Imagine you’re a millennial tenant of a gleaming new high-rise in a fashionable part of East London. How would you prefer to report a maintenance issue in your apartment? Instead of walking down to the concierge, sending an email, or even phoning, how much easier would it be to simply message the building’s resident bot?
That’s what Jones Lang Lasalle Residential, a leader among a new breed of property developers that serve the nascent build-to-rent sector in the UK, was trying to find out when they ran a pilot project with ebi.ai. We spoke to Sam Winnard, Director of Build-To-Rent Management at JLL, to find out how the pilot went.
With thousands of apartments under its management JLL is changing the rental culture by offering outstanding services and amenities in all their buildings. To maintain its growth trajectory the company has to satisfy its clients, who are the owners of the apartments it manages. It does this by keeping residents happy and occupancy rates high. Given the profile of these tenants, the management of these buildings and apartments needs to be super-efficient.
One of its propeties, One Eighty Stratford, is a set of modern one, two- and three-bedroom apartments in a 24-storey building with superb views across East London that is managed by JLL. The tenants are largely young, well-heeled professionals who work in the city. They are generally tech-savvy but time poor. As consumers, this cohort has been raised to expect great customer experiences, and they see the landlord / tenant relationship primarily as a service provider / customer one.
For both owners, tenants, and JLL’s property managers, the management of maintenance issues can be a time-consuming headache. Staff are required to talk to residents, liaise with engineers, update multiple systems, call, chase, email, and continuously update everyone, which ends up eating a lot of everyone’s time.
JLL turned to ebi.ai to help improve the speed and efficiency with which residents can report issues requiring maintenance.
ebi.ai suggested an AI chatbot that enables tenants to report maintenance issues and ask tenancy questions 24/7. The chatbot was placed on the One Eighty app and website where residents already go to order extra services. ebi.ai integrated the bot with the calendars of the maintenance engineers, to automatically offer time slots to residents that were available, with the right engineer to fix that issue.
“We want to work with proactive tech partners who will lead the way in innovation, which was a big reason why we chose ebi.ai,” explained Sam Winnard. “We were initially working with two AI solution providers but ultimately choose ebi.ai because of their ability to integrate with our app and into our systems.”
“The way the bot interacts with residents is a lot slicker that what we used before and it definitely hits out target demographic” said Sam. The key part of the bot offer is it takes less than a minute to report an issue and have an appointment booked in for a repair – watch the video: https://vimeo.com/292122739
In One Eighty Stratford, over 60% of maintenance issues are now reported through the bot (smashing the 25% target). This means that residences who can call, email or even walk into the JLL concierge downstairs prefer to use the bot when it comes to maintenance issues.
One of the key aspects of the bot’s success was the way in which the JLL scheme hosts implemented the solution. Scheme host Keziah Reach “created a new culture” with the bot said Sam, “that is something we want to be able to replicate in other parts of the portfolio.” Keziah explained “the chatbot is revolutionising the way we handle repairs” as it reduced the manual tasks that she was required to do, freeing up time to spend on value-adding initiatives.
Henry Jinman, Commercial Director at ebi.ai summed up the experience of working with JLL. “JLL are a fantastic team, an innovation-led company and dedicated to efficiently managing their clients’ properties. These are the kind of partners we love to work with.”
“Because the bot takes on more routine tasks like maintenance requests and contract information, it frees up our property managers to concentrate on the overall service and maintenance of the building, providing a better experience for tenants.”
Sam Winnard | Director of Build to Rent Management, JLL