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WTF is multichannel onboarding?

  • Landing a new customer is just part of the work for financial services.
  • Next, the challenge is to get the customer activated.
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WTF is multichannel onboarding?

Sometimes simple concepts get lost in complicated marketing jargon. That’s exactly what “multichannel onboarding” is: jargon for what is actually a very important part of the customer journey.

So much time and attention is dedicated to user acquisition. But what happens next? What happens after a new financial customer is acquired? That’s where multichannel onboarding comes in.

What is multichannel onboarding?

Multichannel onboarding is the process of getting a new client hooked up, registered, and using the service a financial institution offers.

So, after a customer walks into a bank branch, multichannel onboarding is what happens next. It’s the direct mail a customer receives with her new ATM card with instructions on how to use it. It’s the email confirmation a new client receives after signing up for an online bank account. It’s an SMS alert a prospect receives as part of submitting an application for an SMB loan.

So, is multichannel onboarding just welcome messages?

No, multichannel onboarding is much more than just a fancy welcome package. Sure, multichannel onboarding includes welcome emails and letters that go out to new customers. But there’s really an art and a science to doing this right. Get this right and customers love you. Brazilian challenger bank Nubank literally has hundreds of videos on YouTube that customers recorded “unboxing” their new debit cards. A lot of thought and experimentation went into the package a new Nubank customer receives.

The onboarding has become a delightful experience that customers are recording and sharing.

Are these just automated emails or letters?

Effective onboarding also has to do with timing — like determining how soon after a client signs up for a service does he receive a notification pushing him to complete registration or transferring funds. Done too aggressively and a financial service organization might risk customer defection. If onboarding is done too timidly, an institution may fail to fully engage a new customer and might miss the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.

45 percent of banks report that it takes 2 weeks or more to onboard their customers, with another 44 percent not sure how long it actually takes at their institution.

Is this just direct mail with a fancier name?

Multichannel onboarding doesn’t have to be boring or generic. The point here isn’t just a feedback loop, closing the signup and registration process. Onboarding helps users get up and running as engaged clients. When done well, onboarding should activate users.

For social media platform, Twitter, the firm never really had a problem getting people to sign up for the service. The sign up was easy and smooth.

But Twitter did have a problem getting new users to stick around and use the short messaging platform. After experimentation, the product team found that it could get people engaged and using Twitter if new users were required to “follow” at least 10 profiles. This is effective onboarding — not just getting users signed up and registered but actually up and using the service.

Multichannel onboarding is a big focus for challenger banks like N26, Revolut, and Varo Money. These companies, given their deeper technology and product roots, spend a lot of time removing the friction in the signup and onboarding process. Incumbent banks are getting better at customer experience, too.

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