What is the future of digital onboarding in banks?

Banks and financial institutions must aim to exceed customer expectations by leveraging the right technology to be future-ready.
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Financial institutions need to revisit the adage “the customer is king” to stay ahead of the competition. Customers in the banking industry have a plethora of options, but all financial institutions keep vying for the same customers. Excellent customer experience is the panacea for banks facing a decline in customer loyalty.

These days, customer acquisition is becoming expensive and challenging due to the myriad options available to customers. When it comes to digital account opening, abandonment rates are high due to complex processes.

This suggests that opening an account online should be quick and easy as today’s tech-savvy customers are not willing to wait or circumnavigate systematic obstacles. And so, financial institutions must ensure that their digital onboarding experience is seamless to gain a competitive edge.



The missing link

Customers prefer to go online for most banking activities, such as learning about products and services, conducting routine transactions, and soliciting support.

However, even today, many retail banks and credit unions do not provide online or mobile onboarding options. And, the ones that offer digital onboarding require non-digital engagement to complete the process.

Some of the common challenges that banks face during the onboarding process are:

  • Lengthy, complicated, and unfriendly online forms
  • Regulatory framework that makes customer visits to branches mandatory
  • High abandonment rates, which continue to rise
  • Prospects switch to another provider at the first sign of trouble
  • Web and mobile forms continue to emulate the structure of paper forms
  • Identity and new account frauds continue to rise, requiring banks to be simultaneously cautious and agile
  • Lack of personalisation of products and services, driving customers to switch banks

Unlocking the secret to seamless onboarding

1. Treat digital onboarding as an interactive sign-up

Replace long and detailed forms with a guided snippet based-flow, supported by automation to reduce data entry. For customers who drop out in the middle of filling a form, their primary information must be saved so that the applicant can restart from where they left off. Capture user behaviour and abandonment stages to continuously improve the customer journey

2. Deliver an omnichannel experience

Share information and continuation of journeys across channels such as social, mobile, PC, laptop, tablet, and others. A seamless and fully integrated experience will reduce abandonment rates and ensure faster customer responses

3. Stay on top of regulatory compliance processes

Perform an automated match with an ID card and selfie with a national ID database, blacklist check, anti-money laundering (AML), credit bureau integration to validate the customer will significantly improve the experience.

eKYC and other regulatory compliance processes are expensive and time-consuming activities for banks, and adopting a platform that integrates with various systems can help banks avoid high penalties for non-compliance and reduce processing time.

4. Implement an intelligent rules engine

Improve the onboarding process by implementing a robust rules management and exception handling system to service various contexts and to make near-real-time decisions or instant approval through automation.

As applicants fill in their applications on any device (mobile, PC, laptop, etc.), financial institutions should be able to track their activities to provide intelligent assistance.

5. Shape your customer’s journey

Deliver a holistic customer experience and follow a process approach to address the customer lifecycle — from prospecting and lead generation to application processing and funding.

Financial institutions need to be at the top of their game in providing after-sales support. Every touchpoint must be mapped along the customer journey and continuously redefined to ensure the journey being best

6. Look at the complete process

Ensure a seamless customer experience with well-connected channels and backend processes. The fulfillment teams at the backend would need to have a worklist to monitor and act upon cases with priorities, deficiencies, exceptions, and approval requirements.

This also ensures applications are processed in a timely manner and information is passed on to downstream applications, thus ensuring required activation is performed.

7. Enable real-time monitoring

A monitoring mechanism with strong workflows should be in place to measure crucial metrics, such as number of applications initiated, number of abandoned applications, and the steps at which most applications are saved and resumed, to identify how you can make the transition more smooth.

To be future-ready, financial institutions’ priority must be to exceed their customers' expectations by leveraging the right technology.

Banks are generally able to match their industry peers in terms of product innovation and financial service offerings. Therefore, the real difference, moving forward, will lie in the experience provided during customer acquisition. Creating a lasting first impression with a seamless digital onboarding experience will be the key differentiator.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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