While the concept of reaching out to consumers after they have opened a new banking relationship is definitely not a new strategy, there isn’t a clear industry standard for how banks and credit unions onboard and cross-sell new customers or members. In the most basic programs, organizations may do a three-step program including a phone call, an email and a direct-mail letter in the first 30-90 days after an account is opened. Other organizations have a multichannel strategy that extends several months.
Because some institutions believe there is only a minimal incremental cost of each contact, a rather extensive use of email is used to help set up new accounts and promote virtually all ‘sticky’ products and services. Other organizations have internal policies that only allow one (or fewer) communications to a new customer a month. It is our belief that both strategies miss the mark because of the lack of using insights and engagement behavior to determine the ‘next best action’ for the building of a genuine win-win relationship. Onboarding and customer engagement strategies should create a relationship with a foundation of trust and advice as opposed to being a way to bombard a new customer with sales messages.
As an example of an insight-driven strategy, Capital One revamped its entire onboarding experience, working to provide a personalized, dashboard-style onboarding web-page from which new customers set up and manage their own account. Consumers build their own relationship based on their individual needs. This engagement process helps Capital One to capture valuable insight into consumer needs very early in the relationship.
Wells Fargo & Bank of America have landing pages dedicated to onboarding new customers, but unlike Capital One, these take more of an informational role and aren’t specifically tied to visitor accounts. Other financial institutions simply include onboarding steps in email communications, linking to various online and mobile log-in portals.
The examples of direct mail, email and web communications in this direct-communication showcase were provided compliments of Mintel Comperemedia. Their searchable competitive database tracks direct mail, email, print advertising, mobile advertising and online banner advertising and is a valuable go-to resource for The Financial Brand. We again thank them for their partnership in this effort to show some best-in-class bank and credit union marketing examples.
( Read More: Multichannel Onboarding Trends in Banking )
The Foundation of Best-in-Class Onboarding
Despite differences in onboarding tactics, there are still some very clear similarities in the objectives and strategies for new customer engagement after account opening. The first step for almost all new customer communications begins with an email or direct mail that encourages the new customer or member to set up online and/or mobile banking accounts. The sooner this is done, the better. The benefit presented is for the customer to have 24/7/365 access to their account which improves account management capabilities.
New account holders are subsequently encouraged to build balances (and active engagement) by depositing money by mobile deposit, in-branch, or through an ATM. As part of this communication, most financial firms also provide account holders with a method of determining their account’s routing number in order to set up direct deposit.
Once the basics are communicated (often through multiple channels and ‘touches’), new account holders are then contacted through various channels to add additional components to their relationship. These range from educational communication around mobile deposit capture, to setting up bill payments, overdraft protection, P2P capabilities, SMS alerts, etc. These ‘sticky’ services not only make the relationship more valuable for the new customer, but improve loyalty and reduce the potential for attrition.
Capital One Introduces Personalized Video Onboarding
More and more organizations begin the onboarding process with email communication. Compared to direct mail, email communication can be sent within minutes of the new customer or member opening a new account. In fact, some organizations set a goal of having a completely personalized email welcome kit in the customer’s inbox before they return home from the branch or instantly if the account has been opened digitally. As you will see below, Capital One is also one of the first organizations to introduce completely personalized video onboarding from SundaySky. We expect more organizations to follow this trend in the future.
According to the Mintel Comperemedia research, Capital One immediately emails welcome kits to new checking customers encouraging them to deposit money “within 60 days or face automatic closure.” We have not seen many organizations mention automatic closure if deposits are not made, but this makes sense in order to avoid dormant accounts. If an account is dormant for 60 days, it is unlikely that the relationship will ever grow.
Capital One gives the option to deposit checks, use direct deposit or transfer funds as outlined in the email, with a call to action (CTA) to “Add Money.” According to Comperemedia, customers who set up core account features upon opening were “significantly more likely to become active, long-term customers.”
Before the revamp, a rather static, three-bullet point message was provided (below). Unfortunately not as many customers engaged as were desired, even though many consumers bookmarked the onboarding portal, according to Capital One.
After the revamp of both its onboarding online hub and mobile app, Capital One included options for customers to quickly and conveniently add money, set up direct deposit, order checks, and download the app. This revised process reinforced the ease of mobile and online account opening, using cleanly designed steps that avoided friction and uneeded steps.
Capital One is one of the first financial institutions to use the services of SundaySky, to greet new 360 Checking account holders with a completely personalized video that explains the benefits of the account and ensures clarity, comprehension, and engagement. The dynamic video builds engagement by mentioning the customer’s name, location, and app usage.
When looking at the complete flow of email onboarding communications for the Capital One teen checking account, you can see that there is communication to both the teenager and her parent, providing informational material and various alerts, including the initial transfer of funds to the teen’s account via Zelle.