February 16 2023

Clunky AI solutions are where good renter experiences go to die. 

Powerful and dynamic solutions give operators a competitive advantage in a down market with a 196% faster response rate handling up to 94% of inbound leads.

In the face of macroeconomic headwinds facing the multifamily industry including declining demand, declining rents, and labor instability, a robust conversational AI solution can help teams do more with less and effectively nurture every. single. lead. Renters demand modern, streamlined, “ecommerce” customer experiences when choosing their next home and conversational AI fulfills their need for instant, personalized information. 

In this article we’ll go over what conversational AI is, the benefits it can provide multifamily leaders.

What is “conversational AI?”

Specifically, Conversational AI is artificial intelligence that strives to communicate in a more natural and intuitive manner. Conversational AI isn’t a new “marketing spin” on the same ’ol AI solution. Conversational AI is built with something called “conversational design,” which uses human conversation patterns to design more natural digital interactions. 

Specifically, conversational AI is a new type of artificial intelligence that enables AI solutions to communicate in a more natural intuitive manner. This technology uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to understand questions from prospective renters and respond to those requests in an intelligent manner that mimics human conversation. 

NLP is used to analyze the text and speech inputs from prospective renters to understand the intent behind the requests, and respond accordingly. Machine learning is used to improve the system’s accuracy and responsiveness. 

For example, NLP can understand that a prospective renter is asking about the pet policy, and if their specific dog breed is on your community’s breed restrictions list. Machine learning ensures that these responses get better over time. 

Principles of human interaction = key pillars of conversational AI

The key to designing interactions between a conversational AI solution and a prospective renter that feels human-like is to follow the core principles of human interactions and conversations. Below are key pillars that the Funnel team built into our conversational AI solution. 

Polite + cooperative

By polite we mean, anticipating users’ needs, offering choices, and being respectful of time. Cooperative means actively supporting the prospective renter, and reducing the effort required from the renter to engage with the system. We all know as customers of our favorite apps, that less is more, and intuitive solutions win. That’s why in our product, we want to give renters what they want, when they want it. 


Have a clear understanding of renters’ goals and needs at all times. Did the prospective renter need a two-bedroom apartment or a studio? Understanding the kind of home an inquiring renter is looking for, their move-in timeline, and their budget are the basics that are needed to determine unit availability.


Get a hint and be responsive to contextual cues. The more responsive a solution is, the more natural the conversation will feel. For example, if a renter JUST reached out to your community, sending that renter the next great-American novel about EVERYTHING they could possibly know about your community isn’t necessarily helpful, it’s overwhelming. Providing more general information, asking for details gradually, and then revealing more detailed information where it’s relevant is a more human-like conversation to have.

Quick and clear

Reduce ambiguity, be succinct, complete interactions quickly and efficiently. Keeping the answers provided to inquiring renters clear, and concise ensures there isn’t a misunderstanding about what was said, and allows prospective renters to find their next home with greater ease. 


We’ve all been stuck in a conversation disguised as a one-sided monologue. If you’ve ever escaped from that by “going to the bathroom” you can attest that good conversations have a back-and-forth flow. A natural flow of a conversation helps each party know to take the next step. One way to do this is for the solution to prompt the prospective renter to schedule a tour if they’re interested. This allows each party to know whose turn it is next. 


Ensure a strong correlation between what the user expects and what the system offers. An AI solution needs to provide accurate, up-to-date information about your community. There is nothing more frustrating than a bait and switch, renters making one of their most emotionally financially weighty decisions, honesty one of the bare minimum qualifications for a solution to be helpful. 


Renters make mistakes, it’s not an AI solutions’ job to bully them about spelling and grammar because it “didn’t understand.” Instead strong solutions account for imperfect information or unexpected responses. For example, an inquiring renter spells their dog’s breed as “pitbul” instead of “pitbull” when sharing about their dog’s breed. An error-tolerant solution will still know what the inquiring renter meant, and be able to provide accurate information accordingly. A solution that demands perfection will provide a frustrating experience for error-prone humans. 

Benefits of conversational AI for multifamily property management companies

Like any business change, the results garnered from a particular solution need to be worth the effort of the change. For Funnel’s AI solution, which we call our Virtual Leasing Agent or VLA, the benefits to property management companies fall into the three categories below. 

#1. Consistent renter experience

Consumers expect instant access to information and answers to their questions, renting an apartment is no exception. A conversational AI solution can help multifamily property management companies create a consistent renter experience because they can ensure that every answer is prompt, accurate, and human-like. No more leaving renters on “read” or providing half-truths. Meet your prospects where they are with one consolidated tool, regardless of the communication channel. Our omnichannel VLA ensures your brand voice stays consistent across chat, sms, email, and even phone calls.

Clients using our AI solution garnered the following results: 

#2. Give teams a hand, increase efficiency, and clear handoffs 

Automating follow-up to repeatable questions, frees up onsite leasing teams to focus their time and attention on higher-value interactions with prospective renters and residents. Leasing teams are overwhelmed, and with demand softening, it’s more important than ever to convert more of the leads that do come in. That means quickly responding to and nurturing EVERY lead (even if they come in after hours).

Teams are no longer tethered to their computers, and renters are able to instantly access the information they need to move forward with their apartment shopping journey 24/7. 

When a prospective renter asks a question that the AI solution can’t answer, the AI solution flags and handoffs that individual question to the live (human) leasing team.. The AI solution doesn’t quit there, it continues to answer OTHER questions. 

Because there are clear workflows for handoffs in place, the AI solution can continue carrying on the conversation in a human-like manner. All while generating automatic tasks for follow-up in the CRM and asking the human team for a hand. These clear workflows give leasing teams the clarity they need to jump into conversations for the hard-to-answer questions. Check out the screenshot below to see how Funnel’s AI keeps the conversation going. 

AI solution that is built on Funnel's multifamily CRM product

Clients using Funnel have been able to give their teams a hand, and move prospective renters further into their apartment shopping journey. 

  • 90% more tours generated with 67% fewer leads.
  • 73% of all completed tours are booked via automation. 

#3. Improved data collection 

Because Funnel’s multifamily CRM and VLA were built to work as a team, nothing is lost in translation. Rich prospect data is captured by the VLA and added automatically to the renter’s guest card to give leasing teams the information they need.

Additionally, because of the single-guest card architecture for all of this data, property management companies can also garner greater insights for time, cost savings, and lease activity across the entire portfolio. 

Funnel customers have earned the following results

  • 86% increase in lead-to-lease conversion.
  • 4.7 hours saved per property every week.

VLA 2.0 (the thing you love just got better). 

Layered on top of the CRM trusted by multifamily leaders, Funnel’s powerful VLA engages, answers, and converts prospects into residents via email, sms, chatbot, and voice in a quick & human-like manner, even outside of office hours.

Our new and improved natural language creates a better experience for prospects and lightens the load for leasing teams.

Learn more about the changes to our Virtual Leasing Agent, by requesting a demo.