What Your Banking Customers Actually Want

Jenna Trott

5 min read | SEPTEMBER 28, 2022

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Picture this: you’re on vacation and you’ve just booked a tour bus around the city. However, before you’re allowed onto the bus, your documents and identity have to be verified at multiple points, slowing down the entire process and souring the trip before it even begins. It seems absurd, but the reality is that many financial institutions have onboarding experiences much like this. Difficult onboarding experiences continue to be a major point of friction that occurs during one of the most pivotal points in the customer journey: when a potential client is about to become a customer. If the client has a negative experience onboarding with your bank, it can make or break whether they continue to do business with you. This is all the more reason why having a smooth onboarding process is critical. In this article, we’ll be discussing best practices when it comes to financial institution onboarding as well as what you can do to help streamline the process.

Complications with Banking Onboarding

Onboarding is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the customer experience as it sets the stage for what banking with your institution might look like and helps build initial trust. However, regulatory requirements, like know-your-customer (KYC) rules and anti-money laundering laws complicate bank onboarding and add friction that does not go unnoticed by the customer. This puts financial institutions in a tricky position where they must continue to stay compliant with regulations but are also responsible for ensuring that the customer experience is as smooth as possible. With regulatory requirements being unavoidable, it begs the question of how bankers can create a better experience for their customers without sacrificing compliance. A recent study conducted by Salesforce determined what customers value when doing business with a company and it includes: feeling like a person rather than a number, seamless experiences and simple digital processes, of which the financial services industry ranked near the bottom for virtually every category. In simple terms: banks have a lot of work to do when it comes to improving the customer experience and keeping clients happy. Greg Blausey, the Banking Industry Lead at Salesforce, suggests that reimagining the onboarding process may be the first step to improving the customer experience, stating: “If you do a good job onboarding, you are learning something about the customer at every single touchpoint, and there is an opportunity to continue to learn and build a truly robust and living customer profile that becomes the foundation for every mission-critical process a bank needs to work on.” So, let’s take a look at how banks can improve the onboarding experience with 6 best practices.

6 Best Banking Onboarding Practices

1. Create a Unified Digital Onboarding Platform
A system that is well connected with legacy systems, third-party solutions and customer data enables you to develop a better understanding of who the customer is and what their needs are, helping you to become a better advisor in the future.

2. Go Paperless
Replacing paper forms and documents with electronic ones significantly reduces manual entries and in turn, reduces inaccurate data resulting from human errors. Additionally, electronic forms help to support automation and enable financial institutions to securely store documents to be readily available for authorized personnel.

3. Ensure Clean Data
We have a whole blog dedicated to the importance of having clean data, but in short, it is always best practice to obtain the most important and accurate information from your clients, but particularly so during the onboarding process. It’s important that the information you’re gathering is not only relevant but can be used in further personalization efforts later on.

4. Help Customers Feel Empowered
Customer onboarding shouldn’t be a long and complicated process, by including a ​​ self-service portal, it places control back in the customers’ hands and provides valuable insight into the onboarding process as well as any questions they may have.

5. Automate, Automate, Automate
Automation can have an abundance of benefits for your financial institution, but particularly during the onboarding process. Utilizing features such as auto population and data validation not only simplifies the process for customers, but it also improves data accuracy and boosts productivity within your bank.

6. Support Digital Signatures
In this day in age, having capabilities to accept digital signatures is so, so important. Besides convenience, digital signatures ensure end-to-end message integrity as well as the authenticity of the signer.

With the right technology and solutions, the onboarding process doesn’t have to be a painful one. By making improvements in the amount of manual work client-facing financial institutions have, it frees up more time to ensure a smooth onboarding process for the client. So, how can you get started simplifying onboarding? There’s no need for banks to replace their core infrastructure in order to create a unified instance and provide better visibility and automation into the client journey. Let’s look at how you can create a digitally supported onboarding process and the benefits of doing so.

Digitally Supported Onboarding

Salesforce is known to provide exceptional solutions for a variety of industries and commercial banking is no exception. Financial Services Cloud from Salesforce not only works to streamline the onboarding process, but it also personalizes customer experiences, generates referrals, and helps your bank scale quickly with automation capabilities. This digitally comprehensive platform completely transforms the onboarding experience without sacrificing compliance requirements. Banks who use Financial Services Cloud to simplify the onboarding process see benefits like:

Improved Customer Experiences
By eliminating much of the friction caused by cumbersome onboarding processes, client engagement improves and cultivates an ideal environment for establishing a meaningful banking relationship and building trust.

Improved Operational Efficiency
By reducing the number of paper documents needed and automating things like: manual entries, repetitive processes and the client onboarding process, banks free up a significant amount of time to otherwise focus on growth efforts and customer retention strategies.

Improved Risk Management
A superior onboarding process that collects relevant and accurate information enables reps to know their clients better. And when they know their clients better, they’re able to protect them better from potential risks.

Improved Data-Driven Marketing and Personalization
Having a unified instance allows critical information to be shared internally and across channels. This in turn enables marketers to better reach their intended audience and upsell relevant products or services. Further, 80% of customers today consider the experience a company provides as important as its products and services, which is why personalization can be the key to boosting customer loyalty.

These days, there’s a lot of products and services being marketed to financial institutions that claim to be the thing that can completely transform their company. In reality, there is no “magic bullet” solution for challenges your bank may be facing, but starting small and working your way up is an ideal place to begin. A study conducted in 2020 revealed that of all potential customers willing to open a bank account remotely, almost two in every three abandoned the onboarding process; think about all the potential customers you may have lost within the last two years due to complex onboarding processes. So, what are you waiting for? Get started simplifying your banking onboarding experience TODAY.

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