How to Pick the Best Online Scheduling Software for Your Bank or Credit Union
So you’re ready to take your appointment scheduling system online? That’s great—but now it’s time to figure out which solution works best for your financial institution.
Not all online scheduling software for banks and credit unions are created equal, so it’s important to be informed about what’s out there. This decision can have a huge impact on your customers and members, and an even bigger impact on your financial institution.
The best appointment-scheduling software should save your staff time, integrate seamlessly with existing applications, and improve management’s understanding of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis.
This handy guide covers everything you need to know about how to find the best solution for your financial institution.
What Is an Online Appointment Management System?
First, what is an online appointment management system? Isn’t that just Google Calendar or Outlook? Why do I need a separate tool just to make appointments?
An online appointment scheduling system is much more than a digital calendar and does so much more than just make appointments. Online scheduling software for banks and credit unions is an all-in-one solution that can optimize wait times, streamline scheduling, and drive overall growth and retention.
The best online appointment booking system for your financial institution is a fully-integrated tool that is easy for everyone to use.
Key features of online scheduling software for banks and credit unions include:
- Customer and Member Ability To Book Appointments Online
Whether they’re using your institution’s app, website, or another channel, customers and members can see availability, make an appointment, and find out what documentation they need to bring to their meeting in just a few steps.
- Staff Schedule Coordination
With an online appointment booking system in place, staff schedules are readily available in one big backend calendar, making it easier to book meetings quickly and efficiently.
- Management View Of Busy Times, Downtime, and Appointment Efficiency
Bank appointment scheduling software allows managers and administrators to see clearly when their branches need more or less staffing, how long appointments take on average, and where things can improve.
- Data Collection to Improve Decision-Making
The best online appointment management tools are able to collect helpful data like average wait times, conversion rates, and satisfaction scores to help make better decisions about implementing changes throughout various branches or locations.
What Are the Benefits of Online Appointments?
Online scheduling software for banks not only benefits customers and members—but also provides many advantages for staff and management. The top benefits of appointment scheduling software include:
- Improved Customer and Member Satisfaction
Did you know that 40% of appointments are booked after office hours? Because so much of our time is spent online, people want the flexibility and convenience of online appointment scheduler tools. When a financial institution provides digital solutions, customers and members are more likely to follow through with appointments and report their satisfaction.
- Increased Operational Efficiency
When customers and members have an easier time making and keeping appointments, staff and advisors can do their jobs more efficiently. Team members are able to save time booking appointments, and managers can plan ahead for busy days, and adjust staffing accordingly.
- Better Data Collection
Online appointment scheduling allows management to track events that may have seemed untrackable before. With the best appointment scheduling program, your financial institution can see average appointment lengths, conversion rates, traffic trends, and more—allowing you to make better decisions about staffing, preparation, and even marketing.
- More Growth and Retention
As mentioned before, your customers and members want online bank appointment scheduling solutions and are more satisfied when they’re able to manage their schedules digitally. This satisfaction will make clients more likely to return, and will make cross-selling and upselling more natural for your advisors. The easier it is for your teams to do business, the better outcomes your financial institution will see.
What Is the Best Online Appointment Scheduling Tool?
The best appointment scheduling software for your bank or credit union will depend on your needs and resources. First, you must determine which path is right for you: building out a tool from scratch in-house or buying a pre-made solution. Both avenues can work, but there are some key differences to keep in mind.
Building an In-House Tool
Building online scheduling software for banks and credit unions might seem like the most straightforward solution, but this path can come with a lot of complications and hiccups along the way. Here are just a few factors to mull over when considering building an in-house application.
Building a complex custom solution in-house may seem like a great way to save money, but with the resources needed, it may not turn out that way. You can usually estimate the cost of an in-house solution by multiplying the cost of an off-the-shelf tool by 10. This means a $10,000 pre-made software will typically cost $100,000 to build.
👩💻 Dedicated Resources
In order to build a custom tool, your financial institution will either need to take developers away from key projects or hire a new team of developers dedicated to this project. The software will be complex, and require a long-standing team—it’s not just a one-and-done scenario.
Ask yourself: do you have the resources to fully implement a complex tool across multiple channels, fix bugs, and send out regular code patches? An enterprise-level appointment scheduling tool will require daily maintenance, so keep that in mind when considering dedicating in-house resources to a build.
🤔 Inexperience building a tool that already exists
Even with a great team of software developers, there will be a learning curve when it comes to creating online scheduling software for banks and credit unions. An in-house team won’t have the advantage of a SaaS company that has already dedicated all of its resources to building a tool specifically for financial institutions.
🤷 Dependent on in-house team
Imagine hiring a team to build out a custom tool, and then one or more of those team members leaves your institution for a different job. First, you’ll have to hire replacement developers (which is a hassle in and of itself), and those new employees may find the existing code to be very stylized, hard to replicate, or filled with problems—while a pre-built tool is dedicated to consistency.
Integrating an in-house online appointment scheduling tool with web search and all of your institution’s apps and websites can be more time-consuming than you think. Taking on a project of this size can put your organization on a quick road to scope-creep that will lead to delays, bugs, and a lot of hair-pulling.
Buying an Existing Solution
Buying an existing tool is typically the better route, as long as you choose a solution that fits your bank or credit union’s needs. If you decide to buy an existing appointment scheduling solution, there are dozens of tools to choose from, but only a handful are designed specifically for banks, credit unions, and financial institutions.
Here are a few reasons why buying can be a better option than building, and why buying a tool created for banks and credit unions may be the best option.
🤸♀️ Unbeatable Admin Flexibility
Some generic scheduling tools are built for ease of use, but may not have deep back-end functionality. Online scheduling software for banks and credit unions give administrators full access to add new staff, service types, or locations in minutes. Plus, the best online appointment booking system will allow for full customization.
🧼 Clean, Modern User Experience
The best appointment scheduling software is designed with a clean, modern user interface that’s not only easy to use, but easy on the eyes as well. A crisp, clear user experience elevates your financial institution above the rest.
🎉 All-in-one, Seamless Solution
An end-to-end appointment scheduling platform should support and integrate with all of your financial institution’s needs including core banking, workforce management, CRMs, BI tools, and chatbots. This gives you a holistic view of the client’s journey, as well as where you can improve as an organization.
🔒 World-Class Security Standards and Policies
A lot of scheduling tools are built for industries or spaces that don’t have the same requirements or security standards as financial institutions. Buying specialized online scheduling software for banks and credit unions ensures your institution is safe and secure.
👏 Unmatched Strategic and Technical Support
SaaS companies want to win your business, and keep your business—which means you can count on both technical and strategic support when buying and implementing an existing tool.
If you’re convinced that buying an off-the-shelf solution geared towards banks and credit unions is the way to go, the next step is to do a bit of research on what’s out there.
Find out what features to look for in the best appointment scheduling software available on the market today, and how to pick the right vendor.
What Features Do The Best Appointment Scheduling Software For FI’s Have?
The best appointment scheduling software is a multi-faceted tool that improves your processes and provides crucial insights. Online scheduling software for banks and credit unions are customizable tools that have features to support customers and members, staff, advisors, administrators, and managers at every level.
Some key features to look for include appointment scheduling, data collection, queue management, and video appointments.
1. Appointment Scheduling
The best appointment scheduling software will prioritize an effective, streamlined booking experience that runs on reliable technology and offers full customization.
- Booking Flexibility
Customers and members should be able to book meetings directly from several locations online including your financial institution’s website, mobile app, and within Google search. They should also be able to schedule either in-person, over-the-phone, or video meetings with specific staff members, at specific locations.
- Reliable Tech
Appointment scheduling software should run on tech that works from any device that is connected to the internet, uses responsive layouts, and integrates in real-time with Outlook and Google calendars. It should also offer self-service customer check-in options—whether for virtual appointments or in-person.
- Streamline Appointments
A great scheduling program will also feature custom in-take questions and allow for documentation collection to better prepare clients and staff members for appointments. Look for software that includes automatic meeting reminders and confirmations, as well as outcome collection after every appointment.
Appointment scheduling should be available with multi-language support, and custom branding options across the experience. This way your bank or credit union can offer virtual booking to more people, while still featuring your recognizable brand.
2. Data, Analytics, and Admin Features
Aside from actual appointment booking, the best bank appointment scheduling software will also collect data, provide analytics, and cater to administrative needs.
- Data Collection
The best online appointment solution should be able to collect important appointment data like volume, average length, no-shows, and popular appointment types. This software will also collect branch traffic insights, conversion rates by product/service/staff member, and conversion rates across marketing campaigns.
The best appointment management tool should also provide insights into staff performance and productivity, capture customer or member NPS after interactions, and schedule and send reports through SFTP or email. With pre-built reporting templates, you can easily access all of this data and analysis.
- Easy-to-Use Backend Interfaces for Admin and Staff
On top of data collection and analytics, the best tool is easy to use and catered to admin and staff on the backend. Online scheduling software for banks and credit unions should be able to support multiple instances, brands, or lines of business, create personalized booking flows, automatically assign services to individual staff or roles, and integrate with Google Tag Manager. In addition, staff should be able to set availability by channel or location, based on their schedule.
3. Queue Management
The best appointment scheduling software will also provide solutions for queue management, like automatic next-in-line notifications and curbside service options. Customers and members should be able to use their mobile device or an in-person kiosk to join the queue, convert their place in line to an appointment (if they wish), or reschedule for another time.
Additionally, the backend staff dashboard should show who’s in line, how long they’ve waited, and signal escalation notifications (if someone has been waiting too long). Frontline staff can also add clients to the queue, and current wait times should appear on lobby TVs.
4. Video Appointments
Along with appointment scheduling, data collection, and queue management, online scheduling software for banks should provide video appointment solutions that are secure, unique link generation for each appointment, co-browsing options, integration with e-signature providers, live in-call chat, and note-taking.
The best tools will also feature perks like custom backgrounds, a browser-based experience (no third-party app download needed), screen sharing and markup tools, closed captioning, and necessary privacy and security settings.
How do I pick the best online appointment booking system vendor?
When deciding on the best online appointment scheduling software for your financial institution, be sure to find a vendor that has your best interest in mind, and the expertise to see you through. The vendor you go with should have:
- Experience helping financial institutions: Financial institutions are complex, with specific needs, so keep in mind that not just any scheduling tool or vendor will be a great fit.
- A modern, intuitive user experience: Some scheduling tools have been around for a long time, and have failed to keep up with ever-changing technology. Avoid vendors with an outdated product.
- Technical support, onboarding, and strategic services: The best online appointment scheduler will go above and beyond for your financial institution, offering support beyond basic software updates.
- Security standards and data privacy: The safety of your customers and members should be the top priority for any vendor. Make sure the tool you purchase follows necessary data privacy guidelines.
- Integrations with existing tools and systems: Any vendor that requires you to overhaul your existing systems should be a big red flag. Scheduling tools should blend seamlessly and make life easier.
- Flexible, fair pricing: Your vendor should be aware that client needs vary widely, and should be willing to build custom pricing for your unique business/needs.
What are the best appointment scheduling program integrations?
Online appointment schedulers should be easy to work with and make your life easier—not more complicated. Some key integrations to look for include:
- Calendar Syncing
With built-in two-way sync for Google, G Suite, Outlook, MS Exchange, and Office 365, there should be no need to shift staff over to a new calendar app for their scheduling needs.
- Salesforce Sync
The ideal tool will also include flexible integration with full support for mapping to custom fields in Salesforce. This sync enables your team to turn appointment data into leads, contacts, activities, and campaigns.
- Published APIs
Your vendor should offer a fully customizable tool with published APIs so that you can feature your bank or credit union’s language and branding throughout. You should retain full ownership and control of your data, as everything is hosted in the cloud.
How can I get buy-in for my online appointment scheduler of choice?
Now that you’re convinced your financial institution needs an online appointment scheduling solution, it’s time to get everyone else on board too.
The best way to get buy-in is to focus on how this tool will benefit each department involved, and build a business case from there.
Customers and Members
Remind your organization that online scheduling tools with self-serve solutions result in more satisfied customers. In today’s world, clients can virtually book appointments with almost every other service provider (think salons, primary care, dentists)—why shouldn’t banks and credit unions be added to the list?
To give you a better idea of some of the convincing supporting data, take a look at some of these customer satisfaction stats*:
- 41% increase in booked appointments
- 21 point increase in member/customer NPS
- 97% average CSAT
Lending / Wealth Management Advisors
Some of the biggest benefactors of your online appointment scheduler tool will be lending and wealth management advisors. An improved appointment process means significant benefits such as:
- An increase in lending/mortgage appointments
- Improved conversion rates
- A reduction in meeting times
- More opportunities to cross-sell/upsell
You can also remind your advisors that they will be able to measure revenue more accurately and deliver more personalized services.
Take a look at these advisor stats* if further convincing is needed:
- 75% reduction in appointment length
- 23% reduction in no-show rates
- 300% higher conversion rates
*numbers are a reflection of using Coconut Software.
Operations managers are another key benefactor when implementing time-saving tools like online scheduling software for banks and credit unions. With a specialized tool integrated into your system, operations managers will be able to forecast appointments and walk-in traffic, better plan for staffing needs and coverage, and improve share of wallet. Your ops teams will also see benefits like:
- Reduced call volume and faster resolution times
- Improved queue speeds and wait times
- Fewer no-shows and cancellations
Even the marketing team will benefit from an online bank scheduling tool:
- See More Campaign Results: Search and marketing campaigns will result in more booked meetings, thanks to web search integrations (clients can book right from a search results page).
- Find What Works: Top-performing channels, pages, and products will become much easier to identify with data tracking and built-in analytic tools.
- Track Client Journeys: Your team will get a better idea of the user journey and campaign ROI as you track conversions through different channels.
Make More Sales: The sales team will also see more high-value conversations as appointment processes improve.
Build a Business Case
With all of this info broken down by department, you can now build out a business case to present to relevant stakeholders at your institution. In a way, the business case for your online appointment schedule is like a three-act play:
- The Setup:
Go over your bank or credit union’s current appointment process and give examples of shortcomings. Are you missing out on new clients? Struggling with retention? Losing growth opportunities because customers or members can’t find the right people in time?
Present your audience with some of the benefits your organization could see if there was a tool that could fix these problems. Higher client satisfaction and retention, better data collection, more cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
- The Resolution:
Introduce the online scheduling software for banks and credit unions that can change it. Go over more benefits and explain how this tool fixes the shortcomings you mentioned earlier. This is where you can bring in details about how each party—customers and members, advisors, ops, and marketing—can benefit.
By the end, you’re sure to have a standing ovation—or at least significant buy-in. 😉
If you’re ready to learn more about selecting the best appointment scheduling program for your bank or credit union, read our buyer’s guide for appointment and queue software for financial institutions. This handy digital guide dives deeper into all the questions your institution should be asking while shopping for booking software, and how to find solutions that work for you.
Schedule a demo today to see how Coconut Software can be the tool you’ve been looking for.