CHICAGO, IL - Many American consumers want to have a live chat option when researching products and services online. 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," providing apartment shoppers with a new and easy way to connect with the leasing office during their apartment search.
Americans spend a collective total of about 160 million hours per month instant messaging, according to recent research from Nielsen(2). Functioning similar to popular "instant messaging" programs, "Live Chat" enables renters to quickly connect with the leasing office directly from the Apartments.com listing to ask questions, confirm availability and set up appointments to tour apartments and the community. Initiating a "Live Chat" with the leasing office also helps renters narrow down their search to places that truly meet their needs by getting their questions answered immediately through an effortless online exchange.
"Communication preferences vary," says Chris Brown, vice president of product management at Apartments.com. "Renters who are talking to the leasing office using Live Chat want a different experience. In the past, this type of 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, more of our users are connecting with the leasing offices of apartments listed on our site."
While many renters are choosing to contact the apartment leasing staff 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 leasing office. During a trial period, Apartments.com advertisers using "Live Chat" experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of renters contacting the leasing office without unfavorably impacting email and phone activity.
Apartments.com is a leading national apartment Internet listing subscription service with more than 50,000 unique addresses representing more than three million rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties. With personalized searches, highly visual ads featuring "Walkthrough Video," "Apartments.com Anywhere" mobile solutions, 360-degree virtual tours, professional photography and comprehensive community listings, Apartments.com makes it possible for renters to access apartment rental inventory from across town or across the country. Leads from highly qualified ready-to-rent prospects are delivered to Apartments.com customers, increasing closure rates and decreasing the average cost of leasing an apartment. The website's foundation of solid partnerships with more than 1,000 newspaper affiliate and strategic partners across the country include Yahoo! Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, Univision, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Apartments.com is a division of Chicago-based Classified Ventures, LLC. The Apartments.com network of apartment rental websites includes Apartment Home Living, a leading social media apartment website distinguished by a "live for fun" community experience, proprietary lifestyle matching and local living guides to help renters find their perfect place to live.