Client On-boarding – Less is More!

client on-boardingThe customer on-boarding experience with a financial institution, is very often, akin to the frequent flyer passenger experience when arriving at an airport. Without ‘special’ treatment, typically the entire experience is frustrating, intrusive and time consuming. Every traveller will relate to the difficulties with airport parking, long check-in queues, rigorous security screening, and even the hassle of boarding the actual aircraft. The more time a passenger spends in the airport on-boarding system, the higher the dissatisfaction. Consequently, customer loyalty levels plummet. Conversely, the less time they spend, the higher the satisfaction, and the likelihood of them using the service again increases dramatically.

The harsh reality is, as with all financial institutions, the airline companies are obliged to ensure that all passengers fulfil a number of repeated identification and security checks. Despite most people appreciating that these procedures are essential to ensure their safe travel, the overall experience has been seriously damaging the airline business and driving passengers, where they could, to seek alternative methods of transportation. This almost universal customer dissatisfaction led the airline industry to investigate other ways of streamlining and accelerating the entire on-boarding process, whilst still maintaining, or even increasing levels of security and assurance. Today, the success of the speedy and priority boarding policies is perceived to be a great achievement, and is delivering a positive customer experience which has helped to stem the tide of rising customer attrition.

In terms of the customer on-boarding procedures within financial institutions; a recent industry survey shows that the time to on-board new customers has increased significantly over the past few years, and is still on the rise. This is a very unhappy situation, given the scale of global regulatory and economic challenges, and the negative impact this continues to have on most financial firms’ profitability. Despite significant operational cost cutting and business restructuring, post the financial crisis, many banks are still struggling with customer attraction and retention programmes and an ever increasing pressure on balance sheets and profit margins. These challenges will continue to be a problem as new regulations and market structure changes; making doing business with new clients, let alone the existing ones, even more complicated and costly. Mitigating this situation requires focus on the middle and back offices, where high-cost tactical responses to ongoing regulation are still being be overlaid on outdated technology and sub-optimal manual processes.

As with the flight on-boarding process, these pressures have created the impetus for financial services firms to implement Customer On-boarding and Lifecycle Management platforms (CLM). Integral within the iMeta solution is an advanced workflow and a rules engine; which by automating lower value-add compliance processes, will significantly reduce operational costs, improve productivity and increase customer satisfaction, whilst at the same time guaranteeing stronger regulatory compliance and risk management.

Technological capability in the areas of workflow, data quality management and rules engines, has already transformed many aspects of financial services. It is already widely used to engage with retail customers and to manage data in a cost-effective and targeted manner. With iMeta’s CLM platform, the opportunity exists to utilise a unique combination of innovation; to streamline and optimise customer on-boarding, and client due diligence, while also effectively managing both regulatory and operational risk. Through the utilities and data vendors, enormous amounts of data, documents and regulatory information is readily available. Given that relevant data and information is widely accessible and is an effective asset, it is critical that it is managed in a way that will differentiate a firm from its competitors.

This applies both in the eyes of valuable, existing customers, as well as to the unrelenting regulators and will send a compelling message to new firms who are considering becoming clients. With the use of a comprehensive CLM platform, it could be that the financial services industry may yet give the airline companies a run for their money in terms of providing great customer service! As new competitors enter the market, intent on grabbing market share, now is the time for banks and financial services institutions to invest in a best-in-class solution which enables them to very quickly streamline the entire on-boarding process in the most optimal and client friendly way.

Time is money, and today’s new world customer is no longer the doggedly loyal and passive entity it once was. And as recent evidence shows they very quickly vote with their feet, if service levels don’t match the promise of ‘great customer engagement’.