How to Implement an Appointment Scheduler at Your Financial Institution
Today’s most competitive banks and credit unions are using an appointment scheduler to save time, drive convenience, and increase members and bookings. And though the benefits of appointment scheduling software are clear, some financial institutions are still wary about making the switch.
If you’re curious about switching to a self-service appointment scheduling app, this is the post for you. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explain how you can seamlessly move to an appointment scheduling system in just a few weeks or months, rather than having it take several years.
We’ll also share top FAQs related to appointment software implementation, so you can effortlessly pull off a successful rollout—and start putting members and customers at the helm of their experience.
Step 1. Pick the Right Solution
Financial institutions all have unique needs—especially when it comes to security and data tracking.
So, What Is the Best App for Scheduling Appointments?
It’s the one that’s built specifically with financial institutions in mind, allowing customers and members to proactively book appointments with your institution—and have more choice in the queuing process.
The best appointment scheduler can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet, from a cell phone or desktop computer to a tablet in your lobby. Ultimately, it’s a smarter way to manage in-branch and virtual queues.
The best app for scheduling appointments typically has four core components, each with features that make it easy for customers, members, and staff to use.
- Appointment scheduling
- Data, analytics, and admin features
- Queue management
- Video appointments
This type of holistic, integrated solution is key to creating a more seamless, convenient customer experience that saves time and increases bookings.
If you’re already using individual calendars or out-of-date spreadsheets to track appointments, you don’t want another one-off app you have to check. You want something that integrates with your existing systems and needs.
Want to learn more about how to choose the best appointment scheduler online? Check out Buyer’s Guide: Appointment and Queue Software for Financial Institutions.
You May Be Wondering: What Scheduling App Is Free? Is There a Free Scheduling Tool?
We advise you to stay away from free tools, which lack the data security and identity authentication tools needed to protect your financial institution and your customers and members. Free scheduling tools typically aren’t robust or flexible enough to meet your customers’ or team’s needs. They also lack the ability to white label, which allows you to build your branding and foster greater trust with customers and members.
If You Use Google Calendars Internally, You May Want to Know: Is There a Google Appointment Scheduler?
Google doesn’t have its own appointment scheduler, but the best appointment scheduling software works seamlessly with Google to offer two key features:
- Calendar syncing: The best appointment scheduling systems can connect with your team’s internal Google calendars to provide real-time availability, eliminating out-of-date booking and scheduling errors. This means you don’t have to move to a new internal calendar system when you make the switch to an online appointment scheduling app. The right tool will have integration with Google, Microsoft, and more.
- Integration with location searches: The top appointment schedulers will integrate with Google location searches for your branches, giving customers and members the opportunity to book an appointment directly from a Google search. (Just like your favorite restaurants.)
Step 2. Kick Off Your Project with the Right Goals and Team Members
As you kick off your appointment scheduler rollout, it’s critical to get buy-in from all key stakeholders, including administrative teams, advisors, IT teams, and more. Take time to share the benefits of appointment systems to ensure everyone is invested and on the same page.
Once your team is excited about the rollout, designate one person to play the role of project manager. This person should host a meeting to discuss and assign tasks:
- Objectives: For example, you might aim to get 15% of clients to try the software within the first month of rollout, or run a pilot with your long-standing members.
- Scope: Explain whether the rollout will happen gradually or all at once.
- Milestones: Cover each of the steps in this guide, from kick-off to monitoring your goals.
- Measurement: Discuss key metrics of success, such as timing, usage, and satisfaction rates.
- Responsibilities: Consider using the RACI model to ensure all tasks are handled in a timely manner.
Step 3. Design, Configure, and Test Your Scheduler
The right appointment scheduling vendor won’t leave you to configure your system on your own—they’ll offer comprehensive technical support for clear and fast onboarding. Still, it’s important to set yourself up for success by taking care of design, configuration, and testing.
The design process should be straightforward: you’ll need to update the system with your institution’s:
- Header graphic
- Email messages
Next, your technical team should take the following steps to ensure the right data makes it to the new system:
- Gather the pertinent data in a spreadsheet: Locations (hours, addresses), services and service categories (financial advice, loans, mortgages), staff (names, departments, roles, permissions, contact info).
- Transfer the data: Upload that spreadsheet to the new system.
- Connect any necessary systems: For example, Microsoft Active Directory, your single sign-on (SSO) provider, or a video call tool.
- Decide on global settings: This includes notifications, client views, and booking policies.
- Purchase and configure any necessary hardware: This may include tablets, TVs, headsets, HD cameras, and more.
Finally, it’s time to test, test, and test again. These tests should be realistic, involving the people who will actually be using the software. Without this step, you may come across bugs that slow down your launch.
Step 4. Train Your Team for Ongoing Success
Now it’s time to train your team on how to use the software. Just remember: it’s one thing for administrators to remember what they learned in a demo, and it’s another for them to take initiative to troubleshoot when they’re under pressure on a busy day.
Keep the momentum going by holding regular training sessions, until the key principles sync in. Here are a few ideas for effective training:
- Customize materials for seamless education
- Tailor the training to the role—not everyone needs to know everything
- Set up an appointment incentive program to keep employees motivated
- Create an internal playbook or FAQ page for quick reference
- Review transcripts and audio recordings to find new teaching opportunities
- Study completion rates to discover the most active users
- Review individual stats to understand productivity, capacity, etc.
Step 5. Launching and Marketing
You’ve come a long way, and now it’s time to communicate these exciting changes to your employees and customers. Just keep in mind: most people need to hear something seven times, in seven different ways, before the message really sinks in. Then they’ll need to use the smart appointment scheduling tool several times to form a habit—so plan to promote your new system repeatedly in the coming months.
Here are a few ways to promote your appointment scheduler and drive high-value bank appointments:
- Advertise appointments on your website and app
- Use Google Ads to let people directly book meetings
- Launch email and social media campaigns
- Share appointment data to show when branches are busy
- Send automatic email and SMS confirmations
- Use in-branch displays
- Offer incentives and prizes
- Let walk-ins know they can schedule an appointment next time
Promote your self-serve appointments across multiple channels, online and offline. This two-tiered marketing strategy will increase your appointment volume, and increase the positive impact of appointments on your customer experience—and bottom line.
Step 6. Monitor Your Goals, Then Adjust Your Sails
Your appointment scheduling online software is live. Your customers, members, and staff are using it. So how is it performing?
You won’t have accurate answers unless you use SMART metrics (simple, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Make sure you’re using key KPIs to measure customer experience, operations, marketing strategy, and more.
Potential metrics to track include:
- Total appointments and walk-in traffic
- Staff vs. customers and members bookings
- Popular appointment types
- Staff engagement and usage
- Average wait times and no-show rates
- Customer experience survey results
- Impact on financial metrics and goals
If your methods are working, you’ll be booking more meetings, saving time, and improving customer and employee satisfaction. Remember to review your progress regularly at 30-day intervals to help you stay on track.
Switching to Appointment Scheduler Software IS Worth It
As you see wins and continue to track usage, keep making long-term improvements to get the full value from your solution.
Rotate your best advisors to new locations so they can train staff. Review your appointment outcomes and see how you can continue to increase customer satisfaction. Schedule reviews with your software partner to see how you can get more out of your software. With a great solution provider, the possibilities for ongoing coaching and guidance are endless.
Switching your financial institution over to an appointment scheduler will take some time. But it is worth it. Over time, you’ll start to see ROI like new revenue from higher-quality appointments, increased staff efficiency, and recovered revenue from missed client connections. The pay-off will be clear, and you’ll see why your time investment was well worthwhile!
Ready to start your appointment scheduler rollout? We can help. Check out our Rollout Kit for Appointments and Queueing Software digital guide to successfully introduce scheduling software at your financial institution.