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Online Appointment Scheduling - Great tool or Gimmicky Feature?

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23 March 2010
Jacob Jegher
Last week someone pointed out a new feature to me on the Bank of America web site. If you enter the location finder tool, you are given a subtle option to "schedule a small business appointment." The feature isn't available for all branches and is being targeted at those branches that are equipped to handle small business needs.

bofa1

Once you click to schedule the appointment, a new window opens and you are asked a few simple questions.

bofa2

After filling out the form, the user is directed to a new screen where they select an appointment date/time from a calendar.

bofa3

The final screen asks the user to input their contact information and confirm the appointment. This is an interesting move by Bank of America as it provides an automated tool to small businesses while focusing on the importance of the relationship between the bank and the business. The problem is that this tool is buried within the branch location finder and is not tied to the small business section of the bank's web site. Perhaps it is still a very new tool and is not fully rolled out, but it would make sense to have it properly integrated within the appropriate sections of the web site and mobile banking offerings. Bank of America has the right idea with this tool and I expect other banks to follow with similar offerings. I welcome your comments and am curious to hear what you think of this initiative - please feel free to post your comments and questions. I am starting to see a lot more emphasis on small business banking in 2010 and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am currently working on a small business online banking report, please stay tuned for more info.

Comments

  • Eh, pretty gimmicky. What are they trying to do exactly, compete with Outlook and Gmail/Google Calendar?

  • Thanks for your comment Robbie. It is somewhat different as this is integrated with the bank's web site. I would also think there is a workflow here that would pass the appointment to a rep at the branch either manually or (hopefully) auto-insert it into a personal calendar.

    Folks have replied to me personally with very different opinions regarding this tool. I am interested to hear what you all think, please continue to post comments here with your opinions and thoughts.

  • Jacob,

    https://appointments.bankofamerica.com/ is a very smart move. Forget about lack of integration with the business section of the website, if I am looking for a location near me and I am on the web normally I would have to call. Now I have another option, I can schedule it on the web from my smartphone or computer. The reminder is a great idea too.

    They added another channel of communication and that was smart. I agree with you, I too expect other banks and add similar features.

    @dmgerbino

  • Great comments David. I would do the same and I completely agree with your points. I do believe though in integration with the business section of the web site, particularly if one is logged in to online banking.

  • This works really well for small businesses like beauty salons and coaches. So why wouldn't it work for a large bank?

    There are 3 benefits with this:
    * You can do the scheduling at 9pm, or when you have time
    * You can select exactly the time slot that is right for you
    * You get a reminder, so you look punctual infront of the bank manager. ^_^

  • I agree with Daniel ... this looks like a win-win for both the bank and the small business. The small business is able to establish the relationship when it is convenient to them. It's all in the execution thereafter. The first words from the banker's mouth better not be, "and you are ...?" Rather, it should be, "Paul, right ... from Paul's Pizza Palace ... we've been looking forward to seeing you".

    I can schedule my take-out at the local restaurant online; my auto service at the dealership online ... why not my small business banking?

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