You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

In digital banking, onboarding is the most direct way to illustrate to users the type of customer experience that can be expected at your bank.

The reality is that soon the days of driving to the bank, waiting in a long line, speaking with assistants and signing long paper contracts will be a thing of a past. This is thanks to a combination of millennials taking control and demanding better mobile banking and new mobile-only banks creating a frictionless onboarding journey.

As a result, instead of looking at their business processes and imposing that on the customer experience, banks are turning things on their head. In this article, I will be sharing tips on how to make the process for online banking customers easier and what to do to build and nurture your customer relationship from the word go.

View the experience from the customer’s perspective

Embracing a thoughtful onboarding experience is about aligning it to address the needs and views of your users. Despite regulations, the complexities of the verification process and organizational structures within banks, financial institutions should firstly view the experience from the customer’s perspective and start rethinking:

  1. What does our current customer onboarding process entail?
  2. What are the challenges new customers face when signing up?
  3. What are the gaps in the customer journey?

Switching to a customer-centric mindset might sound completely normal in a modern technology company, but this is the idea is still relatively new within the banking sector. However, to truly understand the arduous process onboarding is for customers and identify ways to evolve your product, it’s a must.

Moving into a digital-first strategy

While many financial institutions have tried to move part of the onboarding process to mobile, the customer is usually still required to visit a bank’s site, provide signatures and deliver the necessary documentation. Significant research shows that 40% of consumers abandon banking onboarding processes as a result of the time needed to complete the required steps, or the need to provide too much personal information. Consumers want a simple, frictionless experience, embracing digital-only products, so banks should be doing the legwork to make sure this is the case.

It is clear that the digital experience bar has been set incredibly high by platforms external to the banking sector, such as Airbnb, Uber, Amazon amongst others. Do you remember setting up your Spotify accounts? Probably not, because you started creating a playlist within minutes of setting up your account. Consumers are expecting new kinds of engagement to be quick, easy to log in and use the product. Digital identities have the potential to transform this process and Norway is heralded as a prime example of success.The Norwegian BankID, issued by banks in Norway, is a means of personal identification and allows banks to authenticate individuals digitally.

Success lies not in copying the digital-only banks and onboarding process, but getting up to speed with the innovators and setting your organization apart with advanced onboarding functions from your own bank.

Onboarding does not finish with the created account

Successful onboarding does not finish with a new account. It is only the beginning. According tothe Financial Brand, “onboarding requires a strategy that shows the customer you know them, that you will look out for their individual needs and that you will ultimately reward them for their business”. Central to this is communicating with the new account holder early, personalizing dialogue that reflects where the new customer is in their financial lifecycle and providing personalized offers.

Keep testing and iterating

Designing processes around customer needs requires a fundamental shift in mindset. Banks should transition into leaner processes if they are to move forward quickly or progress in onboarding experiences at all. Testing, getting feedback and iterating will help your bank achieve on-point solutions and offer suggestions as to how to improve them. The journey of every onboarding process is a sequence of iterations based on asking the right questions: Do customers like the onboarding process? What can I add/remove to make it easier? Are we on track with conversion and user loyalty?

Creating a seamless digital customer onboarding experience in banking is an area that will be challenging for the foreseeable future, but it presents a tremendous opportunity. In today’s world of overwhelming choices, the most engaging and simple option wins.

30 Books that got me through 2020

For many, 2020 was a year that saw them develop a deeper knowledge of passions or rediscover a new interest when regular life has slowly eroded. In books as in life, 2020 was a year of many great revelations about design, leadership, sustainability, and nature for me....

read more

Building my own Linchpin: Becoming a Better UX Leader

In his book - Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? - Seth Godin poses a challenge: Take your gift, whatever it is, and use it to change the world. Godin argues that everyone, me and you (not just the Einsteins of the world), can find a linchpin inside of them that needs...

read more

Get in touch

I believe your product should celebrate what makes you unique and foster strong relationships with your customers. Reaching out with a question, an invitation to speak or just want to say hi? Drop me a message here.

*Usual reply time: 1-2 days

11 + 11 =