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Banking By Appointment: Leveraging New Technologies To Better Serve Members

A growing number of credit unions are using appointment scheduling to manage staff more effectively and better meet consumers’ needs.

The shift to digital banking has been well documented. You cannot go a day without getting emails or seeing headlines about digital transformation, the digital member experience, and the decline of the branch. But as we navigate into an uncertain future with the current state of the global economy, the war in Ukraine, and rising inflation, your members’ needs are once again changing.

J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Survey revealed that the type of support banking consumers expect from their financial institution continues to shift as the economy declines. “It’s no longer predominately about being fast, efficient, or convenient it’s about supporting customers during challenging times.” That means being able to support members both digitally and with personalized expertise depending on their needs. The challenge: how do you make that transition from digital to human as seamless as possible?

Appointment Scheduling: The Bridge From Digital To Human

Appointment scheduling is the perfect bridge to connect members using your digital channels to the right person when additional assistance and expertise is needed. Here is how it works:

Omnichannel appointment scheduling allows members using your website or mobile banking application to schedule an appointment when human expertise is needed quickly and easily. When done right, it allows your members to specify their needs (such as membership inquiries, member services, lending or deposit questions, financial advice, and more), and choose their preferred “location” (whether that is a specific branch, a phone call, or even via video banking). Upcoming availability (days and times) is then displayed, aligning the member with the employee best suited to address their specific need. This ensures that not only is the consumer securing an appointment at a date, time, and location that is most convenient for them, they are also connected to the right subject matter expert or professional to address their specific needs.

While digital banking has empowered members to self-serve, it has not altogether removed the need for human assistance. Rivel recently released its second-quarter 2022 CXLign Banking Benchmarks report. Among other customer preferences and trends, the report shows:

  • 62% of banking consumers prefer digital banking to do common transactions (depositing a check, paying a bill, etc.)
  • 57% of banking consumers prefer human assistance for more important transactions (sending a wire transfer, setting up a new account, etc.)

Because of this, demand for appointment scheduling in banking has drastically increased. Bank of America recently released the Trends in Digital Banking for 2021 report, which highlighted a 20% increase in appointments booked in 2021.

Enterprise appointment scheduling software is an essential solution credit unions are using to bridge the digital-to-human experience. Here are three ways credit unions are leveraging appointment scheduling to not only improve the member experience, but also to drive growth and efficiency.

Three Ways Credit Unions Leverage Appointment Scheduling

1. Providing Personalized Service For Important Conversations

As the Rivel data demonstrates, some banking transactions are best served with human assistance. From the credit union’s perspective, there are also some conversations that you would rather members have with one of your product experts, than via a digital interaction. Appointment scheduling is a great tool to allow members to research digitally, and then connect with an expert when more information or consultation is needed or to take the next step.

Redwood Credit Union does an excellent job of using appointment scheduling for all types of member needs, including lending, serving business accounts, investments, and retirement planning. With appointment scheduling, members are easily connected with the right team member, at the right time and location to get the assistance and support they need.

2. Scheduling Video Banking Appointments

Virtual banking via video banking has grown in popularity in recent years as members have become more comfortable with video interactions and the convenience they provide. The challenge with video banking is ensuring you have properly scheduled the expertise needed to handle a myriad of questions or needs your members have. Online appointment scheduling integrated with a video banking tool like POPi/o can address this.

Affinity Plus FCU solved this challenge when management rolled out POPi/o and online appointment scheduling in 2020. In addition to the positive feedback from members who love the convenience and personalized service it provides, Affinity Plus FCU has been able to expand services across their locations without adding headcount, as staff work remotely, ensuring that expertise is no longer a location-specific requirement.

3. Thinking Outside The Box

There are countless examples of unique ways credit unions are using appointment scheduling, but here are three of our favorites:

  • Mobile Banking For many of your members, your mobile banking application is their digital branch. Overlooking mobile banking and not including easy ways to schedule an appointment directly from mobile banking is a missed opportunity to connect members directly to the right person when needs arise.
  • Contact Center – Member service representatives engaged in conversations are another great way to connect members in need with the right person to help. The MSR can easily pull up the scheduler and set the time and location with the right person to serve the member.
  • Personalized URLs Natco Credit Union embeds appointment scheduling directly onto personalized URLs for their bankers. This allows the member the ability to schedule appointments directly with bankers, as well as providing the banker with a way to easily engage members and prospective members.

In uncertain times, your members need your credit union more than ever. You pride yourself on your member experience, and intelligent appointment scheduling provides the service your members need while ensuring they are being routed to the right person based on their needs.

About Engageware:

Engageware is the industry-leading provider of customer engagement solutions with more than one billion appointments scheduled via its award-winning appointment scheduling software. Trusted by hundreds of financial institutions, Engageware’s appointment scheduling customers outpaced the industry by 222% in Q3 loan growth (7.41% vs 2.31% industry average).

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
July 11, 2022

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