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Visa Consulting and Analytics

August 2021

 

2 - 3 Minutes

Five questions to help turbocharge your digital acquisitions and onboarding

Attracting, acquiring and onboarding new customers via digital channels is a crucially important phase of the customer journey, one which sets the tone for everything that follows with your customer engagement.

Digital customer acquisition done right has the potential to increase efficiencies while also enabling a positive user experience from the start. While it may seem obvious to embrace a smooth customer onboarding process, it is easier said than done:

  • Competition in digital marketing is rising at a rapid pace, and costs can quickly escalate, especially in search marketing, but also in social media marketing.
  • Fintechs and technology companies, such as Google and Apple, are setting a high bar on the quality of the user experience, resulting in incredibly high customer expectations.
  • Some traditional banks are burdened by legacy technologies and siloed working practices, making agility and integration an issue.
  • Many traditional methods, such as filling an application online but having to go in-branch for a signature, no longer meet new customer behaviors so the need to pivot may have become acute.

Against this background, Visa Consulting & Analytics has identified five key questions that any bank should ask itself as it embraces the opportunity of digital acquisitions and onboarding.

Question #1
Where in the digital journey should you start?

In our experience, digitalization needs to extend seamlessly from acquisitions right through to the onboarding journey and beyond. Banks should focus both on the initial stages of digital acquisitions, through awareness building or lead generation to persuade the customer to click the ‘apply now’ button, as well as focus on the value that can be created further down the funnel by providing the customer with an easy onboarding journey. This includes incorporating techniques like instant decisioning on credit approvals and instant provisioning of digital credentials to allow for a better customer experience.

By adopting a more holistic view of incorporating acquisitions and onboarding seamlessly, a bank can maximize the potential for an interested prospect to become a customer and maximize the potential for that prospect to become an active and engaged customer.

There is also an opportunity for banks to partner with key online merchants who are likely to have a deep understanding of digital, insights into the needs and circumstances of their existing customers, and a desire to work with a financial services and payments partner.

Question #2
How disconnected is the existing process?

For most banks, digitalization offers the opportunity to rethink and reinvent the entire acquisition and onboarding process and, ideally, to transform it to a seamless customer experience.

Below are several questions to consider in the digitalization process:

  • Have you embraced mobile first and implemented crisper, shorter screen layouts on the app?
  • Can the broader application process be more automated?
  • Can instant decisioning be enabled?
  • Can biometrics help with authentication?
  • Are you making full use of digital Know your Customer (KYC)?
  • Can onboarding be integrated into your mobile app?
  • Can the card activation process be digitalized?

In addition, early digitalization can help you drive ongoing customer activation and engagement. With instant provisioning of credentials and by instantly placing the new card into mobile wallets, a more powerful forward momentum can be generated right from the start.

Question #3
How do you define your dream customer?

In digital acquisition, the more specific you can be about who you are targeting and what you are offering them, the more successful and effective you can become.

A useful technique is to first understand your very best existing customers, their defining characteristics and get information on why they use your products and what they like about your brand. These insights can then inform your entire digitalization approach. Armed with this degree of insight, you can:

  • Use look-a-like audiences to target new customers through social media marketing with more precision
  • Frame your search engine optimization and social media optimization activity with very specific search terms
  • Narrow your word-of-mouth campaigns to the most trusted micro-influencers, or even nano-influencers
  • Make your referral programs more effective by ensuring your website messaging is relevant to the type of people you most want as customers

In addition, this level of specificity and customer centricity allows you to better pinpoint the hidden wealth within your business. This is an opportunity to emphasize exactly what it is that makes you different.

You can also concentrate on new to banking customers and use digitalization to target them with custom-made offers. This includes opportunities to use non-traditional data sources, such as social media, to mine digital metrics. Or you can partner with an organization that has an existing base of customers who actively use a mobile app. By targeting types of customers, you can also bring more strength to your products, your value propositions, and your customer lifecycle programs.

Question #4
How close can you get to a digital only customer experience?

By taking a digital-first approach, banks can often eliminate the need for any face-to-face or in-branch contact, while at the same time removing much of the traditional pain points. Some recommendations for banks to consider:

  • In geographies where they are available, digital KYC checks can be particularly beneficial and transformative.
  • Integrating digital credential provisioning (card number, expiration date, and CVV2) as part of the onboarding process.
  • Enabling customers to add the card to their digital wallet the moment it is approved, so they can begin spending right away and populate card-on-file credentials.

Even if your customer still chooses to wait for the physical card to arrive, a seamless digital experience will enhance the onboarding experience, while the related functionality (like messaging, video content and emails) will help with initial activation and ongoing engagement.

It is also important to consider the future trajectory of the market and the power of its ecosystems. Mobile may be the current focus, but there are likely upcoming digital channels to factor in, such as a smartwatch payment, voice payment, pay-by-text, social platforms, and others.

In addition, the more digitalized the process becomes, the better analytics you will get. This is essential to understand the effectiveness of the customer journey. With the tools and capabilities to capture customer data points in real time, you can tweak your user experience and payment journeys accordingly.

Question #5
Who will you choose as your digital benchmarks?

When plotting out your digitalization journey, it is valuable to conduct some comparative analysis and see how other organizations approach acquisition and onboarding.

With the shift to digital, your customers’ expectations have been set by the world’s most capable digital businesses. As a result, your benchmarks should include the new nano- or digital-only banks that have designed the digital onboarding process from the ground up.

For example, in the case of mobile apps, most consumers say that they expect an onboarding process of less than a minute. Similarly, as part of an onboarding process, many customers say they expect to receive one or more emails telling them more about the product/service and how to get the best of it. They also expect quick and easy access to how-to videos and animations that guide them through key features and benefits.

You should also go further and look at products/services from different sectors, such as a music streaming service or an ecommerce app that are also known for strong digital onboarding experiences.

For a while, there has been a strong rationale for banks operating everywhere to digitalize their operations, including acquisitions and onboarding. Now, with customer expectations set at such a high bar, there is a compelling reason to digitalize to meet new customer behaviors.

Banks looking to advance their digital journey should review these five questions in greater detail and prioritize digital acquisitions and onboarding as a crucial step in the customer experience.

 
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All brand names, logos and/or trademarks are the property of their respective owners, are used for identification purposes only, and do not necessarily imply product endorsement or affiliation with Visa.

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