Apartments.com Launches Live Chat to Provide Apartment Hunters With Instant Access to the Leasing Office; Apartment Communities Using Live Chat Increases Renter Activity By 20%
CHICAGO (October 26, 2010) – Many American consumers researching products and services online prefer to have a live chat option. Nearly 45 percent of U.S. online consumers say having their questions answered by a live person while they are in the process of shopping online is one of the most important features of a website, according to Forrester Research.(1) In response to this demand, Apartments.com is the first rental website to launch “Live Chat” for its advertisers. By providing apartment shoppers with a new and easy way to connect with the leasing office during their apartment search, Apartments.com advertisers are benefitting from significant growth in renter activity. During a trial period, apartment communities using “Live Chat” experienced an overall increase of 20 percent in renter interactions without unfavorably impacting email and phone activity.
“We are booking appointments with renters faster through Apartments.com Live Chat than the phone,” said John Slattery, assistant director of marketing at Weinstein Properties. “Prospective renters want instant access to the leasing office during their apartment search and Live Chat makes this possible. The days of renters submitting online guest cards and waiting for an email response are becoming a thing of the past.”
Functioning similar to common “instant messaging” programs, “Live Chat” enables prospective renters to connect with the leasing office directly from the Apartments.com listing to ask questions, confirm availability and set up appointments for apartment community tours.
“Live Chat is helping us attract highly interested prospective renters,” said Melanie Stiles, vice president of training and marketing at Milestone Management. “Now that renters can initiate a live chat with our leasing staff, we can ‘connect‘ with them faster and do a better job matching their needs immediately. Today’s prospective residents want answers to questions very quickly and Live Chat has allowed us an avenue to meet the needs of these ‘face-paced’ prospects.”
While many renters are choosing to contact the leasing office through “Live Chat” on Apartments.com, this new method of communicating is not replacing the number of phone calls and emails being received by the apartment community. Instead, Vice President of Product Management at Apartments.com, Chris Brown, believes “Live Chat” is encouraging a new kind of conversation between the renter and apartment community that otherwise might not have occurred.
“Renters who are talking to the leasing office using Live Chat want a different experience,” says Brown. “In the past, this renter may have decided against contacting the leasing office because they felt reluctant to pick up the phone or send an email. Faced with this new real-time communication option to get their questions answered in a manner they prefer, we are able to send additional renters to the communities advertising on our site.”
“Live Chat” is now available to Apartments.com advertisers by opting-in to this feature at no additional cost. Apartments.com advertisers interested in activating “Live Chat” on their listings can contact their local advertising consultant or Apartments.com at (888) 658-RENT or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
1. Forrester Research, Inc. 2010