How Automation is Transforming Commercial Real Estate by KP Reddy
Turner Levison | May 30, 2019
Technology has been bulldozing work as we know it, for better or worse, for decades–leaving commercial real estate largely untouched…until now. Real estate is faced with a new level of disruption with the onset of everything from blockchain and 3D-printers to robotics and automation.
We’ve all seen the fear mongering news stories about how robots are out to steal your job. Whether you are just starting out or 20 years into your career, technology will drastically reshape how you work. The hidden truth is there are just as many benefits as downfalls to automation in our industry. Let’s take a more measured look at four areas where automation is transforming the daily business of real estate:
Back Office Logistics
Decreased demand for support staff is one of the most immediate changes for agents, developers, and brokers. It used to be that every real estate executive needed a full-time admin setting appointments, pulling data, designing and printing PDFs for a book, etc.
Now, Calendly makes appointment setting a breeze. Companies like CommissionTrac, which automates commission management, eliminate the need for spreadsheet management. Canva makes it easy for anyone to become a designer. This trend shows no signs of stopping. In this environment of synced digital tools, do you really need an executive assistant? Do you need analysts and admins, when data is available at your fingertips?
Customer Relationship Management
While we’re asking questions: Do you know anyone running around with a rolodex? I’d guess (and hope!) not. Customer relationship management is a fancy term for the human-to-human communication that’s the cornerstone of all business relationships. Commercial real estate has seen slight adoption of automated CRMs: tools like SalesForce or HubSpot are prevalent and help automate emails to prospects and customers.
However, it’s still an intensive manual process to write and schedule those campaigns. We’ll soon see this functionality evolve to AI chatbots or email responders handling basic correspondence. The technology already exists to detect who each email is coming from, parse the message for topics, and send back pertinent information. A simple example:
Customer email: “Hey David, when does my lease expire?”
Broker chatbot, writing on your behalf: “Hey Jen, your lease expires in three months. Let’s set a meeting to discuss your renewal. Here’s a link with my availability.”