7 Essential Components to an Effective Onboarding Program

The onboarding experience provides the first impression of a financial institution’s level of service — an impression that will persist throughout the entire customer’s lifecycle and set the stage for future growth. That is why an effective onboarding program is essential to retaining and growing relationships with your customers. In case you missed our most recent webinar, "The Art of Onboarding New Banking Customers" [watch now], here are the 7 essential components of an onboarding program:

1. Define Onboarding Scope

The first step to building a successful onboarding program is developing an onboarding and cross-selling communications framework that can achieve your institution’s growth goals. Establish goals for your onboarding program and ask key questions such as: How will you reach the customer? Who is your target customer group? These answers are essential for gaining a clear understanding of the scope of your onboarding program.

2. Speed Time to First Value

A good onboarding campaign is one that quickly demonstrates your value to the customer. These new relationships will need nurturing and reassurance that they have made the right decision. It is important to keep this in mind and orchestrate “quick wins” for your clients. Make the most of every interaction within the first 90 days, knowing that this period of adjustment is when your customers will be most critical of service — and most likely to consider walking away. For example, one great way to serve the customer as they get to know you and your offerings is to include “Quick Help” links in your welcome emails that allows the new client to define their path of engagement.

3. Personalize Your Communications

Think about interactions from your client’s perspective: they have just come out of the sales process which was highly personalized — salespeople knew them well and were always attentive and responsive. Often, the transition from prospect to customer can make people feel disoriented. It’s no longer a given that they are your top priority. To help ease this transition, your mission is to maintain the same level of personalization in your client communications as you had in your sales process. It builds trust, tells the customer they are still important to you, and gives them a great first impression of the customer experience you provide.

Data from one study showed that consumers are willing to pay up to 41% more for an excellent customer experience, including personalized engagement across all touch points. As the demand for personalized service continues to increase, it’s your job to leverage customer data to meet that demand. During the onboarding period, you are laying a foundation that will influence how well you can serve your customer in the future. You should begin to take note and track customer preferences, understand their life stage, and begin to anticipate their needs. The data you collect now will determine how well you will be able to spot opportunities to serve them and grow the relationship in the future.

4. Follow Up Regularly

Your whole team must be both proactive and reactive when engaging customers during the onboarding phase. This means regularly touching base with new customers to make them feel valued and known through personalized offers that correspond to their real needs. Most people are familiar with the traditional “22261” onboarding structure. However, to incorporate all of the necessary touch points, the new structure would look more like “221224536911.” These touch points might include:

  • 2 Day - Thank You Card
  • 2 Week - Follow-up Call
  • 1 Month - Welcome Email/Mailer
  • 2 Month - Survey
  • 2 Month - Cross-sell Offer
  • 45 Day - Follow-up Call
  • 3 Month - Cross-sell Offer
  • 6 Month - Cross-sell Offer
  • 9 Month - Cross-sell Offer
  • 1 Year - Financial Checkup Email/Mailer
  • 1 Year - Follow-up call

The key is to service customer needs while simultaneously steering customers through the intended onboarding strategy, which will ultimately build trust and lead to growth of the relationship over time.  

5. Utilize Multiple Marketing Channels

An effective onboarding campaign is all about building momentum and creating consistent brand impressions across multiple marketing channels. It is important to build the correct communication for each channel, understanding how your customers will react and engage with you best in different formats. Beyond direct mail and email, you can integrate outbound phone calls, text messaging, mobile banking messaging, surveys, statement inserts and even pop-up messages delivered to your frontline staff or call center during customer interactions. These omni-channel interactions serve to continually reinforce your relationship with the customer while educating them on your offerings through targeted marketing messages.

6. Establish Clear Metrics for Success

Identifying your organization’s business goals was only the first step in a successful onboarding program. In order to understand whether the goals of your program were truly met, you must define tangible success criteria. Some sample metrics by which you can analyze the success of your program are:

  • Performance – How quickly are requests completed once received? 
  • Productivity – How much time and effort was spent to process the request?
  • Quality – Measuring data integrity, rejection reason analysis, and/or human input error.
  • Backlog – What is the age of requests in the queue?
  • Client Satisfaction – How are clients experiencing the onboarding process? How satisfied are they with turnaround time?
  • Revenue – Is the onboarding process increasing revenue? Are the right clients with the highest revenue potential being focused on?

Now that you have your success criteria, establish realistic targets that you can track, report on and to which you can hold your team accountable. Collect statistics around trends and patterns so the metrics can be refined to reflect actual performance. It’s key to continually review progress, analyze results, and adjust accordingly.

7. Leverage a Technology Framework

Finally, utilize technology to build an onboarding framework that achieves your strategic goals. The use of  technology to empower better customer service is a mega trend. Research shows that 48% of bank CEOs and 67% of credit union CEOs listed it as a top priority in 2016. This prioritization reflects a growing understanding of the constraints antiquated systems are putting on financial institutions. Investment in data-driven tools to afford better understanding and build life-long relationships with your number one asset — your customer — cannot be undervalued, and will be essential to keeping up with the competition.

360 View is the growth platform developed for banks and credit unions, providing all the tools necessary to maximize your team’s performance. Our solution goes beyond CRM, allowing you to gain insight into profitability, automate marketing campaigns, track goals and incentives, all while providing richer relational experiences that are personalized to every customer’s unique needs.

Through comprehensive customer profiles, real-time reporting, marketing automation and data-driven insights, we empower growth for your organization. Our customizable platform allows you to tailor 360 View to match your unique workflows and processes, including custom dashboards, reporting, marketing programs and more. 360 View brings together all the tools necessary to help you achieve your goals and realize growth at your organization.

Discover how banks and credit unions across the country are using 360 View to grow. Are you ready to grow? Schedule a one-on-one consultation to learn more.