As a financial institution, there are a slew of things to consider when bringing on a new technology partner - especially for something as complex as appointment scheduling. Though the idea of booking an appointment seems simple (after all, it’s just adding an appointment to a staff member’s calendar, right?) - there is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to enterprise appointment scheduling. From multiple locations, staff members, and time zones to security compliance and accessibility guidelines - having the right booking solution in place goes well beyond a basic calendar function.
To find the ideal appointment scheduling software, financial institutions should evaluate four key areas, including information security, accessibility, analytics, and a Microsoft Outlook/Office 365 integration. If you’re in the financial industry, here’s what you need to consider:
1. Information security
Information security (InfoSec) is of the utmost importance for highly regulated financial institutions. InfoSec is defined as the processes and tools used to keep data safe from modification, inspection, disruption, or destruction. Data breach costs are among the highest in the financial industry, and breaches also lead to a high churn rate in customer base. For banks and credit unions working with sensitive information like bank account numbers and social security numbers, keeping customers’ information secure is critical for customer satisfaction and loyalty. Aside from the commitment to your customers, there are also regulations that financial institutions must adhere to.
In the US, there are several guidelines outlined by federal law that financial institutions need to comply with. Additionally, banks and financial institutions operating in the EU have to adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Being GDPR-compliant includes processes like requiring consent for data processing, anonymizing data for privacy, providing data breach notifications, and much more.
Being diligent with InfoSec is crucial because it’s not only something that can make or break your reputation, but not meeting guidelines can result in fines or lawsuits. That means every single company and vendor you partner with should be taking InfoSec seriously.
When evaluating an enterprise appointment scheduling provider, you should consider the following:
- What type of security compliance is the software partner certified in?
- How do they go through the certification process?
- If you operate in the EU, is your provider GDPR-compliant?
- How will the software provider continue to remain compliant in the future?
- Does the provider meet the security requirements of your bank or credit union?
This is just a starting point for questions to consider, and it cannot be overstated how important it is to partner with providers who make InfoSec a top priority and ensure they are always up-to-date with security protocols.
As banks and credit unions are aware, you need to ensure accessibility across all of your experiences, not just the physical accessibility of your locations and ATMs. That means you need to evaluate accessibility from a digital standpoint, including everything from your website to software providers. Between the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and the growing reliance on digital services, digital accessibility for banks will continue to become increasingly important. Not to mention, you can significantly grow your customer base by ensuring you are accessible for all users - across the entire customer journey. That’s why it’s crucial that your appointment scheduling software vendor prioritizes accessibility in their development process.
With digital accessibility requirements around the globe, the financial industry is no stranger to the lawsuits and revenue loss that stem from not being inclusive online. The number of compliance issues that financial institutions face is high - meaning risk is even higher. Things you need to consider for an appointment scheduling solution when it comes to accessibility:
- Does the appointment setting software make accessibility a priority in their development process?
- Are they actively working to meet WCAG 2.1 requirements?
- Is the platform compatible with screen readers?
- Do they use text alternatives for any non-text content?
- Is the platform readable and understandable?
- Does the platform use easy-to-read fonts and colors?
- Do they use a third-party testing agency to ensure compliance?
Again, this is just a starting point of what your bank and credit union needs to think about for accessibility. There are many accessibility implications when you consider the full customer journey of booking an appointment online. Your customers will be using your third-party platform to select appointment types, pick the right time, select a staff member, etc., so you need to ensure the experience is accessible all the way through - from your website to the moment they book an appointment and receive a confirmation.
The digital transformation of banking and financial services is becoming increasingly important - and data is at the core of this transformation. Utilizing data and analytics, your financial institution can make critical business decisions to drive growth.
Having an enterprise appointment scheduling solution that puts data at the forefront is key. It should be robust while giving you the information you need at ease. With the right analytics tool in place, you will be able to measure the ROI of your customer engagements and build upon your success. Some key things to consider with financial appointment scheduling analytics:
- Does the appointment scheduling software provider have an analytics tool built into their platform?
- Can you measure key metrics such as appointment conversions, staff capacity, lead times, wait times, no-shows, and more?
- Can you build a dashboard that shows you a high-level view of your key data and key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- Can you easily automate reports to send to stakeholders throughout your organization?
- Can you set up KPIs that are easy to track with milestones and alert notifications?
- Can you monitor overall performance as well as detailed branch data?
By having an easy way to analyze your data, you can optimize the customer journey, and create meaningful engagements that build customer loyalty. This data will help you determine what services are most popular, ways you can improve operational efficiencies, and continue to maximize your success.
4. Microsoft Exchange integration
Finding an appointment scheduling software partner that meets all of your needs is crucial - including the ability to integrate with Microsoft Exchange to support Outlook and Office 365. Since the financial services industry has the highest rate of usage for Office 365, having an integration that can deliver a seamless, intelligent, and scalable scheduling solution is vital to ensure all employees and staff members can easily use your new solution across all branches.
If you are looking for a partner with a Microsoft Exchange integration, then consider the following needs:
- Does it provide a real-time connection, ensuring the synchronization happens immediately with no delay in response time?
- Does it prevent double-booking?
- Can you personalize the calendar invites and have them sync with your Outlook and Office 365 calendars?
- Does staff have the ability to control these elements of your appointment scheduling?
- Does it provide the newest features and enhancements without requiring staff to run an update?
- Is there an appointment lock - ensuring that any appointment made in your appointment scheduling solution can’t be edited or changed by staff members within Outlook or Office 365?
With many banks and credit unions depending on Microsoft Outlook/Office 365, this is a major consideration for your team, and something that should be vetted properly. You want to ensure an appointment scheduling provider has a seamless integration in place so all of your branches are set up for appointment scheduling success. At JRNI, our extensive integration with Microsoft Exchange is built to Microsoft best practice standards and is designed to provide a full suite of capabilities to deliver scheduling at scale.
So there you have it. These four key considerations will help you on your journey to finding the right partner. And, if you are just starting to consider appointment scheduling as an option, then you are on the right track… because personalized appointments help financial institutions drive revenue growth! In fact:
- For financial institutions using an online appointment setting solution, data indicates that over 90% of their appointments resulted in new balances gained and new accounts being opened.
- Boston Consulting Group reports that for every $100 billion in assets that a bank has, it can achieve as much as $300 million in revenue growth by personalizing the interaction.
With online appointment setting being the new normal for the financial industry, it’s time to find the right software provider for your needs! At JRNI, we provide a platform to help deliver personalized experiences at scale. To learn more about how personalized, one-to-one appointments can improve revenue and conversions, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and customer relationships, then check out “The ROI of appointments” eBook.
About the author
Practice Director, Financial Services
Nick Barnes is responsible for JRNI's overall direction in the financial services market. After serving as head of customer experience and managing JRNI's largest north american customers and driving their success, Nick created the financial services practice to focus on the unique needs and trends within the market.
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