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Management Strategies

10:55 AM
Chris Edgington, Kofax
Chris Edgington, Kofax

The “Age of the Customer” Demands Effective Onboarding

Giving customers a truly convenient onboarding process means moving towards automated processes, electronic documents and enabling the customer to sign up with their mobile device.

The old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” has been attributed to several notable historical figures such as Will Rogers, Oscar Wilde, and even Mark Twain. It still rings true for banks and their customers. Banks have one chance to effectively onboard new customers in what Forrester research firm calls the, “Age of the Customer.” When your customer is king, that first impression is more important now than ever.

Ironically, what customers want during the entire transaction process is closely aligned to what banks are striving to achieve. Customers crave the basics: their request to be done right and timely. The new generation of customers are now demanding instant satisfaction and interaction in the process including engaging with the bank the way they want and that includes mobile, email, visiting branches, and web portals to initiate requests. They want to see “behind the curtain” for visibility into what is happening and when during transactions. They want their requests handled timely and accurately with less frustration. And most important, they want access to their money quicker during the new account setup process.

Banks in the same way as their customers desire more self-service transaction via the web or mobile to reduce costs, want quicker turnaround and improve processing times. Streamlined and efficient customer-centric processes that allow transparency during the process for all stakeholders including the customers is on the banks wish list as well. They are striving for operational excellence with high accuracy and quality that leads to quicker time to revenue. Above all, banks are looking to optimize the customer experience during the onboarding process to facilitate more cross-sell opportunities and solidify a life-long and profitable relationship.

But what are the real costs of a typical customer onboarding process for banks? According to the Javelin Strategy & Research report, 2011 Online Account Opening, up to 90 percent of new customers abandon on-line account applications before they are completed; the average cost to set up and maintain a new account is more than $325 per year; manual, and paper-based processes during a typical customer onboarding process can cost up to 20 times more than computer-assisted, electronic document processing. Additionally, a 2008 Harland Clarke client case study found that nearly three-quarters of cross-sells from a retail checking account occur within 90 days of account opening, and customer attrition and abandonment rates within the first 180 days are up to 50 percent.

Many banks are taking a traditional approach to solving this problem by designing a bottoms-up or inside-out approach. They are starting with their legacy systems and processes and attempting to put a “mobile or on-line” wrapper to enable customers to engage. In reality, this approach requires the customer to adapt to the banks’ processes and interact on the banks’ terms.

An effective and innovative onboarding solution turns that paradigm on its head by starting with the customer and designing the processes outside-in or top-down. These new designs shake up traditional IT departmental thinking. These new solutions bridge the sometimes mile wide gap between the bank’s historically siloed and antiquated systems of record and how their customers want to engage without having massive investment in technology to upgrade or update their line of business systems. These workhorse systems were never designed to be customer friendly or to provide mobile engagements that today’s customers demand.

There’s a better way. With the advancement of document capture technology, process management, analytics and emerging mobile capabilities, banks can achieve near-perfect transactional accuracy and build trust with automated follow-up communications all the while putting the power of the process into their customer’s hands with the mobile device. This approach to the solution can help banks navigate the chasm between the antiquated lines of business systems of record to the ever changing demands and requirements of the systems of engagement.

Bank managers, relationship managers and employees can now spend more time building relationships with customers and less time shuffling through files and worrying about gathering the massive mounds of paper. With innovative onboarding solutions that incorporate mobile capabilities, banks can jump-start customer relationships and loyalty, enhance the bottom line with streamlined process flows, and mitigate risk while promoting compliance. Improve your customer experience, bridge the gap between your systems and how you customers engage, and impress your customers from the start to earn their business and trust.

Chris Edgington is the industry solutions manager at Kofax, a provider of smart process applications for the business critical First Mile™ of customer interactions.

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