10 Signs It’s Time To Improve Your Onboarding Experience

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First impressions are lasting impressions, and your onboarding journey can be the deciding factor on whether a prospect becomes a long-term customer.  A seamless, hyper-personalized onboarding experience is essential to starting a banking relationship off right – the moment the process causes any inconvenience for an applicant you risk losing them to your competitors.  

Below are 10 practices that can cause friction in your onboarding journey – if any of these sound familiar it may be time to evaluate how you can create a more efficient onboarding experience.  

1.Your path to purchase is the same regardless of the product or service you are offering 
One mistake we see financial institutions make is using the same purchase path for all of their products. They design it assuming the prospect wants a long-term banking relationship, and their messaging and experience reflects that. The consumer who knows they want your low-interest rate loan and the consumer who is still shopping around shouldn’t have the same experience.  We suggest designing multiple onboarding journeys around different personas or use cases. Will this cost more time and money? Yes. But onboarding plays such a large role in revenue growth and customer acquisition, that this is not where you want to save money by building something that’s easy to maintain.  

2.Visitors have to scroll to find your “apply now” button  
Often times, prospective customers are coming to your website ready to apply for a specific product, they shouldn’t have to scroll to the end of your page or dig through several pages to apply. We suggest that you place your “apply now” button for your most popular products on your home page making it easier for visitors to begin the process. 

3.After hitting “apply now”, there are no details around the product they’re applying for 
Imagine a prospect has spent the last 15 minutes comparing your various savings accounts and they’ve chosen the one that offers a $500 cash bonus. After clicking “apply now” they’re taken to an application screen that doesn’t mention anything about the cash bonus. Now they’re questioning if they’re in the right place or applying for the right account. Reiterating the key features or benefits of your products in the beginning of the application process can increase applicants’ motivation and confidence to move forward. 

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4.You’re not following up with those who abandon their application 
Someone abandoning their application for a new account or loan doesn’t mean they aren’t interested, sometimes life just gets in the way. Their child may be crying for their attention or their Wi-Fi gets disconnected, and they decide they’ll finish it later. Regardless of the scenario, those who have provided their name, phone number, and email are interested in your product and they should be nurtured to see if there’s any way you can be of assistance and provide the nudge they need to finish.  

5. Your applicants must manually fill out each field of their application  
In the digital era we are in, consumers have become accustomed to having streamlined processes that make their life more convenient. While each individual field isn’t an issue, in aggregate it can take from 5 to 30 minutes to complete an application, and your customers have other things they’d much rather be doing with that time. Implementing capabilities like photo ID capture or prefilling information from your CRM system can prevent applicants from getting overwhelmed or distracted and abandoning their applications.  

6. You’re asking for tough information in the first few questions 
Many financial institutions’ applications reflect their core banking systems and not their consumers. So, applicants may be asked tough information like their tax history or driver’s license number within the first few questions. This information often takes effort and time to find and can easily scare away your prospects before they’ve become invested. We recommend you ask the easiest questions first, retrieve the data you need to follow up, get them invested in the process, and ask the tougher questions later. 

7. Details like fonts and disclosures aren’t a design priority 
Don’t assume consumers will complete or read whatever you put in front of them – you want to ensure you’re presenting a clean and unintimidating journey to becoming a customer. Small details like you’re your font choice or the layout and language of your disclosure can make or break whether an applicant becomes a customer or opts in for your offers. For example, it’s required to obtain consent from consumers to send text messages, if you present this disclosure as a mini novel with language that’s hard to understand the applicant is more likely not to accept simply because the information is too overwhelming. Being intentional with your font choices and format can be valuable.  

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8. You don’t design for a mobile-friendly experience first 
It’s no secret that cellphones are becoming the more popular device to apply for bank accounts and credit cards. In fact, you’re more than likely to see higher completion rates on a smart phone versus a desktop, so it’s essential that you design a mobile-friendly experience. We suggest designing for a smart phone first because it’s much easier to design for a small screen and scale up, rather than trying to cram a large screen design onto a smaller design.  

9. Fancy widgets and features are a design priority 
Completing an application for a bank product is something people HAVE to do, not something they WANT to do. So, above all else make it quick and simple. Having 3D rotating objects, animated images, or “fun” fonts can make your onboarding experience appear cluttered and overwhelming. You don’t want your design getting in the way of prospects becoming customers.    

10. You only look at other financial institutions for inspiration 
We’ve worked with plenty of financial institutions and when looking for inspiration many times they look to their peers and competitors, but to design a truly innovative customer experience, you should look outside of banking for inspiration. For example, Amazon learned that displaying a customer’s last search on their home page when the customer returned helped complete shopping journeys. Banks and credit unions have seen similar success with making the banner image on the home page about Mortgages if that was the last thing the prospect searched for.  

If you are looking for a way to significantly impact the growth and profitability of your organization, then improving the effectiveness of your onboarding journeys is a highly effective way to achieve tangible results. 

Originally published at: Temenos

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