Plenty of people in the real estate technology world will tell you about the growing importance of chatbots and automation, but very few will talk about the still-critical selling point of customer empathy. Empathizing with your customer as a human being is a skill chatbots lack (at least for now) and it is one of this tool’s primary selling points.
Enter Riley, the first 100% human powered lead qualification service that operates 24/7 via text-message.
Leads are funneled into their system and contacted by actual people, called Riley Concierges, who are paid contractors. They text your leads, regardless of source, within two minutes. The ensuing conversation typically has two effects: it gathers information about the potential client for the agent, and it builds up client trust through a real-life conversation.
It is a remarkable concept in an industry that seems to be automating everything. Riley CEO and co-founder Daniel Ahmadizadeh arrived at the idea while in the midst of an apartment search. Exhausted by the process, he decided to try and build an alternative:
“I was tired of browsing website and downloading apps, and I thought it would easier if I could just text to find an apartment. I created a site called ‘Text Riley’, which was a phone number you could text to find your next home.”
While the tool grew in popularity, Daniel realized it would act much better as a lead qualification tool for agents rather than a customer-facing product. Daniel found that agents need to buy into three things to be convinced of Riley’s effectiveness:
- A higher engagement rate than other tools.
- Proof the conversation element is helpful and insightful.
- An easy way to integrate Riley into their workflow.
So far, these haven’t proven to be significant hurdles. Since launching the agent-facing version of the app in March 2016, its userbase has grown 2x each month. In January alone, they handled 96,000+ conversations and are projected to handle 200,000 leads in February. The company is currently based in Mountain View, as they are a part of the revered Y Combinator program.
Daniel said his team is committed to transparency and iterating based on agent feedback, which is reflected in their monthly “What Sucks About Riley” sessions, held on Facebook Live. Agents use these sessions to register complaints or pitch new features, which is what led to Riley’s latest analytics tool.
Analytics allow users to track success rates and iterate on their scripts. It can also help concierges choose which script to use depending on where a lead comes from. Agents that sign up have total control of the process, designing the scripts the concierges use and jumping into the conversation whenever they feel it is best.
Average Engagement: 51.7%
“I’ve been using Riley since August 2016. Being that I was leaping into my own paid internet lead generation marketing, I wanted to make sure systems were tight so I decided to pair Riley with Follow Up Boss, a lead generation CRM that automatically imported the entire Riley dialogue into CRM notes for ease of reference! Riley has default scripts to follow that have been tried and tested by some of the best agents in the industry. The engagement with leads helped narrow the callback questions and enable a more “warmer” intro.”
Average Engagement: 50%
“I like Riley. I will say that I probably haven’t used it to its full potential. The biggest value add for me at this point is Riley allows me peace of mind when inbound leads come in during times that I’m not available. I do know that when legitimate leads come in, Riley is able to convert into appointments. One useful aspect that Riley could develop will be lead follow up over a 3-week period. Sometimes it’s hard to convert on the first interaction, but the follow up is where ROI dramatically increases.”
We will be offering Riley to our agents and looking into how we can utilize this technology on a brokerage-level. Stay tuned for more!