Generate word of mouth marketing with customer-centric onboarding

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May 16, 2013

Customers of today are empowered by choices and information. If you are a marketing executive at a financial institution, how do you persuade customers to use your service? Now more than ever, financial service institutions need to refine their business processes to be more customer-centric. Social media has brought word-of-mouth marketing to the forefront. To fully tap into the power of customer-driven influence, you need to not only get people talking about your service, but also make the customer onboarding process so good that new customers are motivated to share their positive experience.

Your customer onboarding process can be the difference between a somewhat-satisfied customer and a vocal advocate for your service. Satisfying a customer’s initial expectation creates a good first impression, but exceeding a customer’s expectation can compel him to tell his friends. Disruptors such as PayPal and Square have shown that with a customer-centric onboarding process, services can sell themselves. In Square’s case, the company managed to acquire over one million registered users in less than three years without a traditional sales force or a business development unit.

Getting people excited enough to tell their friends and family is important, but converting those recommendations into customers is equally important. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, many customers will abandon an application at the first sign of difficulties. From the data they collected from over 5000 consumers, only 53% were able to successfully open and fund an account online. Ensuring customers can easily sign up is a key part of Square’s customer acquisition strategy. Customer onboarding with Square takes just 15 minutes and can be done on most mobile devices.

What does it mean to redesign the customer onboarding process to be more customer-centric? It means instant gratification and zero hassle, reducing the friction and difficulty a customer may experience applying for an account. It requires smart business processes to speed up the application and approval processes. It results in a convenient application form with minimum fields and mobile accessibility.

A customer-centric onboarding process is an effective marketing tool for today’s customers. Executed correctly, it can generate word of mouth demand, and at the same time help fulfill those demands. Learn from the success of PayPal and Square, and redesign your customer onboarding to be more customer-centric today.