Banks and Credit Unions Need an Appointment Making Strategy
I hate wasting time. Standing in long lines, being placed on hold and playing phone tag is frustrating. When I need important information or advice, I want it quickly with a knowledgeable employee. Recently, I was dreading making a call to Medicare to get information for my elderly mom. Rather than the usual 15-40-minute hold time, much to my delight, I was prompted to make a phone appointment. Later that afternoon I got a call back from Jessica who patiently and thoroughly answered all my questions. I was a happy camper. If the government can deliver a highly convenient experience, so can bank and credit union employees.
Like many financial institutions, you are likely taking branch appointments, practicing social distancing and COVID safety guidelines. I’m sure you’ve noticed your customers or members are visiting branches less, using contact centers more and adopting digital and automated solutions more readily. This is good news, especially for basic transactions.
However, we must never forget the power of making an appointment to create a personal connection and turn advice-oriented conversations into growth opportunities for every business line, not just Retail. Whether it’s by phone, in-person or a virtual video session, research shows a majority of consumers report they buy more from a company when they have a live interaction with a knowledgeable employee. The key question is, “Do you have an appointment strategy to increase these customer conversations and interactions for the lending, mortgage, insurance, investment and other areas?
Five Ways Making an Appointment Helps Staff Seize Opportunities and Be Proactive
- Build appointments into content – While offering appointments on your website is a must, it’s a bit passive waiting for a click. You already create engaging and educational PDF Flyers and emails on hot topics such as getting out of debt, buying your first home, retiring early or growing your business. In each piece be sure to mention appointments are available and encourage your staff to send the information to their customers or members with a personalized note.
- Train Staff in Offering an Appointment and Engaging in Conversation – It’s likely you have some staff who are not comfortable, confident or skilled in turning a potential opportunity into a scheduled appointment. Often, they may politely ask, “Would you like me to set up an appointment with Jim, our investment advisor?” While they may get a yes, often the answer is, “no thanks, or I’m not ready yet.” A better approach is to offer some benefits of speaking to Jim, how other customers got value from their appointment. Then just make a recommendation statement instead of asking a question. Did they uncover a pain, anxiety or dream? In our virtual training sessions, it’s interesting how this one skill makes such a difference.
- Set Appointment Goals for All Business Lines – The old sales maxim is “the right activities lead to results”. Therefore, the more appointments you have scheduled increases your chances of generating additional business. This assumes of course that your staff is skilled in pre-call planning, engaging in consultative conversations and not just product dumping as mentioned in #2. Do you know if your business bankers, mortgage, insurance, investment and retail folks are setting up a minimum number of virtual and phone appointments each week or month?
- Offer Virtual, Video, Phone or In-Person Appointments – As customers enjoy convenience or may not want to visit a branch, be sure to offer flexible appointment options. Whether it’s a Zoom call, Facetime or a phone appointment, your staff will need to get comfortable communicating through all these methods. Right now, we have clients and even commercial lenders conducting productive meetings virtually with Zoom or Go to Meeting. Be sure to offer practice and training sessions with your folks.
- Consider Appointment Scheduling Software – If the budget allows you can also consider a more robust and structured IT solution for automatically setting up appointments. While we personally have limited knowledge of the technology itself, we know many banks and credit unions enjoy the increased appointments and enhanced customer experience. Some appointment software providers include TimeTrade and Coconut Software.
I’m encouraged by how so many of you have adapted and are thriving and growing during Covid19! We see a bright future for banks and credit unions expanding appointment options by developing highly trained staff skilled in engaging, connecting, consulting and building deeper relationships virtually, by phone and in person.
How We Can Help Virtually or On-Site!
If you would like your staff to confidently offer appointments and have an engaging and valuable customer or member conversations, feel free to contact me. I will be happy to take time to understand what you want to accomplish and provide guidance on how to avoid the pitfalls and make it a success. We can discuss both virtual and onsite training options. Let’s plan a tailored and memorable presentation! For an exploratory call, click Contact Barb, email Barb@HighDefinitionBanking.com, or call me at 858-674-5500 x101
Learn about us at www.HighDefinitionBanking.com and be sure to view my demo video by clicking on the graphic below.
Thanks for reading this post and sharing your observations!