Have you ever stopped to consider how many emails you exchange every day, every week, and every month just to schedule meetings? We have, and in light of the frequency with which we all engage in the calendar scheduling process, the numbers are downright astonishing.
Turns out booking a single meeting often takes days. And if the meeting is with a client, prospect, or potential hire, by the time you get to this part of the process, you’ve probably ALREADY put in weeks of back and forth!
We call it booking friction, and it looks a lot like this hypothetical (and all too typical) email scheduling thread:
Salesperson (Thursday, 10:43 am): I’d love to walk you through a demo. How about next Tuesday at 2:00?
Prospect (Thursday, 8:08 pm): Sorry. I’m booked. I could do something later in the afternoon.
Salesperson (Thursday, 8:35 pm): Tuesday at 4:00?
Prospect (Friday, 3:23 pm): Rats. I forgot about my daughter’s hockey game. Maybe sometime Wednesday?
Salesperson (Friday, 3:29 pm): Great! I’m open from 10:00 to noon, and any time after 2:30.
Prospect (Monday, 11:56 am): Hmmm. Could you do 1:30?
Salesperson (Monday, 12:03 pm): No. I’m booked then. But I could do 2:30.
Prospect (Wednesday, 11:15 am): Looking forward to it! I’ve copied my assistant, Trent, here. Trent, could you book this?
Assistant Trent (Wednesday, 11:20 am): We’re all set for 2:30. Let me know if there are any changes.
Emails exchanged: 9
Time elapsed: 6 days, 33 minutes
Meetings scheduled: 1
When you stop to consider it, this kind of scheduling friction adds up—consuming time that would doubtlessly be better spent on other tasks. Consider this: each external meeting booking involves an average back-and-forth of seven emails. Assuming team members book 20+ meetings a month (and that’s conservative), that adds up to 140 emails—just for scheduling!
Those numbers have real consequences on sales and hiring productivity. Studies show that 50% of all sales go to the vendor that responds first—and 60% of all job candidates are lost before an interview is scheduled.
So the Riva product team did what they do best: we listened to customers and compared existing solutions to find out why they were not working. How hard could it be to just match up everyone’s availability?
Turns out it’s not so easy.
After evaluating the limited universe of available solutions, mulling customer input, and identifying new opportunities for improvement on the status quo, they arrived at a list of must-have features to guide their development process:
- It must be integrated. The last thing you need is another application to integrate into the customer experience—or into the data flow behind the scenes.
- It must be broadly compatible. This means connecting digital meeting platforms, CRMs, and calendars—often across multiple platforms you and your colleagues use in the same organization. Clearly, it needs to connect to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, but the data generated from the booking must also be ported through calendar programs, CRMs, and even data lakes.
- It must be customizable. More scheduling options mean more flexibility to accommodate personal preferences and conform to enterprise business rules throughout the booking process.
- It must be intuitive. When you use a new booking solution, the experience should be significantly easier for parties on both sides of the meeting—requiring absolutely no learning curve for you or the party receiving the invite.
- It needs to be secure. In sensitive industries like finance, insurance, government, and healthcare, even the exchange of scheduling data can increase security and compliance risks. An effective solution can’t deliver convenience and efficiency while exposing sensitive data like MNPI.
- It must be intelligent. A booking application should learn and improve as it’s used, embracing user preferences, resolving pain points, and continuously streamlining the booking process.
Now that we’ve set the stage, we’re going to leave you with a cliffhanger. Be sure to check back for a future post, when we’ll take you on a tour of currently available booking solutions—and reveal a brand new option that stands head and shoulders above the rest.