Finding the balance in onboarding

November 11, 2020
Finding the balance in onboarding

How to deliver the best in both customer experience and compliance

Ask any product team and they’ll tell you the same: creating a customer experience strategy that truly works takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

For those in the financial services industry, this is even more pronounced, as fit-for-purpose compliance must be woven into the onboarding process. So how do these two seemingly-contrasting forces coexist?

To explore this issue, Justin Fitzpatrick, DueDil’s CEO and Co-Founder, hosted a roundtable discussion with two of our expert clients – Joe Pettersson, CTO at Banked, and Ben Feilding, Product Manager at Dojo, part of Paymentsense – as well as a selection of participants from across the industry. In it, the panel covered everything from personal challenges to deep dives into data, technology and what the future holds along the way.

Below are some of the key learnings from the hour-long debate.

Compliance and customer onboarding can – and should – complement each other

Traditionally, the idea of an inherent tension between delivering great customer experience and ensuring onboarding remains compliant was not wholly inaccurate. But times are changing – and that’s down to a change in attitudes from service providers and customers alike.

“Customers are now much more comfortable in providing their information to financial services companies”, says Ben Feilding. “As long as the process is approached in a way that doesn’t trouble them too much, these tensions can be avoided altogether”.

In doing so, this helps foster a feeling of mutual trust. As customers feel more comfortable, providers become more confident in their ability to naturally embed compliance into their processes.

“The key is to be upfront with them. Let them know what information you already have, then they can fill in the gaps. Compliance – and knowledge around it – is much more widespread these days. Customers appreciate when it’s handled well. They recognise it saves them time, and it helps you build trust, too”.

Embrace the challenges posed by customers who don’t naturally take the ‘happy path’

Every business in the space will have a ‘happy path’, an onboarding journey they’d like the majority of their new customers to take. But what about those customers that simply don’t fit into any predetermined categories? As Justin Fitzpatrick, pointed out understanding these exceptions is crucial. So what’s the best approach?

At Banked, Joe Pettersson encounters this issue with newly-formed businesses. Rather than relying on technology to assess their suitability, it requires some human intervention to dig a little deeper.

“We have a self-service product that is bought by small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs), designed to be as hands-free as possible. The ‘happy path’ is an automated one that results in them signing up to be able to take payments without any human interaction.”

“For companies that have just started out, accurate information around them simply doesn’t exist. It means our operations team needs to develop an understanding in order to make a judgement call. And that, in turn, helps us understand the needs of these new customers even better”.

This highlights the need for sustained learning when embedding compliance into winning onboarding experiences. Identifying what can be done – or not done – to improve them is something that always demands attention.

Make sure your metrics are laser-focused

Generating data points for various interactions has never been more accessible, but sometimes businesses can get bogged down in them. We often hear how companies are ‘drowning in data’, but the real success comes from thinking quality, rather than quantity.

“It’s really easy to over-index on metrics”, says Joe Pettersson. “We try to remain honest with ourselves and approach them on an individual level. Is this metric really going to help our business move the dial? As a small company, focusing on them too much can dilute the wider value we look to deliver.”

It’s something echoed by Ben Feilding, with the introduction of a personal touch now an integral part of Dojo’s approach. “We’ve started to listen to our customers a lot more. Instead of simply looking at analytics, we balance this out with surveys and try to speak to them more closely. It’s how we measure the value they’re getting from us”.

“We have to move away from vanity metrics”, Joe Pettersson says. “Unless our customers are successful, it simply doesn’t matter”.

So, what does the future hold?

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t just need to expect the unexpected – we need to prepare for it, too. The global pandemic has forced businesses to accelerate the development of their digital strategies and, as a result, the service providers that had invested in customer experience are reaping the rewards of doing so.

In a high-pressure dynamic, thinking proactively will naturally lead to the creation of improved products – and compliance is a huge part of this.

“If there’s one thing to take forward into the future it’s that compliance doesn’t need to be this deep, discreet thing in the middle of your onboarding”, says Joe Pettersson. “In fact, it can be spread much more thinly across your process to meet up with your risk needs and appetites”.

It’ll also become increasingly important to look for solutions outside of your immediate industry, the panel believes. For consumers, digital touchpoints are everywhere, so expectations around customer experiences are changing constantly. As Justin Fitzpatrick stated, this is where we should be looking for inspiration.

“Looking at other industries can really expand our understanding of how people behave and react to certain elements of the onboarding process. Retail is a good example; when compliance becomes too frictionless, the number of returns goes up.”

“Ultimately, it all comes down to human behaviour more than anything else.”

Interested to find out more? Take a look at our recent panel discussion: “How to deliver best-in-class fully compliant digital customer onboarding”.

During this webinar, Justin Fitzpatrick, Co-founder and CEO of DueDil, welcomed Joe Pettersson, CTO at Banked (also featured in this article), Matthew Buchanan, Head of Compliance and MRLO at and Dinu Popa, AML / Financial Crime Lead at MarketFinance to the discussion table. Our highly esteemed panel looked at what it takes to deliver a fully compliant digital customer onboarding experience.

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