What Chatbot is Best for My Apartment Communities?

Discover three types of chat solutions and learn which one is the best fit for your multifamily properties.
January 22, 2018

Live Chat vs. Menu-Driven Chatbot vs. AI-Powered Chatbot

According to research from PSFK Labs, consumers are four times more likely to prefer using a chat box over speaking to a human. For multifamily, there are three chat solutions commonly available: live chat, menu-based chatbot, and an AI-powered chatbot.

The road to chatbot success for your properties is straight-forward. It all starts with identifying which type of chat solution is the best fit for your multifamily business. Read on to learn the pros and cons for each of the big three solutions: live chat, menu-driven chatbot, and AI-powered chatbot.

Live Chat

Live Chat

Live chat is obviously not a bot, but it does offer apartment communities an alternate communication channel. Most live chats are going to be monitored by your on-site leasing team or a call center. They can offer chat users a great experience by tailoring their responses with a human-touch. Plus, it’s much easier for your agents to help more than one renter at time with chat. They are able to have multiple chats happening simultaneously, unlike providing service over the phone where they are limited to placing residents and prospects on hold.

Chat is intended to be an on-demand communication channel, available at any time. You will have to decide if that special touch is enough to outweigh issues like lengthy response times and the cost of paying for human support 24/7/365. LeaseHawk data shows that leasing agents can take more than 1.2 days to respond to a text message.


  • Provide real human connection.
  • Able to handle more complex conversations.
  • More efficient than phone support.


  • Requires training and supervision by your leasing team.
  • Not always available 24/7.
  • Potentially long response times.
  • Most expensive option.

Menu-Driven Chatbot

Menu-Driven Chatbot

A menu-driven, or button-based, chatbot is one the most primitive forms of chatbots available. They function much like an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system for phone calls—press 1 for maintenance, press 2 for leasing, etc. Just like an IVR, a menu-driven bot offers predefined choices, then the user selects one of those choices and then continues to follow the chatbot prompts until they receive their desired information. Unlike live chat, it can provide instant answers 24/7/365 to your renters.

However, menu-driven chatbots do not use any AI (Artificial Intelligence). This impacts the ability for a user to use freeform text to ask the chatbot for assistance. It will only provide predefined answers when a user selects a predefined button from the chatbot menu. This can be very limiting if the user needs a quick answer to a specific question, as they could be led through a rabbit-hole of prompts, causing user frustration.


  • Quick response time.
  • Available 24/7/365
  • Buttons make it easier for those that do not want to type.


  • The type of leasing questions are limited.
  • Does not support freeform questions.
  • It is not easily customized.

AI-Powered Chatbot

AI-Powered Chatbot

Unlike a menu-driven chatbot, an AI-powered chatbot uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) to understand the needs of the renter, as opposed to going through a predetermined set of options and menus.

AI-powered chatbots are intelligent and if trained correctly, can provide responses based on any contextual situation. If a user asks a question beyond the bot’s ability or to purposely throw it off, this can be resolved with a simple default answer. Plus, since the chatbot uses AI, it will learn how to successfully answer that scenario in the future.

One of the greatest uses of an AI-powered chatbot is to use its technology beyond just a property website chat widget. It can provide an omni-channel experience by chatting with renters on your website, conversationally answering your leasing office’s phone calls and even sending text messages all from the same knowledge base (even if the bot gets stumped, you can always transfer out to a human).


  • Offers an omni-channel experience: chat, text and voice.
  • Human-like, conversational responses.
  • Supports freeform text queries.
  • Continuously learns new scenarios.


  • Needs a data source, such as your Property Management System (PMS).
  • Open-ended experience may not be preferred.

Our Obvious Recommendation: ACE

ACE, the virtual leasing assistant from LeaseHawk, is an AI-powered chatbot just like what is described above. It uses Google’s powerful artificial intelligence technology, known for its best-in-class natural language processing and speech synthesis. There is no other virtual leasing assistant that can understand and interpret the needs of your rental customers better.

With ACE, your leasing team is free to focus on residents and more complex tasks. It will chat with prospects on your property websites. It offers a hybrid experience of both menu prompts and freeform text, so your customers can interact any way they like. It will answer your leasing office’s phone calls. Nearly 49% of calls are missed by leasing offices, ACE will answer these calls and even help convert prospects to appointments for your leasing team. ACE makes it easier for renters to get information consistently and instantly.

Comparison Chart - ACE AI LeaseHawk

Make your operations more efficient with ACE. It is the only virtual leasing assistant with an omni-channel experience that offers chat, voice and text. Hire ACE for your properties, she’s waiting to hear from you. Call (480) 571-1339 to experience a live demo for yourself.

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