The Need for Seamless Customer Onboarding

The advent of technology and digitization has ensured that individuals are now increasingly aware of the options available to them in all contexts – be it clothes, food, entertainment, or the big F – finance. Previously, people only had second-hand knowledge on money matters – they largely depended on well-meaning family members, friends, and advisors to make key financial planning and investment decisions. However, the internet has transformed the ecosystem, offering everyone the opportunity to go online and find all the details they need to devise a customized financial strategy. Considering the ease of finding information and solutions online, people are now used to seamless experiences across all platforms and they expect nothing less when it comes to the financial products and services in which they choose to invest.

Cycle of interaction

In this new age scenario, all financial service providers, including financial technology enterprises, face a common challenge. The question of how to create a seamless and optimal customer interaction cycle, while adhering to the requisite know your customer norms. This keeps most service providers awake at night as they strive to devise the perfect balance between too much, and too little information. The normal cycle of interaction starts with creating product awareness and includes steps like reaching out to potential customers through advertisements and social media. Once the awareness has been created the next step is to attract and engage. This would involve creating a simple and easy to use online form which enables interested customers to register to the provider’s service and on-boarding them by verifying their identities and other personal and account details to avoid fraud. On-boarding the customer is, in fact, the first level of tangible interaction that you have with your customers and can define the way the relationship progresses. Once the online verification and on-boarding processes are completed satisfactorily, service providers can initiate the disbursal of services. This is where you need to focus on customer retention and to ensure that the customer continues to engage with you and avail the services  / products offered.

Connected Customers

Given the number of OTT services now available, including the ubiquitous Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Zomato, and Netflix, customers have gotten used to seamless and on-demand services. And they expect the same from financial service providers as well, especially since it deals with one of the biggest sources of their concern – money. A connected customer experience and optimal execution of service requests post a seamless on-boarding process, are mandatory to keep customers happy. Best practices like a 24*7 chatbot and personal assistants make sure that customer needs are met in a timely and satisfactory manner. Slow processing, and friction along the way, are things that drive customers to pick alternative options, limiting loyalty and customer retention. Additionally, safe and secure payment gateways, verified by layers of identification, including fingerprints and pin codes, are imperative to boost the customer’s faith in the veracity of the services being offered by the provider.

Technology to the rescue

As financial service providers and fintechs strive to enhance the customer on-boarding and retention process, technology is becoming imperative to the dynamic. Indeed, technology can even be considered as the backbone of these services, ensuring a seamless and secure customer experience. No potential customer would be interested in spending too long in registering for a new account, and no service provider wishes to forego a new customer even before the registration is complete. Innovative technology like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning, along with blockchain technology, can be leveraged to offer customers a seamless and efficient on-boarding experience. Companies must also harness technology to provide customers with a progress indicator that shows them how much longer it would take to complete the registration and on-boarding process. Technology can also be utilized to show customers how the companies aim to use collected data, making them more amenable to sharing their information and accepting the service providers financial solutions.

Best Practices in Customer On-boarding

  • Establish trust from the “get go” – Most financial service providers are regulated by a number of laws and norms, and they are mandated to collect adequate information before offering services to customers. Service providers can establish trust among potential customers by being transparent, sharing real customer reviews, offering trial services, and embedding safety features.
  • Create seamless and convenient registration forms – Make sure that the registration forms are not tedious, repetitive or redundant, as these tend to drive customers away. Such forms should be easy to fill and should allow customers to choose passwords that are simple to remember, yet difficult to hack into.
  • Periodical on-boarding – Service providers can choose to request information in steps, instead of inundating customers with too many questions right at the outset. As and when the process requires more data, companies can ask customers to fill in simple and additional forms that don’t take up too much of their time.
  • Seamless multi-channel on-boarding – Companies must ensure that the on-boarding process, which may include actions across channels like the app, the e-mail, and the website, can be completed seamlessly and in a convenient and simple manner to boost customer retention.

In a world where most products and services have become homogeneous, customization and user experience hold the key to attracting and retaining customers. Customer onboarding is an integral part of this experience and can strongly influence how customers think about a company. Thus, financial services firms should proactively leverage technology to make the customer onboarding process seamless and intuitive.

Author: Nikhil Deshmukh, Head of Business (JAPAC) at Profinch Solutions.