If you’ve ever applied for a mortgage, credit card or even a new savings account, you know how paper-intensive the process can be. And how long it can take. Photo ID, tax returns, insurance forms and statements take a long time to compile and an even longer time to be processed by the financial institution. These initial and information-intensive interactions are vital early experiences that set the tone for what should be a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between the customer and the financial institution.
Onboarding is a particularly key early engagement for customers. It can include crucial, make-or-break moments for companies - if they don’t meet customers’ needs, they could lose the business forever. A clunky onboarding process is not only inconvenient for customers; it destroys trust in the institution. “If their account opening process is this backward,” the customer thinks, “How good is their security? How adept are they at managing my money? What other headaches will I have to deal with in the future?”
For instance, when Brazilian financial services provider Caruana Financeira was planning the launch of their new credit card, the team knew the onboarding process needed to be simple and fast. Customers should be able to use their mobile devices to apply and upload required documents. The turnaround time for approval had to be fast and customers had to have confidence that important information and documents were being handled securely.
Daniel Médici Lourenson at Caruana Financeira explains what their previous credit card application was like. “From start to finish, the entire process took an average of three weeks, incurring considerable cost and effort,” he says, noting that with manual data entry the risk of information being entered incorrectly could cause a customer’s application to be delayed or even denied. “What’s more, as we sent cards to customers by mail, there was a chance that someone could intercept the card and PIN details and use the card fraudulently.”
Businesses today know that customers want convenience and speed. They want multi-channel accessibility, that is, being able to switch from mobile to desktop seamlessly. They also want their data to be secure and accurate. Asking a potential customer to go back and submit documents a second time is a sure way to lose them. Asking them to wait three weeks for the decision is probably a deal breaker.
Fast, accurate and secure document processing
What’s getting in the way of a smoother onboarding experience? One major obstacle to problem-free onboarding is unstructured data, such as emails, photos, word processing documents, faxes, PDFs and other file formats. Or more precisely, the problem is that organizations simply don’t have the ability to efficiently and quickly understand what that unstructured information is telling them. Too often, these sensitive documents and the information they contain are exposed in an onboarding process without adequate provision for security and privacy.
And this is a big issue. In the 2019 Emerging Technologies Market Report by AIIM, almost 50 percent of respondents said that 70 percent of their organization’s data is unstructured. In most cases a human has to read documents and enter data into the business’s systems. Not only does this slow down the process, but it also greatly increases the potential for errors and data leakage.
Consider a different scenario. The customer takes a photo of the required documents, for example, a driver’s license. Then, using advanced cognitive capture and natural language processing to read, understand and extract the information, the data is fed into the company’s business processes automatically and securely. In this way, documents are automatically received, understood and processed quickly while risk of error and data leakage is reduced. If a problem arises, for example due to special circumstances of an individual customer, an authorized human intervention can resolve issues.
Intelligent automation creates value
In today’s competitive and fast-moving marketplace, organizations have but a few moments to create value and build trust with the customer. Any blip in the process erodes the customer’s confidence. Using intelligent automation makes the difference, by using artificial intelligence to recognize documents by type and then read, understand, extract and process the information those unstructured documents contain. The outcome? A boost for any organization that needs to streamline onboarding, gain new customers and provide early customer experiences that engender long-term trust and positive relationships.
Caruana Financeira has changed their credit card application process with dramatic results. Customers fill out a simple form and provide some documents, explains Lourenson. “Behind the scenes, we have a host of document capture, data extraction, classification and case management processes, plus integration with a number of third-party systems.” The result? They have cut the time taken to issue payment cards from three weeks to under 15 minutes and at an estimated 80 percent lower cost than a traditional, manual approach. And they have increased customer confidence that sensitive and private information is being handled securely.
Customer engagement builds trust
Successful onboarding is not just about capturing and processing data. A highly automated and secure process also increases customer engagement and, ultimately, loyalty. Ask the customer to verify and check the accuracy of the data. Reassure them that your security methods prevent fraud, for instance by using facial recognition and signature validation. Send a strong message that security is important to your company. View your onboarding process not only through the customer lens of efficiency and speed, but view it also as a set of distinctive customer moments that build trust and lasting relationship.
Companies that work like tomorrow – today – are using intelligent automation tools to improve and accelerate the onboarding process, while also ensuring accuracy, providing convenience and building customer trust and loyalty.