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Introducing… Appointedd’s native Zapier integration

At Appointedd we are constantly innovating to add new features to our award-winning booking and scheduling platform. It’s our practice to listen to our clients and prioritise new features that meet their demand, but it wasn’t feasible to create a native integration with every single requested app, until Zapier entered the chat. Zapier is a platform that allows users to move information between web apps, including communication, HR, Marketing, Sales, CRM and Support apps. We are now proud to offer businesses the opportunity to integrate their scheduling tools with 4000+ apps. You can find the full list here.

 

Nerdy bits

Although Appointedd does offer webhooks, using these requires developer knowledge and platforms. Zapier offers a user-friendly interface to connect various apps, either by using existing workflow templates or by creating completely unique information flows. Whether you’re techy or not, you can easily set up and use Zapier to connect with other tools.

Key benefits and how it works for you

With the Zapier integration you can move customer and booking information from Appointedd into other systems of their choice. Some examples of popular use cases include (but are not limited to):

  • to gather CRM information during a booking flow. In this case, the customer information gathered in Appointedd’s booking tool will be shared with a dedicated CRM system, where it would connect that information to specific customer records in tools like Salesforce or Hubspot
  • to gather marketing consent and communication details in booking flows. In this case, the consent agreed in the booking flow will be sent to a marketing system, and enable you to send out compliant marketing communications via tools like Mailchimp or Hubspot.
  • to gather booking data into an analytics software. In this case, your Appointedd data will be shared to a tool like Google Analytics, where you can analyse/add to your existing dashboards.
  • to streamline invoicing. In this case, your Appointedd system will be connected to a tool like Xero or Quickbooks to automate your invoicing via the accounting software.
  • to manage recruitment. In this case, the personal information gathered in your Appointedd booking will be shared to track in an HR/recruitment software, such as Breezy.

The exact benefits will vary from user to user as this integration is super flexible – the opportunities are endless! The biggest overall benefit here is the possibilities themselves. Users can now connect Appointedd to (almost) any system via a user-friendly interface and create unique information flows to get their desired end result.

How to make a zap

Follow along with our how to make a zap guide to set up Zapier on your account and make your first zap. If you have any questions while zapping, you can get in touch with our 24/7 support chat for a helping hand. The chat box is always available in the bottom right hand corner of your screen when you’re on in your account.

Want to receive regular updates about our new product features and latest releases? Sign up to our newsletter for a monthly rundown of what’s up at Appointedd!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Appointedd’s shiny new release empowers users to be more secure in their account. Calling everyone from Compliance Managers in financial services, to small business owners, everyone has a need to keep customer data safe!

Single sign-on (SSO) offers a simple and secure way for users to access Appointedd. With SSO enabled, users can sign in with their existing credentials without having to use Appointedd specific ones. This gives users, and organisations, the control to choose their authentication method, while eliminating weak password use and the need to remember different email and password combinations.

Nerdy bits

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an open standard that allows identity providers (such as MS Azure Active Directory) to pass sign in credentials to service providers (such as Appointedd). In the same way you can manage user access to various systems through one central Active Directory/Identity Provider such as MS Azure!

The new feature works with any provider using SAML 2.0 on most commonly used user management systems, including MS Azure.

How SAML SSO works and its benefits

Once enabled by an admin, this highly requested feature allows users to

  • manage users from one central location
  • increase security and control
  • enhance the Apppointedd user experience

How to set it up yourself

You can follow along with our SAML SSO support guide here to set up SSO for your users. If you have any questions while configuring SSO on your account, you can get in touch with our 24/7 support chat for a helping hand. You can learn more about how SAML authentication works with MS Azure AD here.

Want to know more about SSO/SAML’s all about? Check out this blog by Parallels that goes into detail on the topic.

Sign up to our webinar to learn more and get the lowdown on how to use it in practice, and get exclusive tips from the experts. In the short 30 minute webinar, with Malcolm McVie, Operations and Compliance Manager and Madeline Fish, Client Success Manager we’ll cover:

  • best practice for data security across the digital tools you use
  • why data security is essential to online bookings
  • how to set up your account to be as secure as possible
  • Q&A on data security practices
A photo of someone scrolling through their phone, sitting next to other people, also on their phones.

Now that you know how to enable your customers to book direct via Facebook and Instagram, here are five key ways to engage your social media followers and turn them into customers:

1. Casual social media scrollers are lazy.

They’re more likely to do what we want them to if it has few steps and requires little time to complete. Each time your potential customer has to tap to a profile, load a browser page or open an app, it’s another step where you could lose them. Minimise one, and get more bookings!

2. Have a clear call to action!

Tell your followers exactly what you want them to do, and tell them why they should do it. For example, if you have a new service you’re offering, don’t just announce the service but also tell your followers to tap that ‘book now’ button in your bio to try it! 

3. Test what works best.

Every audience has its quirks, for example, are you getting way more Instagram story views than reach on your posts? You can test how engaged that audience is by putting a call to action in both your story and you grid post, and see which works best. You can also test between Facebook and Instagram – on Instagram grid posts, followers have to click the link in your bio, so there’s more steps for them to take. This might mean you’ll get more clicks from Facebook, where you can put a link right into the caption, or on Instagram stories, where you can add a button with a link.

4. Use the tools available to you.

Social media platforms evolve every day, and they have a wealth of tools available to business owners. Facebook has everything from a ‘book now’ button to in-app storefronts, so there’s bound to be something for every business model. Make sure you’ve gone through all your options, and are making use of the tools that are relevant to you.

5. Listen to your audience!

Social listening is an important tactic to understanding your audience and knowing what they want. Offer opportunities for your audience to engage and share their thoughts with you via questions and polls. Not only will this help you understand your audience better, it’ll drastically improve engagement as well!

Keen to start your next customer journey straight from social media with a ‘book now’ button? Get one on your profile with Appointedd!

 

 

QR code, technology launched in mid 90’s, was around us since then but had to wait until the global pandemic for its big moment.

From queueing and contact tracing, to capacity management and virtual stores – all touchless – QR codes were and are available to ease stress of crowded spaces.

Here’s why sending QR codes in your email communications is a good idea

A QR (quick response) code is a hardlink that can store text. Optical readers can then read this text to display the information that is behind it.

QR codes can be useful to send in email communications so that customers can scan them with their mobile devices to bring up information that you would like them to receive. Such as sale page or another booking tool.

Another way that you could use QR codes, is by generating them for each customer and then scanning them when they arrive to check them into their booking. In order to do so you can make use of Appointedd’s API to update the arrival status of the customer.

How to create QR codes using Google Charts API

You can create QR codes on the fly with a GET URL request. The root URL is:

https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?

You can then use cht=qr to specify that this is a QR code and chs=<width>x<height> to specify the image size.

You then need to add chl=<data> and fill in the data that you would like to show when the QR is scanned.

You can then if you wish add chld=<error_correction_level>|<margin> which can help with error correction.

If you wish to learn more about this check out google’s support page.

Here is an example URL that when scanned will take you to the Appointedd website.

How to use communications to send QR codes in your email communications

If you would like to send the same QR code to every customer that books with you, then you need to create a static link and input it into the content of your email. You can do so using our standard communication functionality which you can learn all about here.

Here is an example of an email which is directing a customer to a URL which will generate a QR code which then opens the Appointedd website:

If you would like to send a unique QR code to every customer, then you need to create a dynamic link that pulls in the information that is relevant to the customer. In order to do so you need to use our advanced communications functionality so that you can create dynamic content. You can learn everything you need to know about sending advanced communications here.

Using the example of generating QR codes that you can scan to update the arrival status of the customer, the advanced content would look like so:

This would then display as the following in the customer email:

Within the data input of this URL we have input the customer ID and booking ID variable which is a unique combination. We are also using the Appointedd API to update the customer on the booking using the ID. You can learn more about this here.

Note: Don’t forget all requests to the API need to be authenticated by your Appointedd organisation’s API key. You can find this on the API Settings page on your Appointedd web application.

As the world tentatively begins to wave ‘cheerio’ to Covid 19 restrictions (I guess most of us just want to see it in our rear-view mirror), professional services firms (PSFs) have been both positively and negatively impacted contemporaneously. Some PSF clients tell us that navigating the regulatory, ethical and legal responsibilities of this pandemic have provided many opportunities for lawyers, accountants, financiers and consulting service providers. However, this additional business for PSFs has often been negated by extra operational costs given that many of their clients’ priorities changed, resulting in turbulent workflows, delayed or cancelled projects.

Therefore many PSFs are now adopting new ways to embrace strategic cost reduction processes by firmly embedding robust digital process solutions at the core of their offering. The most impactful of which include scalable booking technology, automated communications, team and resource management systems to save time and improve their customer experiences. Cost reduction through effective digital transformation. It can seem inconvenient at first but quickly it underpins the very success of enlightened businesses.

The time is now

Our sector leading clients suggest that now is the crucial moment for professional services to learn from the massive shifts in business process and communication, and to apply these lessons to both mid-term action plans and long-term strategies to flourish. Dialogue with leaders from a plethora of other sectors have also confirmed this scenario over the last few months.

Today we’re all much more aware of the benefits of video calls and virtual collaboration tools in professional environments. The “virtual ways of work” have meant that we are missing out on physical human interactions. Let’s face it, we have all missed our colleagues at some point (and yes, some more than others). But I certainly haven’t missed driving in rush hour or shovelling snow off my car in the hope of getting to work safely when February throws everything at us, and I’m not the only one. A recent study found that 57% of staff do not want to go back to the old normal, and that returning to would negatively impact the mental health of 35% of employees. It’s for these exact reasons that many believe a return to normal to be near impossible.

The new normal

Professional Services Firms, their clients and workforces have developed much deeper understandings of digital communications and business management tools over lockdown out of necessity. But some have even started to question the importance of face-to-face meetings, working in the office and suiting up. This has been a challenge for some PSFs as their traditional fee-charging structures have been built up around physical meetings. Others are looking to embrace a hybrid future. But most businesses we’ve engaged with are absolutely convinced of one thing – analogue business systems are on their way out.

The exponential increase in the adoption of digital business technologies amongst PSFs means that there has been a rapid transformation since Jan 2020. PSFs truly understand that digital optimization is the new cutting-edge game in town. At Appointedd we’ve been amazed at just how much our clients have benefited from world-class booking solutions. From making their services bookable online 24/7, enhancing resource allocation with team scheduling and optimising CRM with automated email and SMS comms. It’s ‘the’ technology that’s really driving business optimisation, growth and profitability.

Powering global recruitment

For example, since introducing Appointedd’s online booking tools, V.Ships have empowered candidates to self-schedule phone and virtual face-to-face interviews. Once the candidate chooses the date and time and enters their personal information, a confirmation email is automatically triggered. Not only did this digital transformation enhance the candidate experience so significantly to result in a 46% increase in bookings, but it saved V.Ships large recruitment team an incredible 143 days of work in only a three month period. Candidates no longer have to wait hours for V.Ships to confirm their interview or assessment time – Appointedd seamlessly syncs with the recruiters calendar, only showing the candidates available times and confirmation emails are automatically triggered at the time of booking.

For forward-thinking business it’s clear, Covid 19 has created business opportunities right now for which agile PSFs can capitalise. Digital business transformation isn’t new. We only need to think about how Apple has transformed since the nineties (when they were almost bust), or how major fashion retailers unlocked the online shopping boom.

The opportunities

The market for professional advice, services and solutions (which encompass legal, accounting and consulting firms) is bright, but hybrid. Following an analysis by McKinsey, companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer interactions by 4 years, whilst the share of digitally enabled products in their portfolios has advanced a shocking seven years. Not only are our staff expecting a new normal, but our customers are too. Only those agile enough to embrace this digital transformation can capitalise on this bright future.  

PSFs are investing in their data analytics and digital solution capabilities meaning that they are well placed to benefit through significant scale with their increasingly digital offerings. Support from companies like Appointedd means they can turbocharge their business operations and growth.

Impress with an enhanced customer experience

One such professional services firm that embraced digital transformation is TaxAssist Accountants which, after implanting Appointedd online booking and CRM suite, experienced a 95% increase in the number of positive reviews left due to such a simple customer experience. In a sector with which electronic word of mouth is so fiercely fought over, online scheduling software is an easy win.

Appointedd digital solutions provide a core enabler especially where service delivery is not dependent on location. Enabling digitally transformed models where accessibility and responsiveness are key, will differentiate businesses which are committed to optimising client experiences, staff effectiveness and overall business success.

It’s slick and it’s a slam dunk. If you think things are at a tipping point and believe this is the way forward to your professional service firm, please give Appointedd a call. It just might be the best call you’ll make today. Oh… and ‘Cheerio to Covid’ has a nice ring to it don’t you think? The thought of it certainly made me smile.

appointedd google analytics

Before it became obvious that the current year is going to be different than any year before, the CTO of Tableau named some data trends that will shape 2020. Last, but not the least item on this list, is data management, which is the catalyst for business harmony. At Appointedd, we love both business harmony and data management. That’s why we’re proactively working against the data deficiency that, in some way or another, affects the majority of organisations, big or small. The way that Google Analytics “listens” to Appointedd bookings really streamlines operations.

Appointedd’s tech stack is equipped with powerful reporting tools that enable you to track the performance of your bookings, team, and revenue, among other metrics. But what about the first stage of the user journey, that starts long before the booking is made? Simply set up Google Analytics to “listen” for successful booking and empower your business to get even more precious intel on the performance of your booking widgets. Here’s how and, more importantly, why…

Why set up your Google Analytics to listen for a successful booking?

  • With your Appointedd bundle comes an unlimited amount of booking widgets. Create, embed, and distribute as many of them as you wish. Integrating Appointedd with Google Analytics enables you to access more crucial business insights from your prospects, visitors, and customers.
  • Understand performance of specific (landing) pages on your website and social media channels, and the conversion behind these marketing avenues.
  • Emphasize pages and channels that work better than others and replace or work on those that are underperforming.
  • Support your business spending with clear ROI insights.
  • Add more metrics to your reporting – such as bounce rates, time spent on page before the booking has been made, visitor to customer conversion, used keywords that resulted in a booking, etc.
  • Be better prepared for the service that has been booked, whether you’re inviting to book a demo, dog grooming, or an interview.

How to set up your Google Analytics to listen for a successful booking?

First things first, so let’s make sure you’ve got access to three following properties:

  • Content management system of your website. You’ll need to access the file, which stores functions. For example, if you’re using WordPress, the file most likely would be called functions.php and stored in the folder with your theme.
  • Edit access to Google Analytics.
  • Read, Edit, Approve, and Publish access to Google Tag Manager, should you need to yet set up a Universal Analytics tag.
  • Using this handy support article, create a function to parse the incoming data and listen for a message being posted and handle it with created parser.
  • That’s it, now Google Analytics treats your bookings as events opening the range of additional reporting capabilities.

Make your business finances stress-free by automatically generating an invoice with every online booking

At Appointedd, everything we do is about problem solving. We’re always looking to collaborate with teams and tools that make it easier for you to manage your business – which brings us to our FreeAgent integration. 

Appointedd has teamed up with FreeAgent, the cloud-based accounting software, to help you take bookings online and manage the impact of those bookings right the way through your business.

How does the Appointedd and FreeAgent integration work?

By connecting your Appointedd and FreeAgent accounts, you can create invoices straight from your bookings.

When someone books an appointment with your business via Appointedd, a customer record is automatically created within our built-in CRM.

Appointedd then pushes that customer record through to the FreeAgent system, where an invoice is created and attached to the customer record.

The power of the integration is in ensuring the details of that customer are entirely in sync across both systems, and in tune with the details the business holds about that customer.

 


Seamless accounting built into your bookings

Appointedd’s online booking integration with FreeAgent takes care of the admin side of managing appointments, from the initial booking all the way through to the invoice.

With the Appointedd and FreeAgent integration…

  • Customer records are triggered as soon as a customer makes a booking
  • Those records are automatically created and maintained
  • Your business can maintain regulatory compliance effortlessly
  • You can use the time saved to take care of your business

With booking and finance admin taken care of, you’re free to concentrate on your core operations – in other words, spending time doing what you do best.


How do I get the Appointedd and FreeAgent integration?

The first step is to sign up to Appointedd if you haven’t already.

Next, pay a visit to our friends at FreeAgent if you don’t already have an account.

Once you’ve done that, you can connect your FreeAgent and Appointedd accounts in a few simple steps:

  1. Go to the integrations tab on Appointedd
  2. Click on the FreeAgent logo to log into your account
  3. Start generating invoices and manage your bookings seamlessly

Save time by automatically generating invoices for meetings – set your integration up today.

Add FreeAgent now

We’ve got some big news to share with you – Appointedd achieved its ISO 27001 certification!

If you’re scratching your head at those letters and numbers, don’t worry. All will become clear. 

For those who aren’t security experts, ISO 27001 is a standard of best practices for managing information security. As a tech company, specializing in online booking solutions, data security is something that’s really important to us, and an ISO certification is a great way to formalise that. 

We had a chat with Sarah and Gintare from Appointedd’s Information Security Management (ISM) team, the superstars who guided us through this process, to find out more about ISO 27001 and what it means for us and our customers. 

Can you tell us a little more about ISO 27001?

It’s a standard centred on creating an Information Security Management System, which is a way of describing the processes and guidelines governing the way we work in relation to information security. ISO 27001 focuses on three main areas – the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and the facilities used to process it. 

When did the process of working towards accreditation begin?

The conversation began well before the process actually started! It’s something we had been talking about for a long time, but we began thinking about it seriously in May last year (2019). After the initial discussions and some in-depth research, we made the decision to go ahead with it. The process really kicked off in June.

Who was involved with it?

We figured we would need a range of superpowers to get Appointedd’s ISO 27001 accreditation over the line – technical and operational knowledge, as well as the drive to turn our plans into action. As ISO touches every area of the business, those involved had to know the business, and how it operates, from top to bottom.

We decided we would have Sarah, our COO, Greg, our CTO, and myself as Finance & Operations Assistant, driving the project, supported by our CEO and the board.

The whole team effectively got involved in the process so we tried to make it fun. We had a few ISO pub quizzes (that got pretty heated) so I think we got the message across!

Can you tell us about the audit — how it’s carried out, who by, and what happens? 

The final audit consists of two stages and is carried out by an independent third party. Stage 1 is about having the right processes in place, Stage 2 is about making sure we are adhering to these processes. During Stage 1 there is a review of Information Security Management System (ISMS) documentation – the auditor is checking if the scope is defined, the risks are identified, the statement of applicability is completed, and whether everything has been documented in company policies and processes.

Stage 2 assesses how the ISMS is implemented – basically, whether we’re doing what we say we do. The auditor checks this through a series of interviews with members of staff. Thankfully everyone at Team Appointedd sailed through the interviews and the auditor was really impressed! We were called out for two areas of best practice, where we had gone above and beyond what was needed. The auditor said that we’d embraced the ISO 27001 standard, the awareness of the standard was threaded throughout the organisation, and that it was clear we viewed the security of our clients’ data as a priority.

When did you get the good news?

The good news reached us on Friday the 31st of January that, after everyone’s hard work, we had achieved our ISO 27001 accreditation! It was a great way to end the week! We had the certificate in our hands by the 10th of February, which meant we could officially share the good news. 

What does ISO 27001 mean for customers and the business?

At Appointedd information security has always been important to us, and we’ve always taken the security of our customer, employee, and business information very seriously. The process of getting accredited was really about formalising a lot of the good processes we already had in place. Our ISO 27001 certificate represents the hard work we’ve put in every day to stay secure, and is proof that the data of our clients, and their customers, is safe with us. 

What happens now? Any next steps?

We’ll have annual surveillance visits for the next two years, and a recertification after three years. ISO 27001 is all about continuous improvement – not only will we be making sure we follow our policies and processes, and reviewing them regularly, but with a view to improving our ISMS and deepening our knowledge in the field.

 

Person Holding Smartphone Appointment Scheduling App Appointedd

Appointment booking app on the go

The world has gone mobile… so has our appointment scheduling app.

In 2018, for the first time, the majority of global internet traffic was from mobile devices. We now use our phones to keep in touch with our friends, our families, and our businesses, 24/7 – no matter where we are in the world. 

The mobile trend doesn’t look like it’s changing. People want to take the power of their favourite software, sites, and tools, and go anywhere. 

That’s why we’re excited to bring you our new and improved Appointedd mobile app, which puts the power of your favourite scheduling system in your pocket. 

Access your schedule anywhere

In an ever-more connected world, our schedules are filling up. Our mobiles mean we’re always reachable, as more of us are taking our work with us wherever we go, whether we’re working remotely, on the way to a meeting, or curled up at home. 

With Appointedd, your business doesn’t stop just because you do. Bookings come in 24/7. The new mobile app lets you regain control of your schedule, access your bookings anywhere, and take care of business whenever you need to. 

Mockup Online Booking System Mobile App Appointedd

What can you do with our new appointment scheduling mobile app?

When combined with our web appointment scheduling software, the companion mobile app lets you take the power of Appointedd with you. 

  • Access your Appointedd account on the go
  • Manage your team’s schedules
  • Amend, reschedule, and cancel bookings 
  • Monitor payments, and access and edit customer records
  • Get push notifications for new bookings
  • Make the most of your time, no matter where you are

When 34% of bookings take place outside of regular business hours, it pays to have access to your schedule anytime, anywhere. 

The Appointedd mobile app brings your bookings to your fingertips.

What’s new with the (new) Appointedd mobile app?

Our mission at Appointedd is to schedule a connected world, and that world doesn’t stand still. So neither do we. 

We’ve made some updates to the mobile app that will make it easier to use, faster to navigate, and will give you a 360-degree view of your business and bookings, all from your mobile. 

Here are some highlights:

  • Agenda view allows you to see all of your resources’ bookings in one place
  • Enhanced “new booking” flow allows you to book more quickly than before
  • You can mark a customer’s arrival status in just two taps without leaving the page
  • Improved group bookings let you view all customers on a booking, their number of spaces, and their payment and arrival status
  • Performance improvements ensure more stability

Why should you download the Appointedd app?

Because you love us? And if that’s not enough, there are plenty of benefits.

  • Work in a way that suits you, wherever, wherever, and however you choose
  • Deal with challenges as and when they appear
  • Enjoy peace of mind knowing you can take control of your schedule in just a few taps

Our work has a habit of running away with us. With the Appointedd mobile app, know that you’re ready for whatever crops up. 

Download on App Store

Download on Google Play

 

This week, Team Appointedd has been at Innovate Finance’s Global Summit as part of UK Fintech Week.

Global Summit was a true celebration of a sector worth some £7bn in the UK alone, and one employing more than 76,500 people. Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, kicked off the two day event with a message of change –  “new finance will be more inclusive, allowing everyone to be better connected, better informed, and more empowered.”

People across all industries talk of changing consumer expectations and as Team Appointedd travel to, network at, and partner with events in the UK and beyond, we constantly hear about “the next generation of consumers” and how organisations are having to adapt to these changing behaviours and demands.  

So, what exactly is changing?

In his keynote, Phillip Hammond declared the UK as a “Fintech Powerhouse”, claiming London was predicted to overtake San Francisco as home to the most Fintech unicorns in the world by the end of 2019.

He warned, however, that there is no room for complacency. China and the US have many thousands of gifted engineers all working extremely hard to displace the UK in those stats.

Here’s some of my thoughts, insights, and views from UK Fintech Week on how we maintain our advantage, all gathered in the hallowed halls of the Global Summit…

Great expectations

As consumers, we expect more from the organisations we choose to engage with. We demand services and products 24/7, and expect personalisation to be at the forefront of our individual experiences with brands. Immediacy is the new standard as well as the need to connect an app to our fingertips for every decision we make – whether that be ordering a pizza, booking a haircut, applying for a mortgage or making an investment.

On demand

Right now is the new norm” said Russell Pert, the UK Head of Industry, Financial Services for Facebook. Customer experience has to differentiate,  he continued “52% of consumers will switch providers because of a bad customer experience”. Can any organisation, in any market, afford to take this gamble?

Accountability

Companies are now being held accountable. What they say they do in a mobile first world, must be what translates into their brand experience, whether that be in a physical location, through a bot, online or on the phone.

Millennials demand a consistent and reliable way of using and accessing services, and really, is that too much to ask in 2019?  Today’s consumers want tangible outcomes, they want a memorable experiences with personalisation throughout their interactions, and above all, they want on-demand access to financial services and products, 24/7, from anywhere, in person or online.

If your brand, be it in financial services or elsewhere, is not consistent and convenient, you can’t be surprised if they choose to move on.

New money

Jeremy Roberts, Head of UK Retail Business for Blackrock quoted a recent survey stating that  “67% of millennial’s felt that financial institutions don’t care about them, with 49% of millennial’s not even knowing where to start when it same to making important financial decisions.”

So, this is where you need to start – engagement.

For digital natives, poor customer experience – online, on the phone or in person – often stems from “one click too many”. If brands get it wrong, it can be a matter of seconds before the user simply clicks away, chooses a challenger, and tells 12 friends how awful their experience was. It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail or financial services, once you lose the customer, there’s little chance of getting them back. Today, recommendations count and experiences matter.

Over the next couple of decades, trillions of pounds will move into the hands of millenials. If  over 50% of your customers order clothes and food online and specifically out of traditional working hours, do you think they will wait in branch on their lunch hour, or sit “patiently” on hold to make a simple transaction?

I wouldn’t and neither would they.

Brave new world

As I spoke with people working within the Fintech space, we agreed that engagement between start-ups and large financial institutions is not happening fast enough and the issue often lies in the fact that large organisations are siloed across product and data lines. The appetite is there but the execution is often difficult.

To echo the Chancellor’s sentiment, the Fintech’s of today will simply be Financial Services in the future.

I could not agree more – innovation is simply business as usual in the modern world. So, to that end, I’d like to round up with shout outs to the companies that stood out for me at the Global Summit…

Wealthify

An online investment service which lets you build personal investment plans and then manages them all from your mobile, Wealthify has recently launched an innovative partnership with Aviva. CIO, Michelle Pearce Burke said there were several mutual benefits in their partnership; large organisations get to take advantage of new technology that they couldn’t build in house and Fintechs can utilise the customer network larger organisations have. It’s a win-win.

Aviva

The second doff of the hat to Aviva is in their core business. Blair Turnbull, the MD of Retail and Digital at Aviva, used his speech at UK Fintech Week to touch on how Aviva have had to move fast to adapt. In an industry as traditional as insurance, embracing agile from the inside out was a mindset shift as well as a process change. As recent as 3 years ago, Aviva asked their customers how their door locks shaped up to modern housing regulations. This was built into an online webform of approx 100 questions for customers to complete. Now, existing customers don’t have to answer 1 question to get a quote.

Habito

Habito are agents for change in the mortgage space, transforming what is traditionally a fraught and admin-intense process into a stress-free online dream. The CEO of Habito went as far as saying that the process of getting a mortgage is so stressful it can actually affect your sexual life. And really, who wants this to be the effect of their financial product?

As Habito’s subway ads warn, applying for a mortgage can even suck your eyebrows into a pit of darkness … smart marketing for a company paving the way for people who refuse to accept the dreaded mortgage application dread.

Appointedd

And the last word has to go to our own product, Appointedd, and how our online booking platform is transforming MiFID II compliance for financial services firms who care even more than ever about meaningful engagement with their clients. Michael Gruener, Head of Retail for Europe and Middle East for Blackrock reiterated that MiFID II is impacting everything from profits, margins and productivity and that advisors are actually having less meetings because of regulation. Appointedd mitigates impact by streamlining the management of meetings and appointments, and building an automated digital audit trail of meetings, and the communications around them.

Compliance in the 21st Century is about lots of detailed rules. The days of judgement and options are gone. This the kind of thing IT is really good at. Doing the same mundane thing the same way over and over and over again.

The FCA policy says minimum legal requirements can be summarised as the date and time, and location of the meeting, the identity of attendees and initiator, and relevant info about the order. While some firms in attendance at UK Fintech Week may be drowning in the added admin created by MiFID II, the firms using Appointedd are seeing increased engagement, automated compliance and improved customer satisfaction because they are enabling their customers to book meetings on-demand, from their phone 24/7. The software captures and tracks appointments – simple. The information integrates with your calendar, CRM and accounting systems. Job done.

So, there’s no excuse to be behind the times in this brave new world. Fintech is simply Financial Services 2.0. And the swathe of Fintech software providers? Well, we’ve got your back.