Banking By Appointment In The Time of Delta
Branch banking via an Online Appointment Scheduler (“OAS”) took off as banks & credit unions reacted to a variety of challenges over the past year, but not every FI is on board yet – and Delta is surging. Here are the keys to deploying an OAS to keep customers and staff engaged & safe.
By: Rich Givone, Chief Revenue Officer, CS3 Marketing
The Delta variant is currently overwhelming the medical facilities in many states, and in fact the severity may eclipse the original impact of hard-hit states from 2Q 2020 according to many news sources, including CNN (‘The Delta variant has burned through us with a ferocity that’s hard to describe,’ doctor says in plea for people to get vaccinated – CNN).
But many businesses – including those credit unions and banks who prepared for this eventuality – continue to operate without significant impact to staff or customers. In part this ability to manage through the current spike is the availability of the vaccine, and in part it is based on the learnings from 2020: namely, that if we manage contact very carefully – in particular avoiding situations where groups of people form – transmission rates can actually be fairly low.
So how are these FI’s able to manage traffic in such a way as to protect customers and staff from close & dense contact? One solution has been to meter branch traffic by recommending bank-by-appointment via an OAS solution.
Banking By OAS Is Not New
8 out of the top 10 banks in the United States offered branch banking by appointment using a branch OAS before the pandemic started. That’s right: before the outbreak started. Why did these technology leaders make OAS a priority, among all of the other channel options they are investing in?
Here are the top 3 reasons the most tech-savvy banks have invested in OAS:
- Conversions. Branch Appointments yield the highest conversion % of completed new account applications for both loans and deposit products. Data from CS3 Marketing indicates over 38% of appointments result in a new account being opened.
- Convenience. Customers place a premium on their time allocations and would rather come in at a specific appointed time than run the risk of sitting in a lobby waiting their turn. And – this is most important – the proper resource (for ex, a resource from Mortgage, or a licensed Financial Advisor, a Personal Banker, etc.) has to be available in the right location to fulfill the customer’s request at the time of the appointment.
- Cost. It turns out that when a customer requests an appointment, more than 50% of the time the customer’s need can be serviced remotely; requests from “I need a new debit card” to “I need a copy of a statement” can be serviced with a lower-cost-to serve using a remote resource, saving the branch resources for the most valued transactions.
- No IT Project. It turns out that a number of the largest FI’s built their own solution, designed to simply get the appointment requestor on the phone with an agent to confirm needs and details. And other solutions in the market work with the same philosophy.
Two Reasons OAS is Here To Stay
Regardless the solution pathway or provider chosen, there are two reasons OAS is here to stay.
First, customers have benefitted from the convenience of such solutions. So now there is no “putting the toothpaste back in the tube”. Customers are not going to put up with calling a call center or branch during limited hours of operation and/or with long hold times to book an appointment: they will demand convenience.
Second, as the pandemic continues unabated, the “at risk” population will likely only want to engage with their FI through an appointment, and branch staff will see OAS as an investment in their safety, as well as one of the most focused ways of driving value into customer engagements.
There is now sustained increase in demand for pre-scheduled appointments. Credit unions and banks alike can ensure employees are prepared, ensure that the customer is prepared (for ex, “Please bring your Corporate Resolutions with you to open your business line of credit”), and that the right resources are lined up in the right location to delight your customer. With appointment scheduling, employees have a better understanding of the customers’ needs – or prospective customers’ needs – as well as the reason for their appointment.
The conclusion to draw is this: Banks and Credit Unions who have deployed an OAS as a digital channel which serves as a gateway to branch banking are seeing specific trends which will continue beyond the pandemic.
- >38% of Appointments are resulting in the opening of a new account
- Both Consumer and Small Business accounts are being generated by OAS
- >50% of Appointments can actually be handled remotely
- Anecdotal data indicates that account retention is favorably impacted by OAS
- Over 30% of appointments are set by customers between the hours of 8pm and 6am – so providing an online solution is critical. Be there when your customers need you!
The fact is, given the opportunity to schedule an appointment, people will take it. This presents an opportunity for a new level of engagement for financial institutions, and opportunities to expand business with customers or members – be it with new deposit accounts, new loans, or through greater digital adoption.
Rich Givone is SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for CS3 Marketing. Having begun his early career in banking, over the past 20+ years Rich has held senior leadership positions serving the banking vertical in companies specializing in digital publishing, digital marketing, adtech, and martech.