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Making it easier than ever to be their customer: That’s what BigTech leaders in so many consumer industries have learned to perfect to grow their customer base. And that’s why so many of us barely bat an eyelash when signing up an account with Amazon to grab those items on our wishlist, with Netflix to catch up with the TV shows that are all the buzz, or with Booking.com to reserve accommodations to secure suite with a pool and get the jump on winter.

That’s the standard for customer onboarding, and today that’s also what consumers expect when choosing their next bank or financial institution. Seamless, intuitive, and most importantly, fast.

Customer Experience & Mobile Top Bankers’ Investment Priorities

Considering that 85% of Americans own a smartphone and 57% spend 5 hours or more on them each day, it’s no surprise that digital banking and mobile banking are becoming more synonymous with each other with each passing year.

That’s why customer experience technology and mobile banking were at the top of the list for investment priorities in our just-launched survey of banking professionals. 45% of respondents cited Customer Experience as the technology they’re most interested in, followed by mobile banking which was selected by nearly 42% of professionals from national and community financial institutions across the U.S.

But while the financial community has upped investment in recent years to improve digital and mobile onboarding, are those investments delivering the onboarding experiences that speed up customer acquisition, or are they still playing catch up with the demands of their customers?

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Stats Show Banks’ Digital Onboarding is Broken

While national banks and community banks face unique challenges when it comes to customizing their products and services to specific audiences. But one challenge they do share is being able to blend that personalization on their digital and mobile channels with ease and speed when onboarding new customers.

When asked about how they’re currently handling customer onboarding – banking professionals reveal 3 harsh realities for traditional banks when it comes to customer acquisition:

#1 Too Many Consumers Can’t Become Customers On Their Own

Only 11% of banking professionals surveyed said that customers can sign up for a new account completely on their own, with 27% indicating that “most” of their onboarding process can be completed independently. Over half of professionals said customers today can “somewhat” complete onboarding on their own, or not at all.

#2 Customers Are Being Forced to the Branch – Whether They Like it or Not

If most customers are still not onboarding themselves via mobile or website self-service options, it’s not surprising that a leading 34% of banking professionals stated their customer onboarding takes place at the branch. And despite all of the money and resources banks have invested in rolling out mobile banking apps, only 14% said that these apps are the main way their bank onboards new customers.

That’s not what most customers prefer for the vast majority of transactions – especially since the pandemic. 79% of customers want their bank to provide them with more all-digital processes.

#3 Completion Times Are Slow and Not Competitive

Half of professionals said their bank is able to onboard a new customer in 6 hours or less – yet still 31% said signing up new accounts takes them 2 full days or more. These completion times fail to compete with neobanks, who allow customers to complete digital onboarding in minutes.

How do all of these realities impact the effectiveness of banks’ onboarding?

It’s 100% Digital Self-Service or Bust for Onboarding To Meet Customer Expectations

What happens when most customers can’t join your bank on their own? Only completely self-service onboarding processes actually result in customers completed in 6 hours or less. Less than half of banking professionals who stated that customers are either “mostly” or “somewhat” able to sign up for a new account on their own end up completing the onboarding process in 6 hours or under:

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The reality this spells for financial institutions? There’s no consolation prize when for partial self-service onboarding. Digital onboarding journeys that are broken up by offline channels are about as expeditious as non-existent ones.

If customers are not onboarding themselves digitally they’re typically forced to wait to speak to call center agents or trek out to the branch – and they’re not too happy about it. In a recent consumer survey, 80% of banking customers said that starting an interaction online and being forced offline reduces the chance they’ll complete it.

Broken digital onboarding is wasting banks’ digital investments, and squandering their customer acquisition efforts as consumers run out of patience for slow and high-effort experiences and end up abandoning.

Speeding Customer Acquisition Through Digitally Complete Onboarding

Eliminating needless time and effort on onboarding that can be completely self-service significantly accelerates completion times for banks and helps them make the most out of their digital investments.

To eliminate the costs, delays and friction caused by broken onboarding journeys, banks need to swap the digital silos that add more steps for customers and manual legacy processes that drive them offline and often require them to download and print PDF forms and use outdated hardware like fax or scan just to sign up for an account.
Removing these delays and frustrations and making it easier to convert prospects into customers requires one end-to-end digital solution designed for the way consumers today expect to get things done, right from their smartphone.

A Digital Completion solution allows for one completely digital self-service customer experience from start to finish, from eSignatures and eForms, ID Verification, to instant digital consent.

Banks and financial institutions delivering digitally complete customer journeys:

  • Speed up onboarding by 67%
  • Increase completion rates by 25%
  • Reduce touchpoints by 60%

Allowing customers to smoothly and quickly onboard themselves from their preferred digital channel allows banks to deliver the experiences today’s customers expect, improve customer acquisition, and get the most out of their self-service investments.

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