Onboarding is everything that happens between a client saying “yes” to doing business with you, and their first day of actually doing business with you. The same applies to onboarding an existing client into a new product or service.
Client onboarding usually involves:
Collecting client information
Verifying their identity
Checking financial data about the client or their business
Obtaining consent and approval from all involved parties
This sounds relatively straightforward. But when it involves multiple business units, thousands of paper forms, hundreds of web landing pages, and dozens of legacy systems, it’s a nightmare for your clients, and your bottom line.
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The onboarding process is the first impression you make on a client. First impressions matter. Clients in all industries expect a sign-up process that matches the rest of their lives: fast, digital, and easy. The moment they engage in your paper-based process, your brand impression suffers a loss. Your clients begin to think:
Not only does paper-based onboarding frustrate your customers, it slows down all of your business processes. How will you visualize client data? Aggregate it? Automatically make product recommendations and upsells? Update client information annually for compliance purposes?
Onboarding matters. Let us help you do it better.
Not sure what onboarding is, exactly? Here’s a primer to get you started.
- Basic info like name, DOB, address to more complicated info like TAX identification numbers, SIN numbers, etc.
- Supporting documents like valid ID (driver’s license), tax return information, pay stubs, etc.
- Selection of client options. For example:
- What is your level of risk tolerance of wealth investing?
- What product do you sell in your store? What quantity?
- What is your annual income?
- The business usually validates that the info you provided is true
- The business then performs additional checks to ensure you’re not on any blacklists, performs a credit check, will typically look to see if you’re on known terrorist lists, or if you’re a “Politically Exposed Person” (PEP), and other checks depending on what their risk procedure dictates.
- Not all of these checks are performed in every vertical, but are performed in Payments and some of them are also performed in Wealth Management
- These checks are part of what’s referred to as the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) process
After checks have been completed, and identity is validated, a risk tolerance is set for doing business with that customer. That will determine the kind of “rate” they get with the business for merchant processing (in payments), perhaps a mortgage (in banking), and deductible amount (in insurance).
- The customer or client
- The Sales Agent or Advisor
- The issuing institution/business/firm/etc.
- The back-office team that enters/checks data
- The customer data that institutions collect is not easily re-usable or accessible by the institution itself
- Ensuring applications are fully completed by clients/customers
- The speed at which the customer and salesperson can communicate
- The number of errors in the average customer’s application
- Applications end up moving back and forth inside of an organization
- Onboarding typically does not have a clear paper trail because it’s manual – there is no proof of when an application is received and sent through and sent back. This is problematic for auditing purposes.
- There is no easy way to do repeat business with existing customers because collected data is not easily re-incorporated into applications for new products. Institutions hoard customer data, but have no easy way of re-using it because it’s trapped in paper forms, PDFs, jpegs, or databases that aren’t easily connected to anything of use – CRMs trap data too
- The onboarding process is still largely manual for too many institutions and slows down the rate at which applications are processed
- This in turn slows down the rate at which customers are able to make money/conduct their business with the institution. And thus the institution makes their money slower (or not at all if the customer chooses to take their business elsewhere!)
- They are investing in disparate systems that only marginally improve parts of the problem, but not the problem itself, which is being able to easily collect, view, report on, and collaborate with client data.
- Makes it easy for customers to complete applications – applications are returned faster and with less errors
- Makes it easy for salespeople to issue and sign off on applications – deal velocity increases, more agreements are completed in less time
- Makes it easy and fast for applications to move onto the next phase of approvals/review, with a full “paper” trail of when an application is completed, submitted, approved
- Organizations have full control of the process in which applications travel within their business – one standardized process is followed every time, so it’s easier to track process bottlenecks, frequent errors, and that the process is actually being followed
- Gather all of your data in one place, in one way – data integrity is improved as nothing is forgotten or re-keyed incorrectly (because there is no manual re-keying – data flows freely through the workflow)
- Agreement Express makes it easy for organizations to make changes to their onboarding process – organization is now more agile, able to make improvements without involving IT for weeks or months to make changes. This frees IT up to recognize problems, fix them, iterate within Agreement Express, and do it again and again to keep refining your onboarding process.
- Faster account opening time
- Faster time to revenue
- Drastically decreased administration costs
- Ability to scale your business without doubling employee count
- Improved team efficiency across business units
- Increased data fidelity
- Lowered organizational risk and exposure
- IT time is allocated to more important tasks
Case Studies & Related Content
Mike Gardner, CEO of Agreement Express, helps wealth management firms create a framework for implementing a completely paperless onboarding process.
Improved Time to Revenue by More Than 50% with Agreement Express’ Contract Management Software “Sometimes we think that we have to conform our business to the ‘new way of doing it’ but we lose sight of the fact that it’s the old way that got us there. With Agreement Express we were able to bring…