Coconut Software’s Rhys Smith Sits Down with American Bankers Association
We attended the ABA Wealth Management Conference in San Francisco in February in an effort to further understand the latest industry trends and issues, as well as gain strategic insights to help our customers succeed. While at the conference, Rhys Smith, Customer Success Manager at Coconut Software had the opportunity and pleasure to connect with Ryan Rasske, Senior Vice President of the American Bankers Association (ABA).
In the interview, Ryan and Rhys discuss the impact a centralized appointment management system has had on our customers’ businesses, Coconut Software’s core focus on the needs of financial institutions, and notable efficiency improvements by the numbers. One customer, in particular, that was mentioned, actually saw a three times higher conversion rate of appointments for clients who booked an appointment online as opposed to a walk-in-appointment.
But why “Coconut”? Ryan makes sure to dig into the story behind the name before their time is up.
Ryan Rasske: Hello, my name is Ryan Rasske. The Senior Vice President at the American Bankers Association, I’m being joined by Rhys Smith, Customer Success Manager for Coconut. How are you?
Rhys Smith: I’m great, Ryan. How are you?
Ryan: I’m fantastic. So, I’m eager, and I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. Curious? You’ve got an interesting name for a company: Coconut.
Rhys: Yup [laughs].
Ryan: So, let’s dive right into it and learn a little bit about what you guys do.
Rhys: Yeah, for sure.
So, contrary to popular belief we don’t sell coconuts. Coconut Software is an appointment management solution.
So, really, the purpose is to really enhance the appointment experience between financial services companies as well as their customers. So, you know, primarily working with organizations and companies in North America, financial institutions.
What’s really great about that, as well, is that we actually developed the product with those needs of those customers in mind specifically. So it’s really tailored towards the financial space.
Now, What does that look like? What is an appointment management solution? And how does that enhance customers’ interactions?
So, primarily, when our customer implement Coconut, they centralize their appointments to one singular platform across the business. That removes a lot of common friction points that you have when customers want to get some valuable time and face-time with their advisors.
So, as an example, customers have the ability to be able to easily book an appointment in the comfort of their own home. Maybe it’s ten o’clock on a Tuesday and they want to book an appointment for that Friday. You know, for the lunch hour just to talk about investments for the future or discuss a mortgage with an advisor. Coconut gives customers, sort of, the power and the ability to be able to book those appointments anytime, anywhere on their own watch.
As opposed to having to call in to a contact center, perhaps the next morning, and wait when they are busy at work. And that actually leads really nicely in to the second point as well, where we also enable those contact center staff to be able to quickly book appointments as well. You know, when customers are actually on the phone requesting appointments. So, instead of using a variety of different spreadsheets and other tools, actually, have the ability to be able to book an appointment across one platform and not have that sort of swivel chair integration sort of speak where we have to use so many different tools just to book an appointment. So, really increasing the efficiencies there as well.
Ryan: So, it sounds like, and listening to this description that there is a pretty decent business impact. Right? I mean you look at the amount of time an employee is spending trying to coordinate these activities but there is also the customer’ aspect, right?
Ryan: Ease of use I’m assuming and seamless view into the company when they’re making this appointment and that kind of stuff.
Rhys: For sure. Yeah. I mean, really, the way it impacts business is making things easier for the customer of course but also on the business side for financial institutions. You know, banks, credit unions, wealth management firms, are increasing efficiencies overall, as well as improving that customer-member experience. So you know that could take the form of, as an example, increasing the number of appointments that are booked. And decreasing the actual number of appointment no-shows as well and even looking at the pre-appointment reporting, too, and looking at how to make a personalized connection with a customer in advance of the appointment. And even afterward as well, looking at what kinds of appointments are actually most successful at a company-wide level. So, getting those sort of insights and data as well. I want to share some numbers, too, just to back up those claims. So, what we found actually sort of across our customer base is that companies and folks who are implementing Coconut are seeing sort of a greater efficiency across their business and that takes form, for example, we’ve seen on average 41% increase in appointments book after-hours, with our customers. Right, so going back to that example I mentioned earlier about being able to book an appointment at 10 p.m. in the comfort of your own home as opposed to having to wait to call in to the contact center. We’ve also seen an average increase of 13% in terms of appointments actually being booked by customers with businesses as well. And an even 23% reduction in no-show appointments as well which is really a key just to ensure that your team, advisors and your staff are making the most of their time as well and to ensure that there is no sort of time being missed. So, a lot of different efficiencies there. Then there is on the customer side, there is really empowering them to actually share information prior to an appointment with an advisor as well, and to make sure that more of a connection is being made at the beginning too so that the advisor knows exactly is going on in the appointment, the purpose of that appointment and at the same time also developing through that lasting relationship as well so that it is not transactional.
Ryan: So, these are some powerful numbers when you start seeing those kinds of savings in wealth and time and efficiency and all that. So, is that something you come to a potential client of yours and say hey look here is what we can do for you is that how the sales conversation would go?
Rhys: Yeah. That’s actually a great segue.
One of our customers which is Jackson Hewitt one of the largest tax preparation firms in the U.S. has been using Coconut. And they have a lot of great stats that they can share as well in terms of their success with Coconut. Initially, they selected Coconut based on this sort of customization capability as well as how secure the platform is and our commitment to customer-data privacy. But at the same time, they actually saw an 8% increase in kept appointments for the past three years. Something that was really interesting as well is they actually saw a three times higher conversion rate of appointments for clients who actually booked an appointment online as opposed to a walk-in-appointment. So, that value of actually having those appointments booked well in advance and being prepared for them, and them actually taking place and not showing up for the appointment, leads to higher success rates in the long run for the business.
Ryan: So I have to ask, you said in the very beginning you don’t sell coconuts.
Rhys: Not yet
Ryan: Is there a tie into the name coconut? Is there some relation as to why that was picked for this company model?
Rhys: Yeah. I think it is funny. The story goes that it was actually a discussion between our CTO and our CEO and they couldn’t agree over a name for the business. So there was a lot of back and forth and at the end, I believe it was my CTO Romeo who mentioned maybe we should just name the business something fun. Just call it Coconut. Coconut Software. And our CEO Katherine was like that’s it. That’s her name. I figured out it really speaks to the sort of environment of the business as well, we really care and we’re actual humans behind our computers and our phones as well and we really like to personalize our experience with our customers too, making sure that they are actually getting that human element and making sure that they are as successful as possible. So, we are real people who like to have fun, but ultimately we’re committed to the success of your business with Coconut.
Ryan: Love it! So Rhys, If someone wants to learn more about Coconut, where would you send them. Do you have a website? Got some information that they should have?
Rhys: Yeah absolutely. Coconutsoftware.com
We have lots of great details and exciting blog posts and even more information we could share from there about the power of Coconut.
Ryan: Rhys, what a pleasure. I loved learning about your company and wish you the best of luck.
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