New Customer Onboarding Requires Integrated Approach

Banks have seen a steep decline in face-to-face interactions with customers and even prospective customers. How to tackle customer onboarding for people who don’t want to visit one of your branches is a hot topic today. If you don’t offer some form of digital onboarding, you better at least be building future strategies for the digital consumer.

Onboarding has serious implications for the bank — not only in terms of customer acquisition, but in growing the business through follow-on cross-sell and upsell activities.

By engaging in an initial interaction that is simple, pleasant and productive, your financial institution has set the stage for future favorable customer interactions. But rather than taking a piecemeal approach to onboarding, many banks are taking the integrated solution route. By leveraging a package of products, services, and technologies that function more effectively as a whole, banks turn what was once a complex process into an easy, intuitive path for customers to open and fund a new account, and setting into motion a longer-lasting relationship.

While taking an integrated solution approach to onboarding is a beneficial endeavor, it is easier said than done. Banks have some very unique challenges to overcome before integration is even possible.

That’s Not My Job

A CFO may insist on an integrated onboarding strategy but have little or no insight into how or where to begin. Organizational silos are deeply ingrained, and these realms are closely guarded by individuals inside each group. Unwillingness to collaborate often results from organizational roadblocks. Accounts are typically attributed to a particular group, team or product, and each group wants as many accounts as possible. Working with other groups might mean losing an account. Even within these silos, there may be individuals who want to spearhead transformation but the social environment forces them to remain silent and accept the status quo. “This is how we’ve always done it in the past” is their standard mantra.

Multiple Antiquated Systems

Most banking systems of record are at least eight years old, and typically involve multiple systems due to mergers and acquisitions. It may make sense to upgrade or purchase a new system and consolidate but the implementation of new systems, no matter how efficient, can take years and millions of dollars. And what’s happening while you take two years to make your core banking system more customer friendly? With the pace of technology, your “new” system could already be outdated by the time you install. Furthermore, while helpful, these incremental improvements only provide pieces of the end-to-end process puzzle. It’s up to the bank to string disparate processes and systems together to provide an integrated onboarding solution.

Who Owns the Customer Journey?

Often no clear ownership of the customer journey exists. Many departments hold pieces but not the end-to-end process. These departments have a narrow-minded view that begins and ends with just their piece of the overall process. This approach results in diverse experiences for the customer. What is needed is one process, no matter the input channel.

Tackling Integration

The solution is an integrated approach to onboarding. Here are seven steps to get you there:

  1. Create a vision by designing a destination for your organization to see and believe in.
  2. Establish a champion and enable that individual or team to effect change across the organization―regardless of who owns which piece. Change your perspective of the end-to-end process. Make the customer the center of your process and have the same process for all input channels.
  3. Find a progressive thinker who feels the pain of a paper-based system. Make them a champion. Communicating small wins creates momentum, and momentum creates opportunity for everyone in your organization.
  4. Document your current state of customer onboarding by using the “5 Why” method: ask “Why?” five times to a question to get to the root cause of the issue.
  5. Define and measure. There’s an old process-excellence axiom: “You can’t change what you can’t measure.” So start measuring: volumes, IGO/NIGO rates, attrition rates, productivity, end- to-end time, activity-based costing. Develop dashboards that make real-time (or near real-time) metrics visible to your organization. Link key-performance indices to your higher level enterprise goals to produce cascading metrics.
  6. Identify the gap between current state and the vision. Put stakes in the ground — this is where we are and that is where we want to be. Keep the customer at the center of this process. You need processes that meet the customer anywhere, anytime, and in any manner they wish to engage.
  7. Select a technology partner with an integrated solution platform. This will not only save time and money but will also allow for competitive differentiation as you build your own unique process. A platform that is agile, allowing you to keep pace with regulatory changes as well as new and emerging technologies, will set you up nicely for future growth.

All said, this is not a simple set of tasks for a bank of any size to undertake. It requires a long-term commitment from management, employees and partners to not only transform the onboarding process into a more profitable model but also into one that delivers that delightful customer experience that will keep them coming back for more.

The Guide to Multichannel Onboarding in Banking

dbr_book_smallestThe Guide to Multichannel Onboarding in Banking was the first of the Digital Banking Reports to be published since the 20 year old Online Banking Report was rechristened back in July. Focused on digital, online and mobile innovations and strategies in financial services, the Digital Banking Report is a subscription-based publication distributed monthly.

Subscriptions to the Digital Banking Report are available to individuals and institutions, with the distribution of reports being done digitally. Subscribers not only receive a monthly report but also have free access to the 150+ report archive.

The Guide to Multichannel Onboarding in Banking is a 59-page report on the best-in-class strategies and tactics used by financial organizations globally to onboard new customers and members. With 20 charts/graphs, an onboarding business case and dozens of samples of onboarding communication, this Digital Banking Report is the ultimate guide for any organization wanting to start or improve an onboarding program.

Buy the Guide to Multichannel Onboarding in Banking

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