the company looked at how to best leverage the application in a different way. Chatbots turned out to provide the missing link in the application process. The HR department worked with XOR to implement chatbots into their online kiosk, providing an intuitive format to help applicants complete the process in an easy and interactive way, and turning results around. 

By adding chatbots to the job application process, you can expect:

  • More applicants: Without increasing the hiring budget, the company’s HR department has attracted 85% more applicants. HR specialists can now post links to job openings through the chatbot as well as their social networks.
  • More conversions: Before implementing the chatbot in their online kiosk, the candidate conversion rate was around 1.8%. It has increased to nearly 10% after implementation. 
  • Other benefits: Chatbots can provide a wide range of additional benefits to HR and recruitment activities, including the collection of applicants' information, scheduling interviews, and answering FAQs.

 Afbeelding blog use cases

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#4 The real estate sector – nurturing leads the chatbot way

Ever wondered what it would be like to schedule a property viewing without having to call an agent? Have a look at Roof.ai, a chatbot operating in the real estate sector. As in marketing, one of the main challenges for real estate agencies is effective and efficient lead assignment, including targeting and qualifying leads, and connecting them to the right broker. Agencies can decrease their workload by utilising a chatbot like Roof.ai to automate  initial interactions with leads and how they are assigned. The customer – a home-owner or house-hunter – communicates their request to a chatbot which either forwards the lead to the most suitable agent right away or asks for additional information to qualify it.

The Keyes Company is a prime example of a real estate agency employing a chatbot. The Company asked itself: why do we make potential leads fill out a form, let them leave our website, then eventually try to reconnect with them by email or phone? Identifying the inefficiencies of its lead generation process led them to implement a chatbot to engage with customers in real-time while they were still on its website.

The benefits of chatbots to the real estate sector don’t end there. Chatbots can:

  • Identify customer needs: By using Natural Language Processing (NLP), a chatbot can identify the real needs of prospective leads, for instance of people responding to property alerts or market updates about their neighbourhood. The lead can then be more effectively nurtured and his or her needs be met more easily than by using traditional follow-up techniques.
  • Provide valuations: To capture seller leads, the chatbot can provide potential sellers with information about the approximate value of their house based on information like aggregate market data.
  • Schedule viewings: Based on data collected during previous chats, the bot can provide customers with appointments to view properties best suited to their needs. These can be generated automatically by the chatbot or by a real estate agent. 

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