Jennifer Kern shares the essentials behind having a successful and customer-centered onboarding strategy with Terafina.

As an onboarding strategy product manager at UMB Bank, I always look for structure, innovation, and ways to improve the onboarding process for our customers. I recently sat down with Terafina in their Trailblazer’s series to discuss digital innovation drivers, aspects to a successful onboarding strategy and how to find the best partner for you. Terafina is a digital banking platform, providing next -generation, cloud-based sales solutions for financial institutions. Below is a closer look at some of my key takeaways and how these are implemented for our UMB customers.

Get to know current digital innovation drivers

While there are various aspects driving digital innovation, I find the five most prominent drivers to be:

  • Financial technology (FinTech) providers. FinTech providers have changed the landscape of digital innovation for everyone. In order to keep up, we must deliver first-class account opening experiences in the user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and the back-end services each one of these connects to.
  • Evolving consumer expectations. At the core, consumers expect a simplified and intuitive account opening experience with real-time decision making and this expectation only grows more complex when you factor in generational differences. Each generation (ex. Boomer, Gen X, Millennials, etc.) wants to be met with a personalized experience that aligns with their specific preferences to the delivery of solutions.
  • Continued evolution of technology systems. With technology constantly advancing, it is more important than ever that financial institutions add to, update or replace legacy systems to better reflect consumer needs and keep up with competitors.
  • Continued focus on security and fraud mitigation. Every day fraudsters are creating new scams, so we must keep a pulse on these daily attacks to ensure we can quickly and effectively mitigate them.
  • Utilization of data analysis for decision making. It is now essential to allow data to inform our decision making to increase customer engagement and retention.

Discover ways to identify key onboarding priorities

When it comes to onboarding initiatives, I like to use a strategic approach coupled with an evaluation of feature functionality through the lens of a customer and fraudster, as well as a look at analysis opportunities. To begin my strategic approach, I first look at the full customer journey from digital account opening to onboarding a new customer to servicing them and then ask myself:

  • “Do we make it easy to move over an entire banking relationship?”
  • “Is this the first impression of the bank we’re looking to make?”
  • “Do we make it easy to provide a new customer with access to their funds or credit line and manage their account?”
  • “What changes are needed to digital account opening and onboarding to grow our customer relationships?
  • “How are we going to maintain the application/platform and keep functionality on par?”

Next, I will begin a feature functionality evaluation through the customer and fraudster lens by completing the below.

From the lens of a customer, I ask myself:

  • Do we make it easy for the customer to apply?
  • Are there opportunities to eliminate operational or customer experience pain points?
  • Are we meeting the applicant/customer where they want to be met?

From the lens of a fraudster, I review application data with enterprise fraud partners to determine:

  • If there are changes or adjustments that should be made to the application experience or layered fraud defense strategy to mitigate risk.
  • If we need to add or adjust business services to prevent future fraud instances.

Finally, I conduct various analyses to ensure the best onboarding experience for customers, such as a:

  • Competitor analysis: Are there functionality gaps?
  • Customer analysis: How have our customers’ needs changed?
  • Trends analysis: Are there new features or funding options that should be taken into consideration?
  • Data analysis: Are there needs (ex. promotions, fraud losses, application abandonment, etc…) that call for an update of the application experience?

Form a successful partnership

Partnership is crucial when it comes to having an effective onboarding process and collaborating with any FinTech provider. The key to success is to find a partner who:

  • Is already providing an out-of-the-box experience, so that you can get to the desired digital experience (for customers and internal associates) right off the bat and have more time to focus on the needs of your customers.
  • Is flexible and understands the breadth of your customer base.
  • Is willing to work as one team and continuously find opportunities on how to work better together.

Provide customers with thoughtful initiatives

At UMB, our ultimate goal when it comes to onboarding is to create an experience where customers are able to bring their full relationship to the bank in the same application. We have been able to accomplish this goal by partnering with Terafina, which has allowed us to provide superior user experience, functionality, and customization for each customer. In the near future, we will be introducing an auto enrollment into online banking which allows customers to have a seamless onboarding process.

Keep these essentials in mind when you approach your onboarding process strategy and never forget to meet your customers where they are at and work to improve their experience every step of the way.

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