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It’s 2018: Does Your Customer Onboarding Process Really Need to Take That Long?

Posted by 5th Method on 8/1/18 8:15 AM

Is your company delivering the streamlined, efficient onboarding experience your customers now expect?

If it’s like most businesses, probably not. Despite your team’s best intentions, out-of-date technology, uncoordinated processes, and the baffling blend of missing, incorrect or lost information, is likely making your customer onboarding process longer, more complicated and more frustrating than it needs to be. As a result, this scenario can frustrate your customers and delay your company’s date of payment.

If you are starting to evaluate options for a more efficient customer onboarding process, you’re not alone. According to Gartner’s 2018 CEO Survey, 23% of CEOs rank being more customer-centric as a top priority for 2018. And it makes sense – most studies show a positive relationship between customer experience and repeat business, as well as other positive outcomes like increased customer satisfaction, deeper customer insights and lower churn.

If your customer onboarding process still greets new customers with stacks of paperwork and a seemingly endless exchange of emails, keep reading. This look at how 5th Method's Velocity Forms transformed the customer onboarding process of a Fortune 500 financial company will help you see how automated forms could help you serve your customers better.

The Cost of a Long Customer Onboarding Process

A lengthy, manual customer onboarding process has a number of negative outcomes for your business, but the most critical consequences are three-fold:

  1. A poor initial customer impression and customer experience
  2. A higher opportunity cost as you spend more time than necessary instructing clients in the onboarding process
  3. A longer delay to getting your company paid

The above examples are exactly what a Florida-based Fortune 500 company specializing in retail finances was experiencing when they decided to work with Velocity Forms to improve their customer onboarding process.

Despite the existence of technology that could streamline and automate each step, the company relied on an antiquated process of emails and PDF forms to communicate with and collect data from new clients. As a result, it was taking the company over a month after each financial advisor signed a new client to onboard the customer, and begin actively managing and investing the client’s portfolio. Up to 40% of advisors’ and in-house processors’ time was spent on manual tracking and manual follow-up, and, even then, documents were often returned to the client for missing information or lost altogether.

Streamlining the Customer Onboarding Process With Automated Forms

Traditional, error-prone technologies like snail mail, email and PDF forms require employees to spend wasteful time tracking down information. Automated forms, on the other hand, capture and centralize information in a web-based workflow and automatically flag missing or incorrect information for rework. This creates a highly customizable customer onboarding process that allows both employees and customers to see what step in the process they’re on, what work is left to be completed and by who, and what happens next – regardless of their organization skills or technical ability.

For the company in our example, the results were immediate. The web-based, workflow-enabled forms eliminated the need for back and forth emails with document attachments, allowing customers to work through the onboarding processes at any time they chose – the forms were ‘always on’ and available via the web. Employees gained a holistic view of where clients were in the process (instead of simply waiting for all the necessary forms and documents to come back via email and postal mail), saving approximately 90 minutes per day of processing paperwork. This method allowed each branch to redirect 2,800 full-time equivalent (FTE) and report a 25% gain in productivity.

The benefits of this kind of time and productivity savings vary by industry, but this particular firm was able redirect time to recruiting high net-worth brokers and troubleshooting the smaller, nagging problems that never made it to the top of the priority list for customer service. They were also able to calculate an astonishing estimated aggregate five-year ROI of $70,708,523.

How Could Automated Forms Improve Your Customer Onboarding Process?

The benefits we’ve outlined in this post aren’t limited to any industry or any customer size. We’ve used Velocity Forms for K2 to digitize, automate and scale customer onboarding processes quickly and without code. Contact us today to find out how we can help your organization.