New Customer Onboarding
Beyond the initial welcome (that is delivered within 2-5 days of relationship initiation), the new customer onboarding process usually extends an additional 3-6 months. The purpose of onboarding communications is to increase broader usage of the new account.
These communications many times focus on products like mobile banking, digital billpay, direct deposit and additional services like mobile deposit, account alerts, etc. Often, the sequence and cadence of communications is determined by the new customer’s level of engagement and actions taken by the new customer at each stage.
Despite the value of this stage of the customer journey, only half of the financial institutions surveyed by the Digital Banking Report currently have a structured new customer onboarding process. This is the same as leaving hundreds of dollars in potential customer value untapped. More importantly, without an expansion beyond the original account opening process, there is a greater possibility the new customer will never make your organization their primary financial institution (PFI) and may leave your institution altogether.
Below we illustrate some of the best implementations of onboarding we have seen. Each example uses a multi-step communications process over an extended period of time. These are excellent examples which can provide a guide to organizations wanting to begin or improve an onboarding process. Again, we would like to thank Mintel Comperemedia for access to their searchable competitive database that tracks direct mail, email, print advertising, mobile advertising and online banner advertising and is a go-to resource for The Financial Brand.
Fifth Third sought to keep customers informed of account details while promoting account benefits and mobile payments in the first three months of the relationship.
PayPal had a set, five-part onboarding series for new cardholders with each email addressing a different feature. Further campaigns encouraged cardholders to use PayPal for online purchases, or to pay taxes.
Building a Powerful Customer Journey
Financial services organizations try to ensure that consumers will be happy whenever they use their product or interact with an employee or customer service. Focusing only on the use of a product misses the bigger, and potentially more important, component of satisfaction – the customer’s end-to-end experience. It is important to look at the customer’s experience through their eyes – during every step of the customer journey. With this perspective, value can be optimized and satisfaction maximized.
Customer journeys include communications and interactions that occur before, during, and after the product or service is purchased. These customer journeys can be long, across multiple channels and touchpoints, often lasting weeks or months. Welcoming a new customer and building engagement through an onboarding process is a perfect example of how to improve the customer experience beyond the use of the service. Even cross-selling can improve the experience if the service(s) offered are in alignment with the consumer’s needs at the time the need is highest.
The challenge with building a strong customer journey is the siloed nature of a banking organization. In many cases, each individual silo is the keeper of the touchpoint communications the customer receives. This can create an overload of uncoordinated communications that remain in silos and not sen from the perspective of the customer.
According to McKinsey, “Whether because of poorly aligned incentives, management inattention, or simply human nature, the individual product and service owners that manage the communication touchpoints are constantly at risk of losing sight of what the customer sees (and wants) – even as the groups work hard to optimize their own contributions to the customer experience.” This is why most organizations use a singular centralized team to coordinate early communications that are built using multiple channels and delivered with the customer experience front and center.