As time runs out for traditional customer acquisition by banks, digital onboarding comes of age

October 9, 2018

Also published on Forbes

Banks can treat onboarding as a process digitization project, or a module to implement as part their digital banking platform. However that would be wasting the potential of one of the most strategic digital banking initiatives possible.

Research has consistently shown that customer experience in financial services is leagues behind other verticals that consumers regularly interact with. I consider this a massive opportunity. Banks who figure out that mobile is not just a channel but a lifestyle, and understand that providing a fast, intuitive and secure mobile experience is at the heart of fulfilling high customer satisfaction demands, will be the winners in the digital age. This is where onboarding comes in. Onboarding is the critical foundational building block for a digital banking strategy. This is the one shot you get to redefine your relationship with customers.

Onboarding is not something new for banks. Banks have taken three key approaches to onboarding in recent years. The branch centric approach relies on a customer visiting a retail branch to utilize printed forms and banking advisors to open an account. In a transitional approach banks start the onboarding process online and finish it seamlessly in a branch. Lastly you have the digital approach where onboarding is possible without visiting the branch. However all these approaches have been hijacked with a back-office workflow, compliance centric view that puts the ease of the bank first. This is understandable with the new regulatory mood. Banks also continue to operate in functional silos so do not look at consumer relationships with as much empathy as they are capable of.

Is there a way for banks to stay compliant, accelerate their digital road map, and significantly upgrade their customer experience? The answer is a resounding yes and it lies in digital onboarding done right.

Start by delighting the customer as the core imperative for the onboarding process. The most robust onboarding experiences are a result of deep research on customer needs and goals translated into customer centric workflows. This primary research data is augmented by powerful data analytics that identify cross-sell opportunities based on profile. The result is a personalized experience that seems so comfortable the customer will want to talk about it to their peers, and so intelligent that the customer realizes how much you appreciate their business. You can further smartly add hooks that get the customer intrigued and provide the opening for creating an emotional connection with the customer.

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