accounts-9-29-18.pngIt used to be that bank onboarding best practices included a firm handshake and maybe a stuffed toy or T-shirt. In 2018, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Today, customers have a long list of expectations that add up to nothing short of complete personalization across all the many moments — and micro-moments — they face. Customers may have picked this checklist up elsewhere, but they see no reason why those same rules wouldn’t apply everywhere, including when they open a new account at their bank.

In a mobile-everything world, the one-size-fits-all solutions won’t work. New research from Deloitte shows customers want personalized, simple and complete communications. Essentially, they want you to know what they need, when they need it, so you can make it as simple as possible for them. They’re no longer willing to sift through generic self-service tools, and the more your institution can guide them with specific content that comes in their moments of need, the more you will win their loyalty — and dollars.

Meeting these new expectations is increasingly the only way to engage your customers — engagement that’s necessary for high Net Promoter Scores (NPS), revenue growth and profitability. The industry — and onboarding best practices — have started to change.

CX trends are changing onboarding best practices
For the financial services industry, the math is clear. The lifetime value of a promoter is 2.5 times higher than that of a detractor. At the same time, a detractor is 2.3 times more likely to switch to your competitor.

Delivering a positive experience is the best way to create more promoters, particularly during critical moments like your bank’s account opening process, which is the bank’s first impression.

A 2017 Deloitte study makes plain what people are looking for in onboarding programs for banks. The 3,000 customers surveyed who had recently opened bank accounts said they wanted improvements in two fundamental areas, during and post-account opening:

  • Speed
  • Communications

Overall, digital customers say the opening process was unclear and took too long. Worse, once they had opened an account, they felt abandoned. Many banks didn’t follow up with basic information customers felt they needed. That silence was one of the biggest causes of customer dissatisfaction, forcing customers to follow up on their own or forgo information they wanted.

How to apply best practices to your bank
So, we have two main directives for improving the bank customer onboarding process: speed and communication. And we know how customers want that communication to feel: personalized, simple and timed to their needs.

Now you just need to deliver it.

While banks are worried about sending too many communications, customers are asking for guidance. The second they open an account, you have an opportunity to start a relationship by delivering clear and concise instructions that notify them of missing information and next steps to help them complete the process. Then, when the account’s open, you can stay in touch, and help them become familiar with their account and the services your bank can provide.

Data shows this approach works. Leading student lender Citizens Bank increased new accounts by 10 percent and decreased time to completion by 40 percent using automated mobile engagement with its digital customers.

The right communications — timed to arrive when customers reach specific points in their journeys — can improve the customer experience. If you deliver personalized solutions on day one, you can answer customer questions before they ask, offer information about their accounts, recommend new products or services, and point them to tools and content that help them complete actions quickly and easily. This kind of prescribed, proactive approach to service reduces customer effort and builds trust along the way.

The benefits of a better onboarding strategy
Customer surveys like Deloitte’s clearly show an increasing emphasis on easy and convenient interactions. If you want to win customer loyalty, you need to deliver an effortless customer experience now. Not only will a better onboarding experience create stickiness and turn your customers into promoters, it will set an expectation of useful communication. When your customers start their relationship with personalized mobile communications — rather than generic emails, or worse, having to hunt through your website — it teaches them they should pay attention when you contact them.

By meeting that expectation, the potential value for that account can stretch as big as your offering. You can promote additional products, suggest expansions on the products they have and offer rewards when they recommend a friend. As long as you continue to make those experiences personalized, useful and easy, you can continue to nurture your customers and realize maximum value.

Brie Tascione