As people’s lives are turning upside down and many are staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic Kasasa's B2C marketing experts found that internet searches for online account opening have increased in the last week alone.
Digital onboarding was a must-have three months ago, six months ago, a year ago... but with the recent turn of events, it’s more important than ever that local financial institutions have the capabilities to serve their communities digitally. Whether that’s to fit seamlessly into their normal, daily lives or during times like this when going to a physical branch simply isn’t an option.
What is digital onboarding?
Digital onboarding in banking is the process of acquiring new account holders or borrowers solely through online or mobile channels. It encompasses a consumer's full account opening journey — from choosing an account or loan, applying, getting approved, providing or receiving funding, and receiving follow-up communications, including a welcome package or additional product recommendations.
It’s no secret that neobanks like Simple, Ally, and SoFi have made their bread and butter off seamless digital account and loan opening experiences (even if the rest of their services leave much to be desired). And companies like Amazon have set the precedent for what a great digital shopping experience can be.
For community financial institutions to stay competitive against these challenger banks and relevant in an era where people can order groceries, rides, and most anything else in a few clicks, they have to provide a digital onboarding experience that’s on par with the online experiences consumers have in other areas of their lives.
While integration capabilities with the core and regulatory requirements can pose challenges, they’re not impossible to surmount with the right partners who specialize in client onboarding financial services.
How can I improve my customer onboarding process?
Here are three areas to focus on when creating a digital onboarding experience for new account holders:
1. Give consumers an end-to-end experience.
Imagine getting halfway through a good book only to turn the page and see a note that says, “Please come to the library to finish the final chapters.” Or (perhaps a more relevant metaphor for today’s consumers) creating a new social media account and getting a message that says, “Thank you, your account will be activated in 2-3 days.” It just wouldn’t fly.
Consumers have been trained over the last ten or so years to expect two things from every single one of their digital interactions: speed and convenience. Research shows that consumers abandon up to 90% of new account applications prior to their completion, with 38% saying they dropped out of the onboarding process because of frustrations with paper applications or the volume of information required.
Yet so many community financial institutions only offer online/offline applications for their products (applications that can be started online but must be completed in-branch to fund the account or provide more information). Even institutions that have a killer mobile banking app, online banking platform, and beautifully designed website fall into this trap — and are surely losing potential account holders and borrowers because of it.
The application experience is one of the first impressions you will leave on a new account holder or borrower and has a direct effect on your account and loan acquisitions. So why not make it the absolute best it can be? And the best means an experience that's end to end, meaning consumers can start and finish in the same place.
2. Make it accessible from any device.
Exactly where a consumer wants to start and finish their application? That’s up to them. Consumers should be able to get their account or loan through your digital platform anywhere, including on a computer, iPad or tablet, and mobile phone.
It goes without saying that a great digital onboarding experience is mobile-responsive. But you can even think about tailoring the application process to the device, like offering an option for applicants to take pictures of their documents or driver’s license to automatically fill in required information.
Pre-fill capabilities, social media sign-on, and text notifications to alert applicants to incomplete data or approval would also add convenience and engagement to the onboarding process.
3. Don't forget the follow-up.
If someone opened an account or loan with you in a branch, you probably wouldn’t just say thank you and send them on their way. You might offer a welcome package, maybe even a toaster as a gift. Digitally, the same idea applies — and can be turned into so much more.
Digital onboarding provides ample opportunities for cross-selling, deepening your relationship with that new consumer right off the bat.
Your follow-up can include a thank you or welcome email, as well as additional communications in the first few weeks around other products the consumer might like. Just make sure these are personalized to them. Recommending a CD or share certificate to someone who just opened a college checking account might not be a great idea.
Above all else, remember this: the digital onboarding experience you offer consumers should be frictionless. An account holder or borrower’s first impression of you will shape how they feel about you for years to come. By removing friction from their experience, you can make sure it’s a good one.
Our hearts are with our local communities across the country during this time, and we’re here to support you. If you are a Kasasa client and need anything, please reach out to your Client Success Manager.