Multifamily Leasing Insights: A Marketing Blog

Leasing Chat for Yardi Chat IQ

Leasing Chat for Yardi Chat IQ

Yardi Chat IQ is an ‘AI’ powered chatbot provided as an add-on to Yardi’s Rentcafe packages. It’s a live chat system powered by Olark chat, and integrated into the Yardi backend dashboard. It’s designed to show up at the bottom of property websites alongside the other ‘concierge’ buttons.

Yardi Chat IQ was introduced in 2020 and has experienced some minor changes in that time, but Yardi is also working on a newer AI based system that also offers a chat component, called Yardi Virtuoso. You can read our review of Yardi Virtuoso here, and you can read how Leasing Chat helps with Yardi Virtuoso here.

The purpose of this blog post is to compare, from both a high level and a detailed level, the functions Yardi Chat IQ offers, how it can be used to support Leasing, and how Leasing Chat can help manage your Yardi Chat IQ installations, and serve your prospects and residents.

The takeaways from this article won’t all be specific to Yardi Chat IQ, they can also be applied to other AI based chatbot technologies. This will also be applicable to chatbot considerations across other industries, but of course we will be focused on applications within the Multifamily Industry here.

Yardi RentCafe Chat IQ - A Quick Overview

RentCafe Chat IQ is part of the Yardi CRM IQ package and is designed to feed prospects and customers into the Yardi CRM database. What’s different about Yardi’s Chat IQ compared to other AI chat systems for multifamily is Yardi’s Chat IQ is built to direct users to Yardi support specialists. It’s essentially a limited function chatbot, that Yardi uses to up-sell customers to a Yardi Support package.

Yardi Chat IQ - The Bad

What many properties don’t realize when adding Chat IQ to their pages is that it takes time and effort to set up the chat system, attend it, and manage it correctly. Properties that ‘turn on’ the chatbot and let it sit end up with many unsatisfactory interactions with customers. The bot needs to be extensively trained to manage high probability questions, and hand-off to live support needs to be integrated so customers have the option of speaking to a real human to support them.

Leasing Chat & Yardi Chat IQ

Leasing Chat is a Live Chat Leasing Support Service, offering live Leasing Consultants to assist prospects on property websites and other online channels. Leasing Chat works with many chat platforms, but we specialize in Yardi Chat IQ.

The Biggest Problems with Yardi Chat IQ:

Purchasing Yardi Chat IQ from Yardi and adding it to your property pages is only the start of an effective Chatbot and Live Chat solution. It’s easy to turn it on, and it’s easy to let it run - but it is NOT easy to get it serving prospects well.

“People hate the bot!” - Property Offices

We hear this all the time. Prospects and residents call and email the property office expressing their frustrations with the Yardi Chat IQ bot. They have been attempting to self-service their needs, but have not been getting the information they need, or have been getting bounced back and forth between automated prompts. Yardi Chat IQ can be VERY frustrating if it’s not managed well.

A note beforehand. We have blurred the property names and agent names on the following screenshots. This article is not meant to comment on the decisions a specific property office has made. All properties have the same goal, to maximize occupancy, NOI, and resident satisfaction.


Common Yardi Chat IQ Interactions:

The scope of Yardi’s default Chatbot capabilities is very low. In the following screenshots you will see 3 different interactions, with 3 different properties, all of which fail. Afterwards, we will discuss how these interactions could (and should!) be handled.

Application Question:

A prospect is on the property website and looking to get an update on the status of their application. When asking the bot, it clearly does not understand, nor does it have the capability within Yardi CRM to supply an answer. The prospect is met with frustrating answers from the bot and given 2 options that are completely un-applicable to the intent at hand. This is a very frustrating situation for the prospect.

Speak to a Leasing Agent:

One thing Yardi Chat IQ is good at is making it clear to prospects and users that it is in-fact a bot. It clearly states it is a bot, and welcomes the user as a bot. This is actually a good thing, because it allows the prospect to make a decision about the service they want right from the outset of the conversation.

Prospects will often ask to speak to a real person right away. This is common not just in live-chat on a website, but think about calling into an automated phone answering service — the first thing a customer wants to do is dial ‘0’ to get to support and speak to someone. No one wants to go through the automated pathways and spend their time interacting with a bot. It’s the same with Live Chat.

**Note: ** “Other question” is a button option that Yardi Chat IQ provides upon first opening.

When the customer in this case requests to talk to a customer support person, Yardi Chat IQ does recogonize this request, but 95% of the time (for most properties) there is no one there to transfer the chat to - and thus the customer is left hanging.

This is where Leasing Chat Can Help!

Anything But The Basics:

If you want to get a link to the Floorplans page, or a link to the Application page, or a link to the Contact page - the Yardi Chat IQ chatbot can help you. But if the customer has even the most basic of questions beyond that, they will be left frustrated.

Note: “Apply Online” is a button option that Yardi Chat IQ provides upon first opening.

This user simply wanted some details about the application process with roommates. A live support Leasing Consultant could have answered this question very easily.

This is where Leasing Chat Can Help!

How to Use Yardi Chat IQ the Right Way:

It’s very simple. Yardi Chat IQ is build and designed around allowing conversations to be handed off to a live support team. There are 3 ways this can be done.

  1. You can have Leasing Agents at your properties manage the live chat support. This if fraught with many issues and in our experience does not work out well in most cases.

  2. You can hire Yardi’s support team to manage the live chat support for you. This is expensive and can pigeonhole you into being stuck deeper in the Yardi ecosystem. Yardi’s in house call center support team is also limited in the amount of questions they can answer, and the ways they can serve a particular property. This is because they are working for many different management companies at the same time, and limit the information they store in house to what is built into Yardi’s system. This leads to impersonal interactions and often still leaves customers with unanswered questions.

  3. You can contract Leasing Chat to manage the live chat support for you. We provide a higher quality service than Yardi, we are more dedicated to the customer outcomes than Yardi, and we will work with you and your properties to build the best possible outcome and fit the needs of each property we represent.

Conclusions:

It’s difficult to navigate the live chat options in the multifamily space. There are seemingly new services and features available every week. No matter what tools you use, and how you decide to use them - the focus should ALWAYS be on the customer experience. If you are leaving even a small percentage of your prospects with a frustrating experience, you a putting your properties at a disadvantage. And let’s face it - the market is more competitive now than ever, and these things matter.

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