Monday, June 21, 2010

Ten Steps to Onboarding Success

Later today, I am presenting at the Oregon Bankers Association 105th Anniversary Convention at Sunriver Resort on the topic, Stemming Attrition and Building Relationships Through Effective Onboarding.

In addition to sharing recent statistics from J.D. Power and Associates around the positive impact of increased attention early in a new relationship and the positive impact of using multiple communication channels from case studies across the banking industry, I will be sharing the ten key steps to onboarding success that I have seen over the past five years.

These ten steps are:
  1. Acquire the right customers: The most important component of a successful onboarding program is to acquire customers that have a greater liklihood of future value based on modeling and geographic targeting.
  2. Communicate early and often: The sooner you can build dialogue with the customer and the more often you can connect in the first 90 days, the more successful you will be in retaining and building relationships.
  3. Integrate across multiple channels: Reaching out to the new customer using phone, direct mail, email and personal 1:1 communication will greatly improve the success of an onboarding program. We have seen lifts of 25-50% when multiple channels are used.
  4. Build in learning from day one: An onboarding program should not run on auto pilot. The competitive environment, customer behaviors and transaction trends change all the time. Your onboarding program also needs to adjust on a dynamic basis.
  5. Engagement is key: Cross-selling the new customer should not begin until after you encourage engagement with the new account. This can include direct deposit, online banking and bill payment, autosave, credit utilization, debit/credit card utilization, etc.
  6. Build a cadence of communication: A successful onboarding program uses a sequence of communication to improve the customer experience by helping the customer understand their new account, get to know the bank brand and eventually build trust and a stronger relationship.
  7. Develop personalized offers: Once the customer has demonstrated a satisfactory level of engagement with their new account, offers targeted to the specific needs of the customer should be communicated.
  8. Use a test and learn mentality: Testing should always be done with an onboarding program to determine the right offers, timing, channels and cadence for each customer segment.
  9. Measure results: Results should be measured consistently against a control group. Common metrics include changes in attrition, engagement, cross-selling, balances and satisfaction on both a customer and household basis.
  10. Provide a single point of responsibility: Since most banks do not have Directors of Cross-Selling or VP of Retention, it is important to assign the onboarding process to a single person who will 'own' the development and impact of the onboarding process. This person will work with segments, product managers and marketing teams to ensure the success of your program.
There has never been a more important time to develop a successful onboarding program. With fee income being attacked by Reg E and net interest margins at historical low levels, it is imperative that financial organizations attract and keep customers with the highest potential lifetime value.

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