Customer Onboarding: How To Make A Great First Impression

H. C. Madhavi
February 8, 2017

Last month, I went to the US to attend one of my friend’s wedding. It was one of the memorable wedding ceremonies that I’ve attended so far. But our discussion in not about the wedding today, it’s about how to make an amazing customer onboarding experience.

My friend had to open a new bank account for his newly-wed wife, and I was astounded to see that the whole onboarding process was successfully complete within minutes, and that’s also without driving down to the bank branch.

Unlike India, there has been a complete transformation in Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in the US. Neither the customers need to visit the bank nor the bank representatives come to doorstep for account opening. Technology today has taken the center stage of the US financial sector.

After some research, I discovered that Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in India has embraced technology for digitalization, but not at the pace and enthusiasm what should have been. In order to survive and grow in this competitive marketplace, banks need to deliver improved customer experience at every touch point.

A report published by McKinsey (2014) reveals that companies focused on maximizing satisfaction, with regard to the entire customer journey, have the potential to increase customer satisfaction by 20%.

BFSI Customer Onboarding Challenges

To accommodate the realities of the modern market and serve tech-savvy customers, financial services institutions have to go for a paradigm shift. Considering a growth strategy is impossible without state-of-the-art technology and business agility at its core. But this requires the industry to conquer some major hurdles. Let’s take a look at some of the major customer onboarding challenges experienced by the industry today, and how it is affecting revenue growth and customer satisfaction.

Challenge #1: Prolonged Onboarding Process

New age digital customers expect banks to finish off the onboarding process fast. But at the back end, firms need to perform multiple activities during client onboarding process, such as evaluate new clients, do several checks, setup credit process compliance, and ensure agreement on legal terms. Then the new account is opened as per the bank’s business policy. Due to this prolonged onboarding, customers feel dissatisfied.

Challenge #2: Lack Of A Single, Unified Customer View

Efficient customer engagement acts as a multiplier to boost revenue and drive new business. But a single, unified view of the customer is necessary to engage customers all through their journey. Banks have a number of departments – sales, marketing, customer service, IT, etc., which interact with consumers and store data in various siloed systems. This makes it challenging to examine customer behaviors, interactions, purchases, etc., to better analyze and target customers. The industry requries a robust de-dupe solution that helps create a single ID of the customer across multiple lines of business, and link related records.

Challenge #3: Manual, Paper-driven Processes

Paper-driven processes and manual operations delay customer onboarding, smashing the opportunity to create a memorable first impression.

Although significant improvement has been made by the banks towards eliminating paper-driven processes, most of the customer-facing activities are still paper-based. For greater operational efficiency, the financial services industry has to look for better alternatives for superior customer experience.

Challenge #4: Absence Of A Robust And Agile It Platform

The harsh reality is, most of the leading banks still use e-mails and faxes for customer onboarding. Multiple disjointed legacy systems are still the biggest roadblock to automate client onboarding process. The BFSI industry requires a robust and agile platform that can synchronize multiple systems and deliver consistent user experience across different touch points and improve business agility.

Best Practices For Customer Onboarding

Let’s take a look at some of best practices for customer onboarding that the BFSI sector in India should follow to improve customer experience in a digital world.

Best Practice #1: Onboarding Through Website

Make onboarding a self-service through the website. Today all the channels on onboarding including Aadhar based e-KYC require customers to walk-in to the bank branch and wait in queues. Banks should have of self-service channel to empower customers who do not have the time to walk-in to the bank. This will reduce onboarding cost as customer fills in most of his details, improves data accuracy and customer experience. Mandatory work of signing the physical application form and collecting the welcome kit can be done by visiting the nearest store at their convenience.

Best Practice #2: Biometric Recognition For Faster Onboarding

“Global Biometrics Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2020” report says that the market for biometric authentication systems is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 14% till 2020. Banking and financial services sector in India should make full use of it and enable automated recognition of individuals based on “harder” biometrics such as fingerprint, vein and iris recognition; or “softer” modalities such as face, voice, keystroke and signature recognition. This makes the onboarding process faster, and more secure.

Best Practice #3: Onboarding Via Mobile App

Onboarding through mobile app has become the new phenomenon lately. “According to Javelin Strategy & Research, retail financial institutions are unnecessarily losing nearly $1 billion in potential revenue as consumers walk away from the online account opening process frustrated.”BFSI sector in India should leverage technology to onboard customer through mobile app and allow customers to provide data as painlessly as possible.

Best Practice #4: Robotic Process Automation For Onboarding

Robotic Process Automation presents the BFSI sector with exciting opportunities to rethink customer onboarding processes. BFSI sector requires a number of back-end operations, which still entails a lot of manual intervention. RPA could play an important role in automating most of the back-office tasks. This will reduce costs and risks and make onboarding process quicker and smoother.

The Solution: Be Agile, Go Mobile

It is high time for the financial services industry to transform customer onboarding strategy and deliver faster, smoother, and better customer experience. The industry should embrace Robotic Process Automation and go for an automated mobile-based onboarding solution. The solution should incorporate the ability to synchronize multiple legacy systems and streamline document-intensive, compliance-driven processes and render consistent customer service across web and mobile.

Efficient customer onboarding creates the much required great first impression, ensuring better & enhanced customer experience.

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