Re-imagining your onboarding process in three steps

Re-imagining your onboarding process in three steps

If you could start again from a blank slate, what would your customer onboarding process look like?

As the first interaction outside of the sales and marketing cycle, it’s the initial indicator of the quality of service you can provide throughout your working relationship. Do it well and onboarding becomes a USP in its own right. Do it poorly and conversions can turn into cold leads in moments.

That’s why the idea of redefining onboarding, ensuring the process is fit to meet the demands of the newest normal, is key to success in the new digital age. For banks looking to secure not only their long term futures, but those of the businesses they are built to support, it is a vital one. Here’s why.

Where are we now?

  • 99.9 - The percentage of the UK economy made up by SMEs
  • 835,494 - The number of companies incorporated in 2020 alone
  • 3 - The number of years digitisation has accelerated due to COVID-19
  • 58 - The percentage of global transactions that are now digital, almost tripling in just two years

One of the impacts of COVID-19 is the enforced acceleration of digitisation, and the rate that the banking sector has had to keep up with such a rapid pace of change. Digital global transactions have tripled since 2019. The number of businesses incorporated in the UK increased 41% year-on-year. The direction of travel is only going one way.

The onboarding challenge, then, becomes twofold: how can banks process new customers at pace, while ensuring they are only working with businesses that comply with their strict risk expectations?

Step one

Verify existing customer and business owner identities to meet regulatory requirements

It all starts with comprehensive company data. From UBO to PEP status, shareholders to sanctions, every piece of information around your prospective customer is crucial.

Using traditional paper-based methods, attaining and confirming these details could take two weeks; now, it can be done in a matter of seconds. Integrated APIs enable your in-house teams to automate the time-consuming admin and hone in on the details that matter.

This also helps you manage expectations on the customer side, too. For individuals or smaller SMEs, the amount of information to verify will be relatively small. For larger businesses with complex corporate structures – think directors sitting on boards of other companies, or shareholders with multiple cross-industry ventures – the process is longer, but discrepancies or knowledge gaps are far easier to identify. 

And, as regulatory requirements continue to evolve, a transparent verification process is crucial not only for compliance purposes, but for user experience too.

Step two

First class onboarding: re-imagining your application process to marry regulatory requirements with UX

After verification, the sign-up. Traditionally, this is where the biggest drop off rates occur, largely down to lengthy sign-up forms that request information the customer may not have to hand. For your teams, too, processing inconsistent data alongside more time-consuming manual checking means resources cannot be distributed to areas of the business that matter most.

The solution to this? Auto-populated web forms. All relevant information from the verification process can be synced into the sign up, meaning the number of fields customers are required to complete are reduced considerably. It’s a simple way of building trust, and showing that you take their time seriously.

85% - The amount onboarding teams can reduce the time spent gathering and inputting information after using auto-populated web forms.

How else can you transform your onboarding experience?

  • Streamlined credit checks. To optimise your own team’s performance, you need to know how much time credit checks are taking, in turn enabling you to further improve the customer experience. 
  • Automated KYB, KYC and AML checks. Carry out vital checks on companies, their directors and key beneficiaries to meet regulatory and compliance standards. A simple way to safeguard against risk, seamlessly.

Step three

Understanding risk: The importance of high-veracity data to build a picture of your customers at the moment of truth

Now, your team is empowered with all the available information, gleaned thoroughly via the verification and sign-up processes. With your customer pushed to the end of the funnel, it’s now the moment of truth: are you going to work with them, or refuse their business?

To make this decision, you need to be able to confidently map key stakeholders related to the customer in question. Developments in the RegTech space mean that resources – like DueDil’s Business Information Graph (B.I.G.) – can help you do this in minutes, rather than hours.

Traditionally, to truly understand the risk of a given consumer, you would have to locate the information on all its directors and their multiple ventures. This is complicated, and the need to look up individual confirmation statements to identify these other companies often results in understandable manual errors, or missed details.

Instead, the final stage of the onboarding process must utilise the most accurate data possible: real-time. Graphs like the B.I.G. showcase the connections between companies and officers instantly, something particularly useful for organisations processing a high volume of applications a day. 

Without access to real-time data, the rapid pace of decay of information from application submission to approval could be costly later down the line. 

Smart decisions, at speed

The three steps covered above present a comprehensive, optimised approach to onboarding – and one that can be infinitely adapted to suit the changing needs of your business and your customers.

Traditional barriers to growth are eradicated, and teams are empowered with the real-time data they need to free up key hours to spend adding value elsewhere along the funnel. Such an approach enables you to toe the delicate line between speed and thorough diligence, and unlocks the insight needed to pull the right levers at the right times.

Crucial onboarding metrics – fewer dropouts, higher conversion rates, lower onboarding costs, reduced fraud risk – are all taken into consideration. The technology, powered by API, makes these easy to assess and iterate around. Customers are placed at the heart of the process, but not at the expense of compliance.

In short, it enables you to make smart decisions, at speed, when it matters most.

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