UDR Cuts Operational Costs with AI Technology: A Case Study

UDR plans to reduce call center services costs by 65% using AI-powered ACE™ Virtual Leasing Assistant.
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Cost Savings Without Sacrificing Experience

UDR, Inc. (“UDR” or the “Company”), a leading apartment REIT, has seen significant cost savings and increased prospect conversions since implementing ACE™ Virtual Leasing Assistant from LeaseHawk. According to Scott Wesson, UDR’s Chief Digital Officer, “By implementing ACE, UDR is on track to reducing its operating expense for managing calls by 65%.”

ACE, the AI-powered virtual leasing assistant from LeaseHawk, currently supports over 165 UDR properties nationwide. It is the only comprehensive AI solution that instantly engages and nurtures renters with a human-like touch across all communication channels: voice, text, and chat, 24/7. UDR, known as an early adopter of multifamily technology, continues to flex its innovative muscles by utilizing ACE as its front-line to answer calls instead of a leasing office or call center.

The switch is saving renters’ time because they no longer must wait on hold or leave voicemails. Plus, they have reported a more enjoyable experience from ACE’s rapid and effective responses, providing answers to the information they seek, helping to reduce contact-to-lease time when it matters most.

Wesson notes, “The ability to custom tailor ACE’s responses to our UDR-branded voice and specs has improved our engagement metrics beyond the standard industry performance and what renters have become accustomed to expecting.”

Increased Leasing Velocity

Since implementing ACE, UDR has seen the time between initial contact and application approval improve by over 13%. This faster conversion time has helped reduce the days units are vacant between leases resulting in increased occupancy and asset yield.

13% Fast Conversion Time from Contact to Application - ACE reduced the days that unit are vacant between leases (2.75 days with ACE vs. 3.17 days without ACE) resulting in increased occupancy and revenue yield.

ACE has answered nearly 240,000 questions for UDR prospects and renters across more than 130,000 conversations, collected nearly 50,000 guest cards (a 37% conversation to guest card conversion rate), and scheduled approximately 12,600 tours (a 25% guest card to tour conversion rate).

Customized, Cost-Effective Leasing Office Scheduling

Many apartment operators continue to face hiring challenges for skillful onsite personnel. Those working in leasing offices are tasked with many things beyond answering prospects’ most basic questions such as unit availability, scheduling touring times, and learning about policies such as pet accommodations or floorplan options.

While UDR has changed the roles of its onsite personnel for higher effectiveness, UDR is not immune to hiring challenges; ACE has allowed the Company to identify additional areas for improved staffing and scheduling. Wesson notes, “Since ACE can effectively address many renters’ inquiries, we recognized an opportunity to utilize ACE to handle our renter interactions more broadly.”

Wesson says, “We now use ACE to answer the majority of inbound prospect and resident calls. This allows leasing staff to have greater scheduling freedom, which has become a competitive edge to attracting talent.”

ACE Communications by Time of Day - For UDR, the highest volume of calls handled by ACE occurs between 10 am and 3 pm. The least volume of calls occurs during after-hours between 6 pm and 7 pm.

Understanding its peak prospect interaction times, UDR communities can create customizable, efficient, and cost-effective schedules. This has become a recruiting tool for the Company, as it demonstrates UDR’s ability to create work-life balance.

AI that Brings Quality, Not Just Quantity

UDR’s leasing funnel has also benefited from ACE, helping to generate higher quality leads and increased self-qualification. Wesson adds, “Prospects that interact with ACE tour our communities at a higher rate than non-ACE leads.” Data collected by UDR shows that prospects who interact with ACE show for tours at a rate of 30%, 200 basis points higher than the tour rate for non-ACE leads.

7% Higher Tour Rate - ACE empowers more effective customer service. Prospects that engage with ACE have a higher tour rate (29.88%) than those that do not (27.91%).

Additionally, prospects that have conversations with ACE are approved more often than those that do not. UDR discovered that prospects who interact with ACE have a 73% approval rate compared to 59% among those who do not. This is likely a function of ACE’s effective customer service and affording prospects the ability to self-qualify before applying.

23% Higher Approval Rate - Prospects that interact with ACE are approved more often (73.1%) than those that do not (59.46%).

Overall, UDR’s implementation of ACE has contributed to cost savings and improved efficiency and prospect engagement. Wesson concludes, “ACE is delivering on its promise of reducing customer acquisition costs, cutting out the noise, empowering more effective customer self-service, and contributing to reducing vacant days.”

“ACE is delivering on its promise of reducing customer acquisition costs, cutting out the noise, empowering more effective customer self-service, and contributing to reducing vacant days.” — Scott Wesson, UDR’s Chief Digital Officer

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