Albert Einstein once said that “things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler”. When you are running a business one of your key concerns is how to get your client through the onboarding process as quickly and as easily as possible. Improving customer onboarding is critical to growth, early customer retention and customer activation. Onboarding processes can mean initial opening of an account, taking out a loan, modifying a payment request, annual checkups, and many other similar interactive processes. What is shared and common between all of these is that there is a specific service that the customer is seeking that can only be provided after the onboarding process has completed. Making this as short and easy as possible will not only increase customer satisfaction but also help generate more revenues faster.
Let’s break this down into key points and takeaways to demonstrate the opportunities for real value.
1. Customers need clarity in each step of the process, ease of understanding and minimal explanations. This can be achieved by breaking down the process in to small “bite-size” pieces that customers comprehend and complete quickly. For example, client applications can be broken into conceptual parts; Part 1: personal details, Part 2: business details and so forth. Each part should be as short as possible and easy to finish in no more than a few minutes. 1-3 minutes max!
2. “Less is more”. This is so true for onboarding. Cut the onboarding process down to the bare minimum of what is really needed. A worthy conversation with the Legal Team would be to understand what information requested in the application is critical or de minimis. Leverage opportunities to reuse customer supplied details and automate population of fields with data currently available. Smart forms will only ask the relevant questions according to the answers that were previously given, and avoid non-applicable questions. All these practices make the onboarding process smarter, shorter for your customer and significantly increases follow-through to completion.
3. Provide tools that are easily accessible, flexible and stress-free. For example; to upload their passport, allow them to upload a file, or use the camera on a mobile device. Of course, good UI and UX are very important, so be sure options are in a clear line of vision so they can’t miss them or get confused.
4. Use skips and reminders. Customers need to find specific pieces of data or documents that they don’t have with them at that moment.
i. Skips. The user should be able to continue the onboarding process and skip certain steps for later completion. In general, unless it is absolutely necessary it is not a good idea to use restrictions on moving forward, always let the customer complete as many steps in your process as possible. Every step executed improves the chances of customer acquisition success.
ii. Reminders. Automation managing reminders drives potential customers back to the onboarding process. Achieve this by sending email and SMS with a concise, short message and a “smart link” that leads the customer directly to the step they missed.
5. Getting the onboarding process right means minimizing, or even eliminating, the need for customer support. Understanding the onboarding process length, customer attention span and potential for frustration is key to success. Therefore, always ensure that candidates feel they can ask for help and get it fast when they need it.
6. Streamline internal processes. The Onboarding Team or first line of support should be able to access all customer data with just a few clicks and review everything in a centralized location. Use task reminders outstanding “to do” items. The Compliance Team and other stakeholders should be able complete tasks quickly and easily.
7. Automation, automation and more automation. Never let a human do what a computer can do faster and better. Humans should be using their minds for decisions, discretion and high value soft skills that machines don’t provide. Tedious, repetitive manual work costs much more when humans perform these tasks, an increase the potential for errors and inconsistencies. Machines efficiently and effectively extract text from documents, collate, categorize, move data and conduct data validation and integrity checks. For example, checking passport expiration or verify that a customer geographic location is where services are being offered.
In conclusion, having a clear onboarding process delivers immediate value. Taking a practical and user-perspective approach, together with the right digital transformation tools provides the benefits, control and ability to make changes fast and easily. As Albert says keep it as simple as possible.