Digital Transformation of Customer Onboarding: Are We There Yet?

By Dermot McCauley

Whether you are a bank, insurance company, government agency or other organisation, you need to make it easier for your customers to engage with you. Especially in high-value customer journeys, such as when customers are onboarding for the first time, you can’t afford to disappoint them during those early moments of engagement with you.

If you do, the relationship you spent time developing can quickly sour - or worse, end before it even begins. This is why onboarding is the most critical mile of the journey your customers embark upon with your business.

Most organisations have begun the digital transformation of onboarding journeys their customers take. Some have deployed a mobile app that incorporates mobile ID scanning technology to allow their customers to open an account on the go. Others offer e-Signature capability to allow customers the convenience of avoiding a branch office visit simply to deliver a wet signature. Some others have employed automation to streamline the gathering and verification of customer data.

But what is left to do? And how do you know when you are done?


Human Touchpoints Shouldn’t Be Painful

To help answer these questions, it is helpful to take a closer look at the customer onboarding journey, and assess the effectiveness of human touchpoints at which information is shared by the customer and by your organisation or business. At these touchpoints, pain is often caused—or exacerbated—by the following:

  • Forcing the customer to manually enter information that is already available, was provided previously or can be extracted from documents provided or found in in-house or external systems
  • Obligating the customer to operate through a restricted set of channels or formats (for example, not allowing use of a smartphone for submission of proof of identity)
  • Providing communications in paper format only or in a form unsuitable for the device on which it is being viewed
  • Failing to make communications personal and relevant to the customer and the task at hand
  • Forcing a ‘print, sign and fax back’ or similar analog interaction that adds time, cost and inconvenience
  • Failing to provide all relevant information and context needed so that a decision or choice can be made quickly
  • Failing to remove latency between touchpoints
  • Failing to pack as much value as possible into critical business moments that create or destroy value for the customer and the organisation.
    • For example, from the perspective of a customer, why not allow the customer in the course of a two-minute smartphone-based interaction to enter some identifying information, submit a document in support of an application, receive a contract agreement, review that agreement, sign the agreement, and begin use of the service? Isn’t that what you’d want, if you were in your customer’s shoes?

To alleviate the pain at human touchpoints, and more importantly, to accelerate customer journeys toward positive outcomes, think about your current onboarding workflow:

  • How digital are the touchpoints your customers experience when they attempt to open an account, apply for a loan or a policy, or apply for benefits?
  • And what does it really mean to ‘digitise’ a touchpoint? It’s not about ‘look and feel,’ it’s about the value you and your customer derive during that touchpoint.


Digitally Transforming Human Touchpoints

So how can you go about the business of digitising those human touchpoints? How do you create that value for your customer and your organisation?

You can view the process of ‘digitising’ the touchpoints in an end-to-end customer journey as a three-pronged attack on old ways of working. Think of it as a tool for attacking the old-fashioned and ineffective way that your customer onboarding process works - kind of a digital transformation trident. Here are the three stages of thinking to go through as you attack the problem and digitally transform:

1) Removing the need for a person to execute an information retrieval or entry task (a digital business will do this through the deployment of software ‘robots’ via robotic process automation)

2) De-analogueing of processes or tasks (such as the requirement for a paper or wet ink signature) and offering customers digital capabilities (a digital business will use e-Signature since in 80% of cases when a wet signature is taken an e-signature will suffice)

3) Augmenting human touchpoints by eliminating some of the work burden at a particular touchpoint, de-analogueing some of the necessary tasks at that touchpoint, and providing contextual information previously unavailable at that touchpoint (a digital business will pack more value into a ‘business moment’ by combining what had previously been separate steps and providing the contextual information needed to take quick action)

Next Steps

Take a moment to identify the key touchpoints in your customer onboarding journey. Have you digitised those touchpoints to the degree you can or should? Or is there more you could do?

For valuable insights to help you in evaluating your customer onboarding process and making an action plan for digitisation, see the 4-part blog series on driving business value with digital transformation, as well as real-world case studies of customers who have made digitising human touchpoints during the onboarding process a business priority.

Dermot McCauley is Vice President, Platform Product Marketing, Kofax