We spoke with OnceHub CMO, Aviram Hinenzon, about the difference in scheduling approaches and how to design conversational flows that help your customer along and create value at every turn. The future is here and it is up to us to utilize it in novel and intuitive ways and cut through the noise with helpful and engaging approaches to automation.
Scheduling Q&A with Aviram Hinenzon
What would you say is the key difference between a scheduling infrastructure and a meeting journey builder?
The main difference lies with the scope of the problem you are trying to solve. When people think about ‘scheduling’, they usually have one main use case in mind which is the need or want to meet with someone and requiring a mutually beneficial time in which to do so. Historically, this interaction consisted of back-and-forth communication.
In the digital world, this problem persisted but instead of happening telephonically or via secretaries and the like, the interaction moved to email. While novel at first, the process proved extremely cumbersome and ineffective as email threads could go on infinitely trying to find a suitable meeting time. With the introduction of the booking calendar or scheduling infrastructure, finding a time became much more convenient and intuitive.
When we think about a meeting journey builder, we are thinking about solving a problem with a broader scope. When I’m showing you my calendar it is after we agreed that it is a good idea that we meet. There is already buy-in and agreement and priority, potentially urgency too. We already had to agree that we meet and what we’re actually going to be talking about and to some extent that we are both interested in actually engaging.
There is always a spectrum about how much we know about each other, and a meeting journey builder is about building on that and creating context prior to even opening our calendars.
OnceHub’s slogan is ‘When Easy Scheduling isn’t Enough’. How do you interpret this in relation to our core offering and functionalities?
People associated digital calendars with quickness and efficiency. We replaced the analogue redundancy with intuitive calendars and faster ways to meet with people.
Bringing to market a meeting journey builder, we wanted to convey that the quickness and simplicity isn't enough and that building the journey is more about sophistication and doing things the right way. As a result, it becomes Less about the easy steps of selecting date and time and more about creating meaning and relevance.
This doesn’t mean we made the process more complicated, bur rather that we made it more dynamic and intuitive. We want to solve problems beyond the opening of a calendar.
As it relates to our products, the main addition to the scheduling dynamic is the conversational aspect we enable. If you want to engage and learn from prospects before showing them your calendar, you need tools to do that. Those kinds of tools are digital experiences unto themselves that create conversation and add layers and complexity to an interaction.
Additionally, sometimes an interaction is not the standard format of a meeting but could take the form of another kind of digital experience. Scheduling was always about at least two people meeting with each other, but with conversational experiences you can open up the spectrum of engagements and allow for a more natural exchange of information. Maybe this is through a live chat, maybe a chatbot will suffice.
Automation is at the forefront of digital transformation and is a widely discussed topic. What are your hopes for people who have yet to adopt automation?
People make connections between automation and implementation complexity which is beyond what they want to invest. Creating effective automation doesn't come from thin air, you need to invest in how you want to construct the way in which your software works for you.
Historically, this required a lot of development and technical skills. My hope for people to adopt automation is familiarity and getting comfortable with the fact that automation requires less technical skill and can seriously benefit you and how you go about your business.
Anyone can know design experiences without any technical skill and I think the advances in AI will continue this and place enormous power in people’s hands.
Do you think there is more value to automation as a cost-saving implementation or as an efficiency and productivity enhancement?
I see two cases. One is doing something manually then replacing it with automation and in that case it is totally a cost-saving implementation because you get your time back and time is, after all, money.
Here automation is tied very closely with reducing expenditure. But there are also tasks or processes you simply don't do at all, or don’t do yet, and in those cases when you introduce automation you gain productivity.
When you don't make use of any automation, you lose opportunities for context and clarity. Some automated tasks replace human activity, but a lot of automated processes weren't there before and create more opportunity.
I imagine that automation and generative AI will have incredible potential when used in tandem. How do you think our technologies will interact with each other in the near future?
It is difficult to say, but companies need to ensure that they create flows and interactivity between programs and applications so that users, people, don’t end up hating the advances made in technology and reject it completely.
I know people generally dislike bots and engaging with non-human interfaces but could automation play a role in enhancing customer experience and satisfaction?
It's all about expectations and the quality of the interaction. I don't agree with the notion that people dislike bots, people dislike non-effective interactions. If the interaction is effective people would love it.
If I could get all my questions answered by a magical chatbot without waiting for two days for a meeting, I would give the chatbot a hug.
With generative AI we crossed a chasm and saw the technology mature into extremely successful and efficient tools that people adore and find value in. It’s never about the bot, it's about the quality of the service people experience on the other side. There are a lot of cases where a bot can’t replace a human, so we need to design the journey so that the chatbot can introduce effective interactions and create a flow that ends up in a happy customer.
What is an everyday process, no matter how unrealistic, that you would like to have automated?
Because I lived in many different places, and I'm not great at keeping in touch, I would love a bot that would help maintain my relations with people across the world.
It should be sophisticated and nuanced, so you want to make use of technological intervention but you also want to connect with others in a human way.
To get started on automating your customer journeys and creating efficient conversations with a simple online scheduling tool, sign up for free today.
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