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Reinventing Online Account Opening to Build a Customer Centric Brand

According to a report by McKinsey, “More and more, customers expect the levels of satisfaction they receive from leaders such as Amazon, Apple, and Google-and they expect this from even the sleepiest corners of markets across all industries. Meanwhile, leading service providers also differentiate themselves through technology. Advanced analytics gives them rapid customer insights, so they can move with unprecedented speed and agility.”

 

Account Opening is the first point of interaction between a customer and their bank. It plays a decisive role in defining your brand. This interaction has the potential to ‘make or break’ the relationship. And, if executed strategically, it has the potential to be a brand differentiator!

 

Unfortunately, banks often do not realise the relevance of account opening in shaping customer relationships and in shaping the brand.

 

According to The Financial Brand- “Today’s online account opening enrolment process must change. Abandonment rates are ridiculous - 40% or more, according to reports. Opening an account through the digital channel can often take more than 15 minutes, which simply doesn’t cut it for today’s consumer who won’t settle for anything other than a simple, streamlined digital experience.”

 

Many of them still treat online account opening as a process and not as an organisation-wide, brand defining strategy. Moreover, in many banks, the online channel is patched on to existing processes that were designed for branch-based and human interaction-driven scenarios.

 

Ironically, far from delighting customers, this results in substandard customer experiences and soaring customer abandonment rates. What many banks fail to gauge is that online behaviours require a different technological approach and the ability to carry context through the process digitally, without manual intervention.

 

In this article, we will discuss how banks can leverage online account opening to strengthen customer relationships and use it as a brand defining strategy. We will dwell on the potential areas of improvement and the requisite technological capabilities that make online account opening truly ‘Digital’ and ‘Customer Centric’!

 

Multi-channel Initiation – Freedom to Customer!

 

Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow

 

Many organizations consider social media integration and mobility as a means to improve their reach and enhance customer experience. While this is true if done well, usually it isn’t the technology used, rather the way these channels are integrated in the process that amounts to a delightful on-boarding experience. The ability to seamlessly apply for accounts through any channel available is essential. However, you must select the channel best suited for a given situation; be it mobile, web, social media platforms, SMS or email.

 

Agile Service Delivery – Account Opening in Minutes?

 

Reaching Customers Faster

 

Online Account Opening can be a complex and time consuming process if handled manually. The lack of an integrated application process with straight-through processing affects speed, and introduces inaccuracies and leakages.

 

An ideal online account opening process takes only a few minutes. There are ample straight through processing opportunities that can be harnessed for a smooth on-boarding. Organisations must leverage the requisite technologies that allow for orchestration at the process level.

 

Intelligent Assistance – Since You Know Your Customers!

 

Speaking to Customers in Their Own Language

 

Millennial customers expect more than just anytime-anywhere access. They expect omni-channel and intuitive interactions, personalized treatment and real-time delivery; sans errors. An online account opening technology capable of offering intelligent assistance leveraging digital sensing is an imperative to this end.

 

It should offer pre-population of form data from KYC documents and thorough integration with social media. It should offer automated AML, fraud and credit checks, along with the ability to save the application intermittently and continue later, on a different channel.

 

Effective Communication to Cross Sell- Offering ‘Sticky’ Products

 

Offering Targeted, Relevant and Useful Products

 

An effective cross selling strategy can empower a financial institution to pitch "sticky products" to customers. Sticky products are products or services that are of great value to customers, so much that they become tied down to them. According to a Harland Clarke report3, "An essential characteristic of a successful on-boarding strategy is its ability to engage account holders to utilize 'sticky' products and services when they are most willing to buy."

 

Thus, we see how banks can leverage digital technologies to build a customer centric brand. It is imperative that banks develop a clever branding strategy and leverage every interaction with the customer to define the brand. They must pick up on customers’ preferences and understand what makes them ‘tick’. And, leverage this information to deliver enhanced customer experiences.

 

Virender Jeet
Sr. VP Technology, Newgen Software

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