By Angela Fee, Head of Mattering & Impact (Marketing) , AnswerConnect.
A sudden increase in demand from tenants is placing landlords and letting agencies under pressure. Understandably, many may be tempted to use artificial intelligence (AI) to automate certain tasks and reduce their workloads. AI may seem to be a perfect solution on the surface, but it carries its own set of risks.
It’s true that automation can improve efficiency and save resources. However, authentic connection is at the heart of customer service. Replacing human interaction with automated bots threatens to jeopardise this valuable human element and may counteract any benefits of using AI.
Not so long ago, AI was still a novel idea, finding itself on the fringes of mainstream business usage. In recent years, however, AI has found a place in the business world. As its use becomes more widespread, so does its place in our day-to-day lives. ChatGPT, for example, has recently sparked a conversation around AI’s potential to replace human roles. AI certainly has the propensity to significantly change the ways we live and work – for better or worse.
AI can have its uses in the business world. The technology behind it is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and it can prove to be an efficient way of saving time and resources. Ultimately, businesses need to make a profit, and the bottom line is priority. Landlords will need to weigh up the benefits of using AI to lessen their workloads with the potential downfalls of relying on automated bots to handle customer service.
These downfalls can be significant. Research commissioned by AnswerConnect found that a resounding 84% of tenants would prefer to speak to a real person rather than an automated bot. Furthermore, tenants have little patience for customer service that they perceive as poor quality; almost a third of respondents claimed that they would seek an alternative solution after a negative first experience with their landlord. The stakes are high for landlords in an already challenging financial climate.
What if there was another solution? A middle ground which would allow landlords to save resources, while fulfilling customers’ need for human connection? Virtual receptionist services are well-placed to fill the gap – combining the benefits of modern technology with the crucial human connection needed to deliver great service. The result is peace of mind for landlords and letting agencies and the assurance that their clients are being well-cared for, while saving them crucial time and resources.
Done right, outsourcing can be beneficial to businesses looking to maximise their productivity. The use of a call handling service is significantly less costly than hiring a full-time member of staff to handle receptionist duties. However, it still allows businesses to keep customer service at the front and centre of their operations, which will pay dividends in the long run.