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Best Practices for Onboarding

 

All Aboard for Onboarding!

The first months are the most important.

By Bill Hasapidis, Director of Data Analytics

From a strategic perspective, the initial 3 to 6-month period following the acquisition of a new member may be the single most important phase of the entire member journey in terms of opportunity for deeper engagement, establishing the foundation for a positive, long-lasting relationship. Yet, according to The Financial Brand’s Digital Banking Report, a shocking 45% of banks and credit unions don't have a formal onboarding program in place. The cost to implement a structured onboarding program that will increase the likelihood of member retention is far less than the cost to acquire a new member to replace one that leaves, estimated at an average of $141 for a marketing agency.

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There’s no arguing that social networking is becoming more ingrained into our culture every day. No matter where you turn, it seems that every website contains the ubiquitous Facebook logo imploring us to ‘like’ them. This urge is only natural – deep down everyone wants to be more connected, or at least liked.

It’s no different with your financial institution. You work hard to develop creative marketing campaigns that attract new members, but once you’ve landed the member, the real work begins. You need to gain the trust, loyalty and yes, engagement of that member within the early stages of the relationship, in order to lay the groundwork for a long-term successful relationship. Early missteps can quickly change how your member perceives you and increase your risk of being eclipsed by the better service they find in a different company.

The use of onboarding strategies by financial institutions has grown significantly over the past several years. There is a strong correlation between maintaining regular contact with a member early on in a relationship and generating greater loyalty, additional cross-sales and higher relationship profitability. Due to an apparent lack of confidence in the promise of effective member retention, though, Digital Banking Report is seeing “an increased focus on new member acquisition and a surprising drop in the emphasis on cross-selling and retention.” Onboarding strategies can be consumer nest eggs if companies choose not to shy away from the challenge.

Maintaining regular contact should be the top priority to successfully land and retain clientele. Reach out to members that have recently opened a new account with offers for other products and services they may be interested in. Leverage your data warehouse to analyze the services they are using, along with transaction data, to better understand their behavior. Consumers today know the worth of their data, so tailor your onboarding process with this in mind. Utilize behavioral and demographic “triggers” to create a personalized experience and suggest solutions tailored specifically for their unique needs. They came to you for a reason and it is much easier and more cost-effective to deepen your relationship early on than to wait until you have to win them over from a competitive offer.