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    6 Steps to Seamless Account Holder Onboarding

    More and more, financial institutions are focusing on the consumer experience. Particularly, in our post-pandemic environment where consumers are leveraging self-serve channels for their day-to-day activities, user experience has become critical to maintaining and growing relationships.

    The focus on creating an exceptional introduction to your financial institution during the onboarding process is imperative since having a poor onboarding experience sets the tone for your long-term relationship. If the experience is confusing, overwhelming, or otherwise puts up barriers to achieving success (or at least recognizing the value potential in your product), it can become difficult to increase wallet share.

    Here are six steps to ensure your account holders have a seamless onboarding process, increase their product adoption, and remain loyal for years to come:

    1. Make the Sign-Up Process Simple

    How much do you enjoy filling out lengthy registrations? If the answer is “not much,” you’re just like the rest of us. Life is complicated enough, and if you don’t make it simple to sign up for your product or service, you risk losing business. The bare necessities are all you should include in the initial sign-up process. While consumers expect to give you some of their personal data, they don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing all of their personal information right from the start. It’s tedious, and if the information isn’t relevant to the transaction, it slows down the onboarding process.

    2. Create Compelling Messaging

    When it comes to financial products and services, not only are you competing with other credit unions and banks, but you’re also competing with Fintech organizations that are arming consumers with fast, intuitive, and convenient digital solutions. However, no matter how large or small your institution is, you have a unique selling proposition that makes you different and provides value to your account holders.

    With so much competition, what can you do to make your service a “must?” Let current account holders and prospects know what makes you unique—in no more than two sentences. This tagline or unique selling proposition should be displayed in prominent real estate on your website or landing pages and in all onboarding promotional materials. Call-to-actions (CTAs) should be used often across your digital footprint. Consider placing them in multiple sections on your web pages so they’re constantly visible to the user—particularly on mobile.

    3. Vary Your Engagement Tactics

    Not everyone engages or processes information in the same way. Some consumers prefer quick-fire communication from social media networks or via text messages, while others prefer a more intimate conversation offered in relationship-based phone conversations. Consider varying your engagement tactics to meet the needs of each user and when in doubt, ask how they prefer to communicate. A well-rounded approach provides more reach and casts a wider net to communicate your value proposition to a larger audience.

    4. Be Casual and Personable

    Be personable when interacting with account holders. The days of overly professional communication are a thing of the past. Consumers expect you to communicate authentically. We all appreciate casual conversation that conveys information without losing that touch of friendliness. We want to be able to relate to our account holders, and vice versa. An integral part of the onboarding process is making a new customer feel welcome. For example, if you want to thank a customer for taking the time to sign up for your service, a thank you email is a great way to accomplish this. Remember to keep the tone warm, fun, and offer additional guidance if necessary.

    5. Get Referrals in Onboarding

    The first place most of us go before we visit a restaurant, hire a landscaper, or book a hotel room is Google. In fact, consumers read a minimum of 10 reviews before confidently making a purchase decision. Therefore, a great way to expand your consumer base is to solicit reviews and referrals. Encourage your new and existing account holders to act as brand ambassadors to promote your services and consider offering a referral fee for doing so. After all, who is more influential than an excited friend or family member? At the very least, make it easy for account holders to tweet and share your information with their social media networks.

    6. Invest in Streamlining Your Entire Process

    Consider having unbiased third parties evaluate your onboarding and application processes to identify inefficiencies and rate the overall experience. Sometimes, we can be too close to a process and what may seem clear, easy, and simple may translate to a muddy, difficult, overwhelming process for someone else. An investment in streamlining your onboarding process will return dividends in consumer satisfaction.

    A successful onboarding process takes time and testing to achieve an experience consumers will accept and enjoy. It’s important to stay positive and keep trying different ideas until you find the one that works best for your account holders and your specific situation. Evolution is important as well. As consumer needs and expectations shift, processes should also adapt.

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    Jeff Schneider

    Jeff joined SWBC in 2004 to provide service in Ohio, Michigan, and surrounding Midwest states. Jeff has more than 30 years of business client relations experience, which includes a background in insurance through Equitable Life Assurance Society and operations for a records management and document storage company that served financial institutions. His experience and vast knowledge of the financial industry has helped deliver products that increase revenue for financial institutions, as well as bundle products so clients receive the greatest benefit without increasing distribution cost. Jeff is a graduate of Central Michigan University and The American College, and he holds a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation.

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