Effective Digital Customer Onboarding

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Today, customers have a number of options of when and how they communicate their banking needs. However, one thing is certain - they want to do business with financial institutions that make their experience easy, convenient and simple. A customer’s first impression of a financial institution is extremely important and with planning, the digital revolution is making onboarding more easy, convenient and simple.

Having a customer onboarding process based on digital channels serves as a win-win for FI’s and customers - the customer receives personalized customer service and FIs receive data about their customer that can be used to customize customer offerings, promotions and communications. Turns out, the data that banks and credit unions have about their customers and members may be invaluable as ammunition for retaining customers over time. 

In addition, these institutions must “think mobile first” as they try to reach younger demographics.  According to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, mid-sized and regional banks are “capturing a greater share of Gen Z customers than they are with Gen X.” Gen Z, those that were born between 1994 and 2012, are coming of age and are beginning to make banking decisions for themselves. The study indicated that Gen Z users are shifting their digital transactions from website to mobile, making customer onboarding with a digital focus even more important. 

Five components of a customer onboarding program:

Update Technology - An FI’s website and mobile applications should be updated to reflect the most current technology. Investing in responsive websites and online banking software is a crucial component for establishing and maintaining market share.

Simplify the Process - FI’s should plan the onboarding program and roll it out in phases, utilizing the digital channels that their customer’s prefer. Taking an approach of tell and then sell is successful: tell the customer about simple services such as online banking or direct deposit and as more information is gathered, sell the customer on custom products.

Communicate Early and Often - Within two weeks of enrollment, an FI representative should reach out to the customer. Customers should be surveyed to determine the communication channel they prefer to use. Additionally, FI’s should let consumers know all the ways that information can be accessed either by website, smartphone or email. This includes the FI’s social media platforms, blog or email newsletter. 

Incorporate Financial Education - FI’s should incorporate a comprehensive program that informs new customers not only of the product offerings but provides general and in depth fiscal education, depending on where the customer is in their lifecycle.

Give it Time - Building a strong customer base is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. FI’s should look to target, educate and sell new customers over a one year period.