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Customer Experience

Appointment Booking on the move: How to manage roaming staff & home visits

October 30, 2019

There’s an old saying that goes, ‘the customer is always right’. The customer isn’t always right – but he or she is is always in control of his or her future with you. And, today, the customer is increasingly in control of how – and more importantly, where – he or she chooses to interact with you.

While ACF provides a lot of services and solutions to the healthcare industry, this isn’t a blog post about healthcare, though. It’s actually about banking and building societies.

In this blog post we answer the following questions:

  • What are roaming staff?
  • Are roaming staff becoming more common?
  • Home-based services are increasing: why and what should businesses do?
  • How can you manage travel times and staff calendars?
  • What’s the future of appointment booking?

Building societies and banks (and other organizations, more and more so) want to drive meetings outside of their branches or stores – at people’s homes.

Building societies do this, in particular, because they have the feeling of a local community service. Sometimes the meeting at someone’s home is driven by an actual need. Some services must take place outside of the branch such as mortgage evaluations: in order to evaluate and give a price on the property, the location has to be the house that is for sale. There’s just no alternative!

Why are roaming visits (and managing them) becoming increasingly important?

ACF Technologies Appointment Booking - roaming staff, home visits

Organizations are trimming down their number of employees, but not everyone can do everything. Highly-skilled employees, such as loan specialists or mortgage analyzers, are used as roaming agents and are based at different branches on different days of the week.

 

Two examples of how building societies are managing roaming staff

  • One of building societies we work with has roaming agents based in different locations on different days of the week, who travel to customers’ homes based on the proximity to relevant (and often remote) branches.
  • Another one of our customers uses a different method of dealing with customer visits with roaming agents. Customers can come to their local branch and then jump on a video call with an agent based in a completely different branch. Booking the video slot reserves a room in branches on both the customers’ side, and on the side of the industry specialist.

How do those team members who have to be on the road manage their time efficiently?

The answer lies in using a tool that helps roaming staff – employees who work or between stores or their core offices – and people’s homes.

Here’s how ACF’s booking management solutions enable home visits in 6 steps:

  1. Our software can calculate travel times to a clients’ location, based on an agent’s proximity.
  2. We select relevant agents or people from the nearest branch and send someone who can offer the services to meet that appointment type. The software then:
  3. Calculates the travel time
  4. Emails the customer with information
  5. Sends the details to the relevant member of staff and
  6. Blocks out their calendars so they can get to the customers’ house and make it back without double-booking another appointment

And appointments can even include information such as directions, specific customer requests, additional instructions and a variety of other data.

Could home-based (or coffee shop-based) customer appointments become more common in the future?

ACF Appointment Booking - Roaming staff

With increasing customer expectations (and as the demand on customers’ time becomes even more critical) I believe that organizations looking to go above-and-beyond customer expectations may look to book meetings in increasingly varied and interesting locations in the future.

As an example, what’s to say that if the nearest bank branch is far away but Starbucks is in the middle between the bank and a customers’ home, a meeting couldn’t take place in Starbucks? Or if a roaming agent knows he or she will be in a specific area for a day – why couldn’t the meeting be scheduled for that area?

Excellent customer service is about giving customers a choice

Who’s to say that, in future, most face-to-face customer meetings won’t take place in coffee shops? Who’s to say you couldn’t do it in banking? Why not let the CEO of an incredibly busy small business who is looking for a loan book an appointment at his or her office, rather than a bank? Having meeting ‘room’ flexibility provides all sorts of opportunities…

The future of appointment booking

Essentially, the future of appointment booking comes down to the nature of the service required from a roaming agent: if the service can be provided remotely, (for example, if the member of staff just needs a tablet device to do the job) what else is stopping anyone serving a customer to do it wherever customers require it? Imagine if you could serve customers wherever they chose… wouldn’t that go above and beyond customers’ expectations?

I believe that, in time, being able to book meetings with customers wherever they choose will become a core pillar of customer service.

So why not allow customers to have appointments at their home? The back-end processes – lining up people, calendars, locations, post codes etc. – are the really hard bit and that’s what we already do.

Let us take care of the back-end processes behind any of your customer appointment scheduling and interactions: so you can serve your customers better.

Find out more about appointment booking systems and full customer experience solutions of today, and of the future. You can get in touch by booking a demo or  sending us an email acfinfo@acftechnologies.com. We’d love to help.

 

Tagged: Customer Experience, Appointment Scheduling, "Event Booking"

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