Online Scheduling Apps Are Going Mainstream And Coming To Be Used By Consumers

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:12
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Online Scheduling Apps Are Going Mainstream And Coming To Be Used By Consumers

Tags: client communications | CRM | productivity

Looks like online scheduling apps are starting to make inroads with consumers, at least if you look at what's happening in the medical profession. That has implications for advisors.

 

Since the medical profession spends relatively heavily on technology compared to other professions, tech trends for doctors' offices are a good indicator of what's ahead for private wealth advisory firms in a few years.  

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Today, a booking platform for healthcare professionals, ZocDoc, announced it had named former U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Dr. Bill Frist to its advisory board. ZocDoc, says TechCrunch, allows users to book doctor appointments online. 

 

The real news for advisors and other professional services firms is that these online scheduling apps are starting to spread from the business world to consumers.

 

To be clear, apps like ZocDoc and Tungle (which was bought last year by BlackBerry) integrate Outlook with an online calendar. People who you invite to meetings can see when you're available and not. They can book a meeting with you and the appointment gets fed into your Outlook calendar. These apps work with mobile devices as well as desktops.

 

A year ago or two, when I started using online scheduler, Tungle, some people I tried setting up meetings with just didn't know what to do to make it work right.

 

Now, a lot more business people are comfortable with these systems. It's only a matter of time before they go mainstream, as evidenced by ZocDoc's high-profile effort with medical professionals. 

Many advisors already use online scheduling apps because booking meetings this way is so much simpler than playing phone tag and getting assistants involved.  Tungle, incidentally, works pretty well and is integrated with Outlook.

 

As these apps move toward widespread adoption by consumers, I'd be curious to hear from advisors about their use of an online scheduler.

 

Do you use it with clients? Or do you consider it too impersonal or unprofessional? an

 

For an advisor who is busy, these apps promote productivity. But I'm guessing many advisors are not ready to send links to their calendars to allow clients and prospects to set up appointments.

 

Business-to-business appointments can definitely be streamlined using of these apps without offending anyone. Financial advisors would likely benefit by adopting an online scheduling app and using it with attorneys, accountants, and other professional contacts as well as vendors.

 

Using an online scheduler with clients is a different story.

 

Some clients are likely to prefer booking a phone appointment or in-person meeting with their advisor using an online calendar and won't find it impersonal. They may actually appreciate your efficiency. You have to know the client and how good he or she is with technology.

 

I would avoid using these apps with prospects. Unless you're targeting Silicon Valley or New York digerati, nothing says private wealth advisor like a personal phone call.   

 

If you love your online scheduling app, please post the name of it. And please let us know if you are using it with clients and prospects and how that's going. 

 

Comments (6)

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brentb843
I use TimeTrade and clients love it. Cheap (you can pay about $50 for logo customization) and very, very good!

I have the link on my outbound email signature. Now I get frustrated with folks who do not use it.

Warning, I had the link on my webpage and the mutual fund wholesalers and other time wasters would set appointments. Do no recommend leaving it on a public page.
brentb843 , January 11, 2012
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stephenw585
I use Tungle intermittantly with people who want to meet with me, and I love it!
stephenw585 , January 11, 2012
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vguettlein
http://www.timetrade.com/product.aspx. Definitely a great value.
vguettlein , January 11, 2012
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kyleh402
Do you know of any that work with a Mac? Specifically Outlook for Mac?
kyleh402 , January 11, 2012
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Chris Winn
To link this to a recent post on CRM that Andy put out here...
Salesforce.com has a meeting scheduling tool that works well also. I guess the real question here is to see which of these apps integrate best into advisor CRMs.

As computing moves to the cloud, Outlook becomes less and less important. However, is seems to currently be the "duct tape" that is connecting several apps these days. Do any of these apps have good integrations with CRMs?



Chris Winn , January 11, 2012
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lbawealth
I have used the salesforce.com tool and Tungle. Tungle gives the cleint my entire availability and lets them pick the time where salesforce.com asks me to pick three times to send to the client. Great to give a prospect or client the options but find that half call to setup the meeting at the time they saw available.
lbawealth , January 12, 2012

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