It’s time to stop judging smartphone addicts

Instead, make appointments with ‘connected consumers’ to help save them time and money

People have a complicated relationship with their smartphones. Those amazing mobile devices simultaneously offer a ready means to waste time and save it. They are both a distraction and a portal of productivity.

As Google noted in declaring a “mobile majority,” based on a global survey finding that more people connect to the Internet through their phones than any other device, we have at our fingertips an instant source of information, entertainment, and social bonding. In a recent Forbes article, Brian Solis contends that their smartphones dictate the behaviors, expectations, and aspirations of “connected consumers.”

“Pretty much anyone you want to do business with is obsessed with their mobile device,” Solis writes. “You can judge it or learn from it, but you can’t ignore it if you care about customer engagement.”

It’s time to stop fretting about mobile devices as an addiction and start embracing opportunities to connect members with the financial solutions your credit union can deliver. For starters, one key actionable takeaway from Google’s business research is that 75 percent of smartphone aficionados says their mobile devices help them to be more productive.  

Enter the branch appointment app, which offers members a quick and easy way to book time with a financial professional at the office of their choice to consult on important financial decisions. At the same time, your credit union can use the information members provide in scheduling an appointment to be prepared in showcasing the products and services they want and need.

As much as members have embraced mobile and self-service options for managing their money, many still prefer to talk directly with knowledgeable professionals about their most significant commitments, like buying a car or house, paying for home improvements, planning for retirement, or signing on for business services.

Even as online options to open accounts or track down solutions to service issues become more common, your credit union can win over members who prefer to handle these tasks in person by inviting them to schedule an appointment to take care of business.

Offering an appointment app also underscores that you know how valuable members’ time is and that you are ready to help them make the most of it. This efficiency cuts in both directions: Research with Kronos clients shows that the vast majority of members who make branch appointments keep them, and the up-front notice helps branch employees be better prepared to provide the best possible service and identify additional sales opportunities.

These strategies can help your credit union build member relationships by delivering on their evolving expectations for their trusted financial advisor and improve operational efficiencies and bottom-line results:

Let members decide how and when to connect. For all the attention that mobile and other digital channels receive, what many members value most is getting to choose among a full range of delivery options. Offering a mobile appointment app can underscore that your credit union is a full-service financial institution and underscore your commitment to convenient access. Even consumers who rely heavily on digital channels will appreciate the opportunity to schedule appointments when they need guidance from financial professionals on more complex matters.

Optimize frontline resources to drive service and revenue. Inviting members to make appointments connects them with valuable financial expertise and simultaneously provides branch managers with valuable data for smarter scheduling. Branch employees trained to deliver specialized services can be scheduled to meet demand and ready to serve with the appropriate materials lined up in advance to streamline the interaction. You can also offer more specialized services on specific days and/or at certain locations. As a result, the organization can increase branch efficiency, improve productivity and decrease costs by optimizing staff resources.

Take a data-driven approach to branch sales and service. Appointment scheduling tools and lobby tracking software provide useful information about what services members want and when they are most likely to visit a branch for the kinds of interactions that result in increased sales. Detailed information about branch traffic patterns can guide decisions about scheduling, sales training, and marketing based on demand for services at each location.

Two additional statistics from business research support the benefits of an appointment app for members and your credit union. First, a survey from GetApp Lab indicates that 70 percent of customers prefer to book appointments online rather than by phone. Especially for members who are already comfortable booking everything from restaurant reservations to doctors’ appointments on their smartphone, an appointment app from their credit union would be a natural and much-appreciated service.

Second, Google reports that mobile searches for “best” increased more than 80 percent in two years. To enhance your credit union’s standing as members’ best choice for financial services, a full range of service and channel options, including convenient appointments at their favorite branch, can help forge a strong and lasting connection.

Chad Davis

Chad Davis

Chad Davis is Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Financial Services Practice Group, Kronos, which is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications ... Web: Details

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