How Conversational Onboarding Improves the Customer Experience

Best practices in digital customer onboarding and optimizing the process through AI chatbots and conversational automation.

Onboarding marks the start of a new, direct relationship with a client, so it’s critical to get the process right. For any company, a smooth onboarding process is critical.

According to Nettra, banks report an average retail customer churn rate of 11%. Much of that occurs early in the banking relationship; churn rate during the first year is more like 20-25%. Meanwhile, the average cost per new customer is $200--and most customers generate only $150 per year in revenue. So there’s a tangible cost to all those lost customers.

Benefits of Conversational Onboarding

Given the importance of onboarding, it’s no surprise that leading financial institutions have begun to adopt digital tools and technologies that improve the process. Digital onboarding offers the security and regulatory compliance that financial institutions like banks need, while also delivering a better customer experience. When executed well, digital onboarding provides several meaningful benefits:

  • Speed: The traditional onboarding process might take several days. Digital onboarding can significantly reduce that time frame, leading to happier customers--and reducing the attrition rate.
  • Accessibility: Digital onboarding is available every day, at any time (and ideally, from any device). There’s no need for a prospective customer to wait until a bank branch is open. This 24-hour access also helps decrease attrition.
  • Freedom from endless paper trails: Customers often quit the onboarding process simply because they don’t want to deal with physical paper. Digital onboarding offers a paperless option.
  • Accuracy: A paper-based onboarding process requires an employee to manually enter each customer’s data. That takes time, and it increases the risk for errors. A digital process eliminates that data entry time and significantly improves data accuracy.

Yet digital onboarding isn’t without its challenges. Research from Oliver Wenman shows that only about 30% of prospective customers who wish to open a new account will even visit the relevant product details web page, and only 13% of those visitors will actually complete an application. Customers cite three key issues for deciding not to open a new account:

  1. Changing to a new provider is too difficult. Customers don’t want the headache of updating all their bill payments, direct deposits, and other automated transactions.
  2. The digital process is too burdensome. The process might take too long, or require too much information. This is often the issue when banks simply “lift and shift” their offline onboarding process to the web.
  3. Customers need human intervention. Banking products can be complicated, and customers might need occasional guidance from a real human, even if they prefer to complete a process digitally. Many digital onboarding processes fail to include this option.

Have a look at the video below to see how AI chatbots built on DRUID technology, together with UiPath RPA, enable end-to-end automation of your onboarding processes, while adding a human touch.


9 Best Practices in Digital Onboarding

Plenty of financial institutions have simply moved offline onboarding processes online, without making any real changes. This approach doesn’t usually result in a much better experience for customers.

But the advent of conversational AI has spurred a rapid evolution in digital onboarding capabilities for banks and other financial institutions. It allows business leaders to treat the shift to digital onboarding as an opportunity for true digital transformation and to constantly ask, “How can we transform onboarding into a process that showcases how easy it is to work with our financial institution?” The financial institutions that provide the best digital onboarding experiences keep these principles in mind.

Make the Digital Customer Experience a Top Priority

It’s clear that digital interactions are rapidly becoming a customer preference; Chatbots Magazine predicts that around 90% of customer interactions with their banks will be automated with chatbots in the near future. Prioritizing the digital experience is critical to remaining competitive in an increasingly digital world.

Deliver a Consistent Experience

A customer’s experience with digital onboarding should look and feel similar to other interactions with the bank. Choose a digital onboarding solution that allows you to replicate the look and feel of other contact points so that customers have the same experience across multiple domains.

Learn More About How Conversational AI Can Improve the Customer Experience

Offer seamless Digital ID Verification

In fields like financial services and insurance, onboarding begins with a Know Your Customer (KYC) check to verify the customer’s identity. That’s absolutely critical to ensure security, and it also gives customers additional confidence that their data will be secure. Automated online identity verification needs to ensure that users’ information is secure but also enable a simple and seamless experience. Powered by AI and machine learning, video identification allows real-time verification, while still conforming to rigorous security standards.

Adopt eSignatures

Gone are the days when wet signatures were the only acceptable choice. In person, it’s easy for a customer to put pen to paper; all the forms are right there, provided by the bank. But anywhere else, requiring wet signatures often means that customers must print their own paperwork, sign it, and mail it to the bank. That’s a lot of steps! Digital eSignatures are an obvious (and legally binding) alternative.

Make the Process Seamless

PDF forms often require a customer to provide the same information multiple times, which is often frustrating and time consuming. Digital onboarding provides ways to streamline the process. For example, forms might be pre-filled with previously submitted information. Or even better, forms might be replaced with a series of unique questions that automatically produce ready-to-submit forms, complete with digital signatures.

Embrace Mobile Solutions

Customers don’t leave their banks often; the average customer stays with a financial institution for 17 years--longer than most people stay with their partners. Yet 30% say they would leave their current financial institution if they found better mobile capabilities somewhere else. Meanwhile, only about 8% of onboarding processes can be done on a mobile device. That’s a considerable gap--one that competitive banks are racing to fill, so they can attract those new customers.

Go “No-Code” for More Agile Development

Business processes are changing all the time, and your digital onboarding must keep up. A no-code onboarding solution allows any business user to make updates, improve the user journey, test ideas, not just computer programmers, significantly shortening the time required for initial implementation and for subsequent changes.

Look for a Solution That Offers Robust Integration

The digital onboarding process usually pulls customer data from a variety of sources. But from the customer’s perspective, that data should flow among all devices, at all times. They won’t want to answer redundant or irrelevant questions. Choose a digital onboarding solution that provides two-way integration between front- and back-end systems.

Include Options for Human Intervention

Banking products are complicated. And while conversational AI might be able to address most customers’ questions, it’s also important to offer opportunities for customers to speak with a real person. That transition might be prompted by sentiment analysis (i.e., if an AI chatbot discerns that a customer is getting frustrated); by product complexity (for instance, if a customer wants to open a commercial bank account); or by any other relevant criteria.

Learn more about how DRUID’s AI-powered, no-code chatbot platform can streamline the onboarding process to improve customer experience.

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