Since the early days of banking, technology has come a long way. Paperwork is finally going digital, and most financial institutions have turned to mobile apps for a new way to serve their clients.
But even amidst the shift to the internet, most financial centers are still failing to cater to one part of the experience: scheduling appointments.
That’s right. If your clients are still picking up the phone, dialling in, waiting in line for hours to get through to a representative just to book a quick appointment, you’re wasting their precious time when people are no longer content to just wait.
Money is the number one cause of stress among Americans, ranking higher than relationships or work. You don’t want to give customers another reason to avoid coming in for a much-needed financial consultation.
Modern appointment booking technology, such as a schedule builder, will help you and your clients connect faster and encourage them to book an appointment today.
A Brief History of Scheduling Bank Appointments
As long as money has existed, banks have been around to manage finances. Ancient Assyrian, Greek, and Roman banks based out of places of worship granted loans of grain to farmers and traders as they travelled through the land, and handled deposits and currency exchange.
In the early days, no real structure existed for bank appointments. Especially at the very beginning, there were few enough merchants and traders that getting served wasn’t much of a problem.
It wasn’t until the 17th century onward that banking became a staple of the economy for most folks. By the time communications advanced to the telephone, people could finally make appointments by phone. Only around that time did the concept of an appointment calendar emerge within financial institutions.
Today, how easy it is for you to make an appointment depends on what bank you’re visiting. While some banks are still stuck on calling to book a time, others have switched over to a schedule builder that’s much more customized to suit client needs.
Why You Should Let Customers Schedule Their Own Appointments
Does anyone enjoy scheduling appointments?
Most customers certainly don’t. Calling into a financial institution to make time to talk about their finances is boring at best and intimidating at worst.
Thankfully, there’s a better way. Online appointment systems display a clear list of your availability, letting customers pick from their side without having to pick up the phone for a phone call.
Instead of making time to call ahead, they can view a booking calendar, book time within moments, and make time for whatever matters to them - whether it’s work, getting groceries, or spending time with their family.
Online bookings don’t just pay dividends for customers. When customers make appointments and maintain them from their end, they’re able to cancel just as easily as they booked in the first place, drastically lowering the rate of no-shows. Banks can:
- Save money. Service more customers and stay on top of business.
- Save time. No more wasting time scheduling no-shows. Your tellers and customer service reps focus on what really matters: the clients who’ve already shown up.
- Stay flexible. Accommodate customers according to their needs so they can access your services, book an appointment or cancel anytime, anywhere.
If you’ve been looking for a way to boost productivity at your financial institution, a schedule maker is an excellent way to streamline services and improve customer experience.
Tips and Strategies for Scheduling Appointments
How complicated can scheduling be? All you have to do is talk to your customer, jot down a time and location, and everything should fall into place. Right?
There’s a right and a wrong way to schedule. You need to show your clients that you value their time, and make sure they’re not waiting around to receive service in the lobby after a long day at work.
Below you’ll find some best practices for helping your customers get the most out of their appointments.
Investing in better customer management tools or a scheduling helper can up your service game and encourage clients to come back for more assistance down the road. A queue management system like Skiplino can improve customer experience and shorten on-site lines.
Types of Bank Appointment Schedulers
Now that you understand the best practices for planning appointments, it’s time to take a look at the different categories of bank appointment schedulers available to you. There are 3 main types of schedule maker:
- General schedule builder: Even when a scheduling tool isn’t designed specifically for banks, financial institutions can still make use of their functionality. In some cases, the broader functionality is even more helpful.
- Financial scheduling organizer: This type of scheduling software is designed for financial advisors, banks, and other financial organizations. Usually, these are created with larger organizations in mind.
- Accounting scheduling coordinator: Accountants and other tax professionals sometimes need specific functions surrounding reporting metrics, documentation, and more flexible scheduling. While some of the scheduling tools for accountants are specifically crafted for smaller organizations or individuals, this is not always the case.
Here are some things to consider when picking a scheduler organizer:
- Business size
- Pricing plans
- Key features
- Implementation difficulty
- Tasks, to-dos, dates
- Automatic reminders
- Documentation and forms
- Metrics reporting
Booking a bank appointment doesn’t have to be a struggle. With the right tool, you can make the experience breezier than ever for your customers.
4 Problems With Traditional Bank Appointments
Compared to the functionality of a schedule builder, traditional financial appointment booking is a pain for both you and your clients. Here are four problems with traditional bank appointments that make the case for rethinking your banking approach.
- Wastes Your Money
- Wastes Your Time
- No Personalization
- Difficult Cancellations
Problem 1: Wastes Your Money
This may seem a little counterintuitive. How can a customer’s wait end up costing you money?
Using an online scheduling coordinator saves businesses $3.2 billion. It seems like a shocking amount of money, but it’s all about eliminating inefficiencies.
Being able to schedule appointments faster, with less customer friction, leads to:
- Better customer retention rate. Satisfied customers will come back more, which means less effort spent acquiring and retaining new clients.
- More time for more customers. When your staff spends less time planning out appointments, you’ll be able to service more customers. Your bank becomes more efficient in the long run.
- No waste on no-shows. Racking up no-shows ends up being a waste for whoever is planning these meetings in your organization. Simply outsourcing the scheduling to a booking calendar saves you those resources.
Saving money on all these fronts means you’re spending more resources on customers’ issues that are actually important. You don’t want to waste money on aspects of your business that won’t end up earning you any returns.
Problem 2: Wastes Your Time
Your employees’ time is valuable.
Banks only have so many hours a day to serve their clients. Spending your employees’ time wrangling customers when you could instead focus on making their experience with you better isn’t a good use of their days.
Traditional scheduling means spending hours on the phone with clients, trying to fit them into the already-booked hours over the course of the next few weeks. You can only field booking calls within forty hours of a workweek, limiting the time when customers are able to make appointments in the first place.
It’s a tiring occupation that no employee who works at a bank truly wants to deal with. Even the tellers at the front desk have better things to do:
- Answer customers’ questions
- Deliver financial advice
- Complete account transactions
Basically, everything concerning actually working on financial duties instead of worrying about talking on the phone.
Your average financial advisor already spends 26.7 hours a week on client-facing activities, including six hours of follow-through for clients they’ve already interfaced with. Even if they don’t have to directly schedule meetings, following up manually isn’t an efficient use of their time. And that’s not even getting started on the employees in investment banking or other highly intense positions in the financial industry.
Making use of a schedule builder tool may help streamline your organization from top to bottom. Tellers have more time to interface with customers already at the bank, financial advisors have more hours to spare guiding people to accomplish their financial goals, and people can schedule meetings whenever they want through an online portal instead of having to wait to book during work hours. Plus, scheduling tools often include a room scheduler app so employees can even plan internal meetings without going back and forth through email.
Saving time with a scheduling organizer is about more than saving money. It’s about providing your employees with the peace of mind to tend to customer service in far more tangible ways than just planning out meetings.
Problem 3: No Personalization
When serving customers in the financial industry, there are three things to keep in mind about them:
- They’re probably worried about money.
- They most likely don’t understand their finances.
- Showing up at a bank is an inherently stressful experience.
Your clients are probably already struggling to gather up the motivation to show up. Why force them to take the extra step of phoning in for an appointment?
What’s more, the current experience of booking via phone call leaves much to be desired in terms of personalization. While there are standard protocols for representatives, it’s almost impossible to standardize the customer experience across different scheduling calls.
Why does this matter? 84% of customers say that the experience they have with a company is just as important as the absolute value of services it’s providing them. Negative customer experiences may be enough to lose a client forever.
Monitoring customer reps extra carefully will only turn into micro-managing. You need something more streamlined (and effective) than just doubling down on managing your staff.
When the appointment booking experience is shoddily designed, customers wind up feeling neglected. If they’re already feeling intimidated thinking about their finances, having to go back and forth scheduling appointments over a phone call won’t help them.
Almost every schedule builder offers customization options, including brand colors, logo, custom messages, and automated alarms and alerts for upcoming appointments.
They let customers book from the safety of their own homes at any time of the day without having to plan a special time to call up the bank. The best tools let you book from any device or browser, and integrate easily into their calendars as well.
Not having to interface with a person at the first step can eliminate some of the anxiety built into having to visit a financial institution and talk about their monetary situation.
If bank staff is using a scheduling organizer efficiently, they’ll gain the bandwidth to give customers the attention they need.
Dealing with money is still scary, and you never want customers to feel neglected. Making their appointment booking experience as easy as possible encourages them to attend to their financial goals and finally own their financials. Who knows, maybe they’ll be excited about their return appointment.
Problem 4: Difficult Cancellation
Booking an appointment over the phone is challenging enough for most customers. Can you imagine how stressful it is to have to pick up the phone to cancel as well?
At that point, most customers won’t even bother. They’ll push the matter from their mind. When the time rolls around for their appointment, they won’t show up.
Your bank will end up wasting the resources you used to schedule that appointment, plus have to scramble to fill that wasted time.
In the U.S. healthcare system, no-shows cost hospitals over $150 billion every year. You can imagine how that stacks up in other industries as well. Dealing with the cancellation problem effectively also stacks up, and will end up saving you tons of money.
How can an online appointment calendar prevent no-shows?
First of all, booking appointments online is a completely different experience from booking through a phone call. Clients are able to match their availability to a calendar display, tap through, fill out a quick form, and call it a day within minutes.
When all that is said and done, you can automate your system to send out a quick follow-up confirmation email, complete with instructions on what to do about rescheduling or cancelling.
If something does come up, your customer knows exactly what to do. A few quick taps on their phone and they’ve freed up the time on your calendar. Your bank will receive the notification as soon as they finish on their side, and be able to respond in real-time. It’s a stress-free cancellation experience that will only encourage them to actually show up next time when they’re available.
An online schedule builder means no more worrying about no-shows. Focus on the clients in front of you and deliver the best service you can, because you won’t be losing additional money on people who don’t show up.
Solutions Provided by Online Schedule Builder
Hopefully, at this point, you understand the benefits of investing in a scheduling helper tool.
How does an online scheduler organizer compare to traditional bank appointment scheduling?
Online Schedule Builder
No, too many resources spent scheduling
Yes, less customer friction
Save Employee Time
No, time wasted on calling, following up
Yes, everything automated
Yes (e.g. branding, logo, messages, reminders, alerts)
Difficult, may result in no-shows
Easy, banks are alerted to cancellations in real-time.
Investing in a quality online schedule builder may seem like a cost upfront, but when used right it will save you money in the long run.
The best scheduling tool is one that helps you optimize service to customers and employee performance all at once. Take into mind the problems and solutions outlined above, and you should be able to find a great one that suits your business.
Find out how to improve your scheduling today. Try out a 7-day free trial of Skiplino here.