87% of corporate treasurers have abandoned banking applications due to lengthy onboarding Read here

Webinar recap: Digitizing client outreach and onboarding in institutional banking

By Alex Ford | Thu 20 June, 2024
Digitizing client outreach

This blog summarizes a recent Encompass webinar, and poll results, discussing the challenges and benefits of digitizing client outreach. Panelists included Danielle Fugazy, American Banker; Jo Wiper, Citizens Bank; Reetika Grewal, Wells Fargo; Ken Triemstra, Citi; and Alex Ford from Encompass.

Retail client experience has raised expectations

Retail banks have driven digital transformation over the last few years. There is now a need to apply the same to commercial client experiences, while considering, the wider differences and greater degree of complexity.
To set the scene, the panel considered the evolution of retail banking as a metaphor for how the ‘consumerization of commercial’ can shape customer expectations.

Furthermore, two areas of focus for transformation were highlighted; onboarding and know your customer (KYC) processes.

Client experience as a key driver of change

The goal is to be client-centric and tailor solutions to the specific needs of corporate clients. Additionally, ensuring efficient automation of the activities which are low value-add. However, high-touch, white glove services should be maintained for higher value interactions. The panel agreed that it was not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Optionality was key, alongside opportunities to build confidence and become a trusted advisor.

It was interesting to see customer experience emerging as a major driver behind the adoption of new customer interaction methods. Operational efficiency is always a key factor, but hearing the emphasis on the importance of customer experience as a headline was particularly noteworthy. Alex Ford

Digital tools

The panellists shared independent research and design thinking exercises from their organizations. They emphasized the importance of segmenting the customer base to identify the behaviors and preferences of different customer personas. Subsequently designing customer interactions accordingly.

Digital tools were used to complement, rather than replace, human interaction. Including the deployment of intelligent automation and the digitization of document creation and submission processes.

The panel also noted the increased availability of out-of-the-box technologies. These included data analytics and workflow tools, which banks can now readily utilize. They also acknowledged the challenge of addressing the diverse needs of clients across various industries and segments. Emphasizing that finding optimal interaction models for each user persona is worthwhile.

Webinar poll results: Abandoned banking applications underestimated by industry

When polled during the webinar, approximately 55% of respondents reported that less than 25% of customers abandoned banking applications due to delays during onboarding. A further 36% said they experienced abandonment rates between 25% to 50%. The panellists expressed surprise at these findings in comparison to responses previously obtained from corporate customers.

A recent Encompass poll among corporate treasurers showed abandonment rates over 80% due to onboarding delays. Highlighting ongoing challenges such as repeated information requests. The difference between the banking audience’s perception of the impact, compared to what was reported by corporate customers, suggests the industry may be underestimating the full cost of poor onboarding.

It is evident that these challenges still impact customer revenue and business operations. Especially in an environment where customers often have multiple banking relationships. Streamlining this process is crucial to address fundamental issues like data lineage. Alex Ford

The necessity of digitization

Panellists agreed that implementing digital solutions is no longer optional for banks. Apart from competitive pressures, additional reasons were noted by the panel:

  • • Customer experience and sales enablement
    • Significantly enhanced operational efficiency
    • Improved employee satisfaction with reduction of repetitive tasks across multiple systems
    • Better data utilization for anticipating customer needs
    • Improved quality, accuracy, and standardization to enable scale and growth

However, the panel agreed that digitization is not solely about pushing customers towards “self-service” digital channels. Aligning tools with client pain points also ensures effective support and business operation optimization to maintain strong relationships throughout the entire lifecycle.

One of the panellists shared an experience from within their bank. Highlighting that when corporate clients were provided a dedicated banking contact, call volumes – which had previously been a high load for the bank to manage, dropped as clients preferred to email once they knew there was an accountable recipient .Additionally, it was observed that digitization now offers opportunities for the bank to ‘self-source’ information about clients to help minimize unnecessary client contact and outreach.

How does your bank execute client outreach today?

The second audience poll identified the different ‘outreach methods’ being utilized, as shown below: –

  • 46% gather information directly from customers via frontline relationship managers
  • 18% have the second-line team responsible for information gathering
  • The remainder utilize other methods, including interactive client portals and directing clients to secure file shares

The discussion prompted reflections on the diversity of methods currently employed. Furthermore, the multimodal nature of client interactions across different experiences. In conclusion there is a clear opportunity for greater digitization, including integrating digital tools into workflows to provide process and data transparency.

Challenges in implementing digitization in the corporate setting

Panellists agreed that implementing digitization in institutional banking is far more challenging than the retail setting, but still necessary. Understanding the complexity of corporate clients’ structures and relationships was a major requirement for any solutions to achieve longer term benefits. In many cases simply identifying the correct entities, owners and controllers and ensure accurate data is set up in the first place, remains a challenge, and yet essential for enabling downstream digital operating models. The importance of basic data governance was emphasized and noted as a key area for digitization through automation and APIs.

A further area of difficulty is managing the duplication of documents. This is often the result of multiple copies being saved across different processes and business lines at various points in time. Digitally, the goal would be to collect documents once and use them efficiently. The integration of digital workflows involving the centralizing of document management could ensure documents are collected once, tagged consistently, and made accessible to relevant teams across the bank such as KYC and tax, while maintaining good data governance.

Automating outreach with digitization

With 93% of attendees sharing that they are either planning or are in the initial stages of automation, the digitization of client outreach is progressing. Success revolves around anticipating and meeting client needs through advanced data utilization to plan and design the outreach experience effectively. As well as implementing the correct client interface and integration strategies to ensure data and documents are effectively shared between the right systems in the. Client outcome metrics, such as onboarding speed, satisfaction scores, and response rates can all serve as benchmarks for success.

The discussion emphasizes the importance of rapidly digitizing corporate identities to enable operational efficiencies. By empowering clients to control access and information sharing, institutions can streamline processes, ensuring greater immediacy, control, and automation. Critical to this advancement is establishing robust data governance and lineage frameworks by bringing together both public and private data. Alex Ford

Overall, the session underscored the necessity for commercial, corporate, and institutional banks to carefully consider the client experience considering the rising expectations held by customers. Most firms are already underway with transformation, having identified opportunities to digitize, while navigating regulatory landscapes, leveraging technology to meet client demands efficiently and securely.

To learn more about digital identities and the digitization of client outreach read our whitepaper.

You can also watch the webinar here.

Author: Alex Ford

Alex drives business growth in North America, working with customers, partners and the Encompass team to transform KYC with automation in financial institutions and other regulated entities. Joining in 2012, Alex has held Executive responsibility for business functions including Customer Success, Operations, Marketing, Product and Delivery. From 2015 to 2020 Alex was based in Glasgow with the launch and expansion of the UK operation, before taking up leadership of the North America business.

LinkedIn Profile | Alex Ford

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