There’s nothing more vital to a superior customer experience than great communication. This is especially true when external factors outside the direct control of the experience provider have a strong influence on customers. If you’re a CRE provider, congratulations! That’s you. Traffic jams, transit disruptions, restaurant openings/closings, city utility work, weather, neighborhood construction, and any number of other outside forces impact your building occupants every day. The more effectively you keep your customers informed, the better they’ll feel about working in your building. Enter customer service chatbots.

This is one reason why automated chat and messaging platforms (“conversational interfaces” or simply “chatbots” would be the more technical terms) are becoming so widespread. Chatbots like Siri and Alexa have been around in our personal lives for a while. And we are starting to see them everywhere in our professional lives as well. If you’ve had a hard time so far understanding what chatbots mean for CRE, here are a few use cases for your building. 

Neighborhood Information

Imagine the following automated messages a customer service chatbot might send to your occupants about things going on near the building: 

  • “Hi Phil, sorry to tell you this, but there’s a 20-minute delay on the Fitchburg line this afternoon.” (Pretty much evergreen, unfortunately!) 
  • “Looking to try a new place for lunch today? Shake Shack just opened near your building.” 
  • “Happy National Donut Day, Phil! Celebrate by checking out one of these: 
    • Kane’s Donuts, 4.9 stars, 0.3 miles away 
    • Union Square Donuts, 4.7 stars, 0.5 miles away 
    • Dunkin’ Donuts, 4.2 stars, 0.1 miles away” 

Important Notifications

Sometimes there are things you just need to know at the right moment: 

  • “Hey, Phil, there’s a severe thunderstorm warning in your area for the next 30 minutes. Be careful!” 
  • “Hi Phil, your work order request about it being too cold in the office is all set. Let us know how we did: 1 – Terrible 5 – Excellent” (The team at Building Engines HQ always warrants a 5-star rating.) 
  • “What’s up, Phil? The security desk just checked in Nicole Kidman to see you.” (You never know, it could happen!) 

Building Requests

CRE customer service chatbots like Bengie increase tenant satisfaction

The very best part about chatbots is that they’re two-way without involving a person on the management team responding to each and every message. For example: 

  • Service request 
    • Phil: “Hi I noticed there was a spill in the lobby, it needs to be cleaned up.” 
    • Bengie the Building Engines chatbot: “Thanks for letting me know! We’ll take care of this cleaning issue and let you know when it’s done.” 
  • Venue scheduling 
    • Phil: We’d like to host an event next Friday from 6pm—10pm. Is the terrace space available? 
    • Bengie: “Great news, Phil! The Terrace is available. Shall I book it for you?” 
  • Guest registration 
    • Phil: “I have a few people coming to visit tomorrow at 3:00pm: John Adams, Paul Revere, George Washington, and Ben Franklin. 
    • Bengie: “No problem, Phil. I’ve put John, Paul, George, and Ben on the visitor list.” 

Customer Service Chatbots Make Life Easier

Chatbots make many simple customer service tasks easier for users: checking bank accounts, booking flights, and ordering food. Building Engines has applied this simplicity to CRE with Bengie. Chatbots are already improving the tenant experience in the CRE industry—the examples above are just the beginning. If you’re interested in finding out more about what’s in store for the CRE industry, download Building Engines’ report: The State of Commercial Real Estate Building Operations for 2022.