Why Customer Onboarding is Critical to FI Success 


  • Brayden Lucchetta
  • Published: 25 March 2021

As the threat of disruptive financial institutions continue to rise, large market incumbents that rely on traditional processes to onboard new clients are in danger of becoming obsolete. In present day, the most successful products offer incredibly simple and effective onboarding experiences that consumers have come to expect in every facet of their lives. As more digital-first challenger institutions enter the playing field customers will have the ability to sign up to a new service within minutes. Business and commercial customers will continue gravitating to financial institutions that provide the same low-touch experience as the consumer digital services they are familiar with. 

Onboarding the client is the big event - you have earned their trust through cultivating relationships and prioritizing the goals of the client. A seamless customer experience requires flawless execution from the first touchpoint through the post-purchase. Firms who care about clients and partners are willing to invest in enhancing these experiences, as onboarding will augment strategically expanding share of wallet with other product suites.

The Challenges Facing Financial Institutions

The impact of the rapidly evolving digital landscape has been seen in every aspect of our lives. However, financial Institutions are ripe for disruption as they have historically lagged in the adoption of new technology as an essential part of their business. The following two technological developments are poised to shape the financial institution industry:

Fintech - The largest technological impact on the banking industry is the ability of fintechs to focus on state-of-the-art technology that create new business segments with higher returns, while traditional banks still offer less profitable services. Fintech has changed the way consumers access their finances and poses a threat to traditional brick-and-mortar banks. 

AI and Machine Learning - The exponential growth of data, machine learning, and cloud computing offer an enhanced customer experience. New technology driven firms offer fast product delivery, data driven risk modelling, and personalized products that older financial institutions are unable to compete with. As AI and machine learning continue to improve, financial transactions and investment decisions will be less risky for new disruptive companies to benefit from.

How FIs Can Learn from Other Industries

What constitutes an excellent onboarding experience is dependent on what need the product is fulfilling, which is why customer onboarding (just like the product itself) should be developed with a user-centric approach. Financial institutions must turn to other markets leading the way with onboarding success and extract best practices into their own organization. Some examples of leaders in customer onboarding include:

  • Netflix - For many financial institutions, the biggest challenge is to get customers to sign up and start paying. Netflix uses a one-month free trial strategy to access the product immediately in order to attract users. Users begin enjoying the service within a few minutes and this leads to retaining them as paying customers. Netflix requires an email, password, and payment, but keeps the rest of the onboarding process as simple as possible. 
  • Slack – Financial institutions have been challenged in educating clients on how to make the most use out of available services. Slack addresses this issue by using a chatbot called Slackbot - the bot provides the user with information on how to use the platform and informs the user of the platform’s various capabilities. Slackbots can perform a range of activities while saving you time and money on resources. 
  • Canva – Various financial institutions struggle with trying to accommodate both experienced and unexperienced users of their platforms. Canva addresses this challenge by asking the user what they plan to use the platform for, and then takes them to a tutorial focused on what they plan to do. When users believe their onboarding experience is tailored to their needs, they are more likely to be open and receptive to the experience.
  • Spotify – Although the platform is only primarily used to stream music, Spotify has made their entire end-to-end onboarding process a seamless experience. Users can quickly select genres and artists they’re interested in, with curated playlists made based on the selected options. They are then able to easily connect and listen on other home devices, making the whole experience simple and incredibly easy to integrate into your everyday lives. 

Best Practices for Delivering an Exceptional Customer Onboarding Experience 

1. Minimize unnecessary information gathering 

Overwhelming customers with unnecessary requirements leads to an unpleasant experience that customers will be adverse too. 

2. Give customers clarity on why you are asking for specific data

Do not overcomplicate the process. Compliance is incredibly challenging in the world of financial institutions and easing that process is beneficial to the client and the provider.                                 

3. Provide seamless integration across touchpoints

Clients need to feel they are having a seamless integration experience whether they are sitting face-to-face or over a digital platform. The experience should be cohesive no matter the medium – they should complement each other.

In today’s increasingly competitive market, financial institutions that fail to improve their onboarding process will risk losing the customers they have worked so hard to gain. Every customer is now looking for new ways to interact with their service providers and expect a seamless and efficient onboarding experience. In order to achieve a significant competitive edge, organizations must realize that onboarding is not a one-time exercise; it is a continuous process that must be actively managed throughout the entire customer relationship. 

To learn how PlatformZeroSM can help your organization address customer onboarding challenges and provide an exceptional onboarding experience, contact us at solutions@capco.com