The customer experience has solidified itself at the top of the podium as a competitive differentiator and deal breaker. If onboarding is one of the first impressions treasury management clients get of their bank, it makes sense that many banks are eyeing up the lofty idea of re-engineering their current processes. Over the past few years, many seasoned technologies have evolved to automate critical, complex onboarding functions that cause banks and their clients the greatest pain, to include digital signature capture, digitalizing paper, and online project plans or dashboards, and more.
Aite Group interviewed a variety of onboarding technology partners, to include Deluxe Treasury Management Solutions, to determine how the industry’s continued focus on the customer experience will drive and shape enhancement opportunities knows in 2018. Of the responses, here are the four key themes that emerged.
Best Processing Practices. Okay, this one isn’t much of a surprise. However, the importance makes it worth repetition. Banks must step back and review the total operational flow for any obvious shortcomings. The benefits of onboarding automation are not realized when slow, faulty processes are turned into faster faulty processes. Here are three guiding questions to get your review process started:
- Are all of the steps in your existing onboarding really necessary?
- Can you find any opportunities to re-engineer existing processes?
- Where could you reuse data or applications to shorten the deployment time for automating onboarding?
Better Communication. Better communication is a key factor in improving onboarding, whether it is between bank employees or between your bank and your clients. Automated alerts or reminders of upcoming deadlines, client portals, and online, real-time dashboards shared between the bank and the client are all examples of tools to improve visibility and communication. The jury is still out regarding whether customers should be able to access the bank’s portal to check onboarding status. Banks seem to have strong opinions for and against both options.
More Self-Service Options. Self-service options will reach new heights by giving clients the ability to create their own personalized work spaces that accommodate their particular habits. Integrations will be further tailored to approaches that work best for the client, while timing of servicing processes will be controlled. Any self-service option that makes it easy for customers to discover more information about services (like the ability to view a brochure or watch a video while filling out their information) will not only improve the customer’s experience, but also double as a power sales tool.
Expanded Analytics. Analytics already pin point repetitive onboarding delays and address underlying issues. In 2018, analytics will have an expanded scope to combine customer-specific data with broader demographics to group together clients with similar profiles. Expect to see analytics leveraged in new ways that will help banks identify cross-sell or up-selling opportunities and offer them on a more tactical basis. It’s easier to please clients by offering them the right products offered at the right time, as opposed to trying to sell them everything but the kitchen sink up front.
Not new, but still important
The rapid evolution of technology forces us to focus on what’s new, what’s next, and how can get the most value out of the latest developments. It’s a lot to think about, and sometimes we tend to forget about those tried and true strategies that never let us down. Preparing to move forward with improved onboarding processes supported by the right technologies is an important first step towards standing out in an extremely competitive market place. But cutting-edge bells and whistles will never their full potential and banks will never see the benefits unless they follow these four pieces of advice.
Stakeholders must come together and get on the same page. New onboarding strategies do not happen overnight – if that was the case everyone would be doing it, right? Taking a few giant steps back for a broad view of your process bottlenecks and customer pain points will always help identify and prioritize areas for improvement. But more importantly, everyone must take the time to think about how to properly utilize new technologies. Discuss whether or not your investment will be used internally between bank employees, or if you want to provide greater transparency for clients through a dashboard or portal?
Talk to your vendors, many may accept electronic setup files to eliminate taking that setup information and re-entering it into their word or PDF template. Make sure to review existing setup forms and agreements, as many financial institutions have setup forms that include signatures. We have seen setup forms turn into agreements and turn good processes bad fast. Do not be afraid to change your current agreements or move to a master agreement.
Remember, its re-engineer, not rip and replace. The technologies should complement your existing infrastructure and you shouldn’t have to rip and replace systems to gain these efficiencies. After reaching a consensus on how to leverage your new investment, make sure that you are choosing the right solution set for the task at hand. There are some extremely robust solutions on the market that can be developed to meet any need, but if you can’t afford it or it takes 2 years to implement, it’s probably not the right fit. Also, don’t forget how frequently forms and processes change – you will want to ensure your internal teams can manage those changes with the right selected tools.
Just because you can automate, doesn’t mean you should. It doesn’t matter if you are a bank looking to automate your treasury processes or you want to streamline onboarding for lending or wealth management. Automating everything day one is a mistake. The benefits tend to diminish as automation increases and can have the adverse effect of adding complexity. Going paperless is a cultural shift within one’s organization, and this shift needs to be completed in phases.
Invite feedback from customers. In your pursuit for a better customer experience – don’t forget about customer feedback! It will play critical role in the process will provide provide a different perspectives. They can help you understand their pain threshold between automation and personal interaction and will likely help determine the areas in need of greatest improvement.
The era of the customer experience is in full swing
As a new set of marketplace trends take shape in 2018, customer’s tolerance with status quo onboarding that is filled with delays will continue to erode. The estimated number of treasury management clients who will abandon their applications over onboarding delays will inevitably rise above its current estimated rate of 5 to 15 percent.
The era of the customer experience is in full-swing. If your bank is considering revising your onboarding processes, check out our on demand webinar now to discover more ideas and insights on how to leverage automated to delight your clients.