Practice Management

Digital calendars can be an adviser's best tech tool

Firms are using apps like Calendly to save time and make scheduling more convenient for clients

Feb 21, 2019 @ 3:38 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

One of the great promises of technology is that it will save advisers time. For some, the best time saver isn't fancy new rebalancing software or newfangled reporting software.

The tool that's really sparking joy is much simpler — digital calendars.

Elizabeth Grady, a financial consultant with Baldwin Financial Advisors, said using a free app called SimplyBook.me has been "a life changer." The app embeds into the her firm's website, and all Ms. Grady has to do is send a link to clients or prospects who want to meet.

The app syncs with personal calendar apps from Google, Microsoft and Apple, so advisers can block off when they are on vacation and holidays. Clients can use the website to change or cancel a meeting at any time, Ms. Grady said.

(More:Is it better to meet with clients in person or online?)

One of the most popular of these apps is Calendly. MILE Wealth Management founder Mark Wilson wouldn't go so far as to call it life-changing, but he said it's certainly saved him and his contacts a ton of time.

"No more back and forth. I can send several invites at once without worrying about one taking a time [or] date from another," Mr. Wilson said in an email, echoing sentiment from several advisers who also praised Calendly.

After a meeting is scheduled, Calendly notifies users that there has been an addition to the schedule. The app also integrates with CRM software (Mr. Wilson uses Wealthbox) to automatically fill in pertinent information about the client.

"Booking is automatic. Reminders are automatic. What's not to like?" Mr. Wilson said.

SilverCrest Wealth Planning founder Eric Walters estimates 90% of his clients love using the app, but there always some who don't. For them, Mr. Walters can simply send available meetings times on Calendly via email.

Mark Brinser, owner of Stewardship Advisors, recently started using a service called YouCanBook.me for scheduling meetings. One of his favorite features is classifying the type of appointment and setting rules for different kinds. For example, existing clients can't schedule a meeting sooner than a week in advance to give the firm ample time to prepare. The rule for prospects is two weeks.

Since adopting the app, Mr. Brinser has noticed clients tend to use it after traditional office hours. The app helps the firm interact with clients when it's most convenient for them.

(More:Fintech isn't just for kids)

"They no longer have to wait for a response from our office until the next day during business hours," Mr. Brinser said. "In fact, a client who is typically slow to respond to our scheduling request scheduled themselves within 24 hours of receiving the invitation to schedule a review. It has definitely improved our efficiency in scheduling client review appointments."

However, not every firm needs to adopt an entirely new app for scheduling meetings. For advisers looking to keep it simple and reduce the number of different technologies employees need to learn, the calendars from Microsoft and Google can do many of these tasks, too.

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