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Customer onboarding is the critical phase for any business in terms of both acquisition and future retention. A customer's first real contact with a brand or business is the foundation on which the rest of the relationship between the two will be built.
In general, the incorporation of a user as a customer of a company is always based on the use of a product or service that is acquired in the same process. Ensuring a smooth, comfortable experience that conveys security and trust is necessary to avoid abandonment rates and maximize conversion.
Designing an acquisition-focused and customer-centric customer journey is the best way to ensure that the customer onboarding process ends as expected. In this article, we will discuss in-depth what customer onboarding is, how to do it properly and why it is undoubtedly one of the most important processes, if not the most important, for any business or organization.
What is customer onboarding?
Customer onboarding is a procedure by which a user goes from being a potential customer to being registered as one in the customer base of a business. The term customer onboarding is also generally used to refer to it.
It is the first step taken for a client to be verified and registered on a platform, organization or company and involves a series of controls, data collection and documentation as well as verification that these are true.
The term onboarding was initially used by the talent attraction and human resources areas of companies to refer to the time in which new employees join and adapt to the company. However, it was adopted by sales, IT and legal departments to refer to the acquisition of new customers and users.
While this is nothing new, as it has been done for decades since companies established standardized processes in their operations, the digitization of customer onboarding is more recent.
Digital onboarding: more autonomous and satisfied customers
The digitization of processes came to organizations decades ago with two clear objectives: optimization and growth. Now, users demand digital and remote access to their brands, products and services, whether to make use of them, manage them or acquire new ones.
Digital onboarding, or digital onboarding, is nothing more than the technological transposition of traditional customer onboarding. Previously, onboarding processes had to be carried out in person and required tasks such as photocopying, processing printed documentation or mechanical work by agents in sales offices and stores on their computers.
Now, digital customer onboarding platforms are able to offer agile processes, more secure than ever and automated compliance with the most demanding regulations without generating frustration and friction for customers.
The benefits of digitizing this process with a cloud platform capable of integrating across all channels that a customer can access, while creating new ones, respond to the demands and needs of existing customers.
Key considerations for a successful customer onboarding
How to do successful customer onboarding is the question many businesses ask themselves when establishing their marketing, sales or compliance strategies. There are a number of key aspects to consider when creating customer onboarding that not everyone spends as much time on as they should.
Only a professional and specialized approach to customer onboarding will be able to optimize processes to avoid abandonment in the middle of the process and increase acquisition thanks to a flow that guides the user towards conversion.
On the other hand, there are a number of technical and regulatory aspects that cannot be ignored at all, as many companies have had to face significant penalties or major risks because their customer onboarding processes were not adapted to the requirements demanded by the authorities from companies in their industry.
Here are the 5 key aspects to understanding how customer onboarding should be approached:
1. Attraction strategy design
First of all, a study of the current state of the processes related to the onboarding of new customers must be carried out. Prior work must be done to analyze and understand both the business and the sector to which it belongs as well as the different customer profiles that will be users of the digital and onsite onboarding processes.
Having experts in the industry, as well as customer onboarding specialists is a guarantee of previous quality research that allows us to create a process adapted and adjusted to the needs of the business and the customers.
2. Evaluation of sectoral regulations
As part of the first phase, but with sufficient relevance to give it detailed attention, knowledge of the norms, laws and regulatory standards that affect both the onboarding of the client itself and the industry to which the business belongs.
While it is true that establishing demanding processes with maximum security is the best decision regardless of the type of business, there are certain areas such as finance, banking, insurance, trading or telecommunications that are subject to specific regulations that indicate how customer onboarding should take place in that industry.
Know them and consult RegTech experts on how to comply with them before, during and after customer onboarding processes Many digital solutions help to comply in an automated way (and that is updated without impacting the business in case of regulatory changes) with the most demanding standards in an incredibly simple way for both users and the company's operations.
3. Choice of channels
Customer onboarding can occur on very different channels. Designing a cross-channel experience is critical, as many customers may start the process on one device and want to jump to another because they experience some kind of difficulty with the first one.
Differentiating between online and offline should not imply a change in onboarding. In other words, the solution implemented should be the same and digitized. This will not only offer a consistent and global experience to customers, receiving the same quality regardless of where they have chosen to interact with the business, but it will also save the company resources and costs as well as boost productivity among its employees.
The answer here, then, is simple: everyone. Having a global customer onboarding system that can be implemented in any channel is possible thanks to holistic digital platforms that are offering innovative software adapted to any channel.
4. Onboarding integration into the customer journey
Companies have their own dynamics and work with established systems that they may have been using for years. Reinventing the way in which customer onboarding occurs in the customer journey must take into account the systems and processes involved, on the one hand, and the user experience and interactions that arise, on the other.
Making changes is necessary in order to grow and be productive, however, it must be done carefully and with the right choices. The best customer onboarding partners are able to minimize the impact of integrating a new onboarding solution.
5. Post-onboarding operations
After digital or face-to-face onboarding, the customer journey does not end. There are dozens of possible interactions with the new customer and the same platform that managed the onboarding is capable of handling new product and service contracts, certified communication with the customer, and the automation of tasks associated with after-sales or any back-office operation.
Building a productive and efficient organization by establishing agile and automated processes throughout the customer journey is a reality that holistic solutions have made possible.
After the renewal of the process, it is crucial to evaluate the success rates of the integrated digital onboarding solutions so that they never fall below 95%. Not all systems are capable of delivering a smooth and frictionless experience, something that will keep these indicators in check.
Know Your Customer and eSignature: driving customer onboarding
Both KYC (Know Your Customer) and eSignature solutions are decisive in any customer onboarding strategy. So much so that this phase of the customer journey would not be possible without integrating these two procedures.
A user becomes a customer when deciding to make a purchase or contract, moments in which KYC and contracting are not only an option but mandatory by law.
Identity verification and strong authentication are mandatory requirements and take place at customer onboarding. In digital onboarding, streaming video identity verification solutions can onboard customers in less than three minutes thanks to their AI-based digital proposition and polished interfaces.
Implementing a digitized identity verification process in onboarding not only demonstrates that the company is committed to security and transparency in its customer-related processes, but is now, especially in certain business sectors, a legal requirement.
Recruitment is one of the most delicate parts of the onboarding process. This is where users sometimes decide not to proceed. Conveying transparency and reducing friction to zero by guiding the user through the flow of the onboarding process will determine the success of the operation.
A customer who does not sign up can join, yes; but the initial objective of onboarding is to register the user with a customer account so that he can enjoy and use the products and services offered by the business. If we do not have a proper onboarding solution, customer onboarding will not be successful.
Having a powerful digital signature tool will ensure contracts. Additionally, in B2B environments it is essential that the solution is not only based on the signature itself or on the acceptance of conditions but that it is capable of being a collaborative space for negotiation and interaction between both parties. The best practices in electronic signatures are those that allow the system to be molded to offer an agile and fast signature in B2C environments, focused on conversion and another detailed and detailed one in B2B businesses.
Steps in digital customer onboarding
As we have already mentioned, the KYC process is responsible for verifying the customer's identity during the onboarding process. In the case of digital onboarding, the eKYC is responsible for ensuring an automated and compliant procedure.
The basic phases in customer onboarding are:
- The new customer accesses the onboarding platform, registers his basic data and chooses the products to be contracted.
- Know Your Customer takes place, where the customer's identity is verified by validating and registering their identity documents on both sides and cross-checking this information with face recognition.
- Checks are made to verify the originality and veracity of the data and documentation provided by the customer before giving access to the products and services of the brand, platform or business.
- In case of requiring the sectorial regulation depending on the operations to be performed and the type of product to be contracted, a human agent can corroborate what happened in the previous steps, in a simple and uncomplicated interface.
- The process is completed and the customer obtains credentials to make use of your products and services or to contract new ones in your management area.
The benefits of digital onboarding are numerous and have enabled companies in all industries and sectors to expand into new markets without the need to invest large sums of money or have a physical presence.
Standards associated with digital onboarding such as eIDAS or the AML and SCA (Strong Customer Authentication) standards have changed the rules of the game, allowing businesses in sensitive sectors to operate in weeks in a market of more than 500 million users and even worldwide, since complying with such comprehensive standards is a sure way to implement their activity in any country or region.