Client On-boarding and Customer Experience

July 25, 2013

Anyone who has gone through the process of setting up a B2B (Business to Business) Account with a Bank would swear by the poor experience they are met with due to the highly inefficient and ineffective client Onboarding process that they are subjected to. Banks these days have to realize this to ensure they make the first best impressions on their clients to avoid losing them to competitors.

bank customer experienceThough part of the problem is compounded by ever-growing regulatory compliance requirements like Anti Money Laundering, Terrorist Funding, Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act, etc., that the Banks have to adhere to, they just cover only one side of Poor Client On-Boarding experience.

The primary reason for poor onboarding experience is attributed to a few other reasons too.

  • Lack of Customer-Centric Systems – Most banks traditionally inherit systems that are Typically Product Centric than customer / relationship-centric
  • Viewing the process of Client onboarding as a back-office operation than as an engaging front office with a collaborative back-office framework to seamlessly work with numerous back-office groups who play a facilitator role in the onboarding process
  • Lack of metric / Key Performance Indicator (KPI) driven approach in place to plan, measure, correct, and reward performing groups / Individuals who make a significant difference to the client onboarding experience

Though putting in place a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not a magic wand that wipe-out all the issues listed above in one go without a fundamental change in the way organizations operate, an effectively designed/implemented CRM that mitigates the above challenges can be a sure differentiator for Banks to improve not only the customer experience but also the Net Customer Life Cycle Value.

Here I have articulated a few suggestions and tips on how a CRM system can help Organizations to improve the client onboarding process effectively.

On lack of customer-centric system…

It is never going to be an easy task to just like that replace your product-centric legacy back-end systems in one go into a customer-centric system. The next viable best alternative available over here is to put an overarching CRM system that wraps your entire product-centric core banking systems and make the CRM as a Centralized front office Application for your Relationship managers, Product Specialists, and other Sales/marketing teams. The key design attributes of this CRM to facilitate On-Boarding should be below.

  • For new customers to be on-boarded, enrich the basic prospect data that you have collected in CRM with rich info that is available by integrating with Trusted Data Service Providers like D&B, Hovers, etc. These systems provide very rich info about your clients like Client Organization Structure, Business diversity, Geographic Diversity, Key Client Contacts & their profiles, financial data, etc. This ensures a lot of info is already built into your system to do your KYC (Know Your Customer) as well as Risk Rating / Assessment in an effective manner by asking for minimal info from your customers.
  • For existing customers, ensure your customer profile details (demographic, relationship, financials, etc.) spread across multiple internal product-centric systems are cleaned and de-duplicated in the new CRM system. This would make it easier to facilitate the onboarding of existing customers to some of your new products & services lot easier eliminating duplicity in asking for info from customers that you already have with you.

On collaboration…

It is a common phenomenon observed in many Banking Organizations that Customer On-Boarding is considered either a complete Back End (risk, legal, finance, etc.) responsibility or, in a few cases, sold Front end responsibility forgetting the underlying need of effective collaboration of front-end and back-end teams to make it easier for the customers.

The CRM one should have all ways and means to make this collaboration between back-end, front-end teams, and customers possible without any compromise on data security.  The collaboration could be facilitated by in-built email management solutions in CRM, a self-service portal that is integrated with CRM where customers can log in and have visibility on their on-boarding process as well as share / submit additional info & documents needed, an internal discussion thread/business social features that can make the interaction between back-end and front-end teams lot seamless and easier, etc. In reality, today, many of these happen in an ad-hoc & in-efficient manual manner making it a time-consuming as well as a frustrating experience for the end customers.

On KPI Measurements…

None of the above systems and processes would work unless people on the ground are mandated to adhere to stringent KPI (Key Performance Indicator)/ SLA (Service Level Agreement). Assuming there is a commitment at the top to make it possible to have them in place, the CRM should provide support to have in place interactive dashboards and reports to report on these KPIs to identify the bottlenecks in the process and streamline it. The reports/metrics can be as simple as one that provides info on onboarding throughput, the performance of adherence to SLAs by various departments managing the onboarding process, overall lead time, aging analysis to identify critical bottlenecks, etc. The KPIs should serve as a key input to your performance management team to see continuous improvement over a period of time.

So in net, going back to my original point, I would like to share that Customer On-Boarding is an important process in establishing a new relationship with your client, and making it effective/efficient with a well-designed CRM system can make a big difference to Banks as well to Customer Experience.

Venkatesan Sundaram
Senior Director, CRMIT

Originally Published on Venky’s Blog

Tags: customer Experience Management, Customer Service Management

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