Use This Tested Process To Create Value In the Customer Experience

Customer Onboarding

As you look for ways to increase your brand without driving up your cost and you are building a business model around service, having a formal process around onboarding your customer is one of the best things you can do to start a culture of service. When a new client leaves your office or completes an online transaction for the first time, the honeymoon period begins. Our research shows that the best time to cross-sell a customer is within the first 60 days and within the first 120 days. After that, the probability of a cross-sell and a customer’s satisfaction with the bank drop quickly. This is why smart banks design a system around onboarding that ensures consistency, follow up and value.


Luckily, we have studied the onboarding process at over 25 banks and can tell you without a doubt that is system will increase both cross-sell and satisfaction. A customer places his or her trust in you and how you preform can bond or dissipate that trust. After each transaction, banks have a seminal moment where they can either meet, or better yet, exceed expectations. Here is a way to prove that your bank is more than transactional and cement the fact that your customer made the right decision on their trust.


Today, we focus on the business customer and present a system that forces accountability on the relationship officer to meet a minimum standard to optimize both timing and the number of touches to place your bank in a position to garner the highest satisfaction and the highest probability of cross-sell. Here is how the system should roll out:


Opening Transaction (T) + 3 days: After a deposit account opening, a loan closing or any new product, the relationship manager at the bank calls to thank the decision maker of the business responsible for the transaction for the trust they placed in the bank and to follow up to see if there is anything else that is needed at this time. The decision maker is asked if the account opening/loan closing process met with their satisfaction and if there is anything that could have been done better. All suggestions are recorded and then followed up on.


T + 45 days: Another call is made to client to see: a) if the first statement/payment advice was correct; and, b) if there is anyone else they should add to the account. Each business account should have three contacts if possible. This call is to double check if the three are correct and see if there is anyone else that should be added to the account. In 20% of the cases, either personnel has changed or business roles have changed so that another person should be added. If nothing else, this is an attempt by the bank to further deepen the relationship and gain another “touch point” at the business. If applicable, a cross-sell suggestion is made and the customer is informed about another service. If the client asked for additional information about the suggested service, a new sales cycle starts.


T + 90: If this is a high-value customer then it is time to try to get a face-to-fact call. By this time the odds of a cross-sell have dropped 25% and are about to drop even more so time is of the essence. A suggested script might be:


“This is your 3-month anniversary and I would like to come out to see you to make sure we are staying up on your ongoing needs. We not only want to learn more about how your business is going, but we have anticipated some of your needs and have some suggestions that our other business clients have found useful. How does the next three weeks look for a meeting?”


If the client declines, the account officer imparts that it is not a problem and that they just want to make sure they know how important they are as a client. If the client accepts, the business development officer, must then do some homework and be prepared to: a) give the client an update on the business climate (economic info, rates, law changes, material events, etc.); b) be prepared to ask probing questions to learn more about the finances (and to collect the information if available), changes in the business and goals; and, c) be prepared to make some honest suggestions of other products that the client could use.


T + 6 months: An email is sent asking if there is anything that is needed and to send some piece of content that is of value (an invitation to an event, a relevant news story, a best practice tip sheet, a networked introduction is made, etc.).


T + 12 months: Another contact is made celebrating the one-year anniversary, thanking the client for their business and to set another meeting in order to get an update on their business growth. At this time, the theme is helping the client manage risk and get prepared for the following year. Tax, estate insurance, investment services and/or treasury services are suggested.


The onboarding process can help a bank not only retain the relationship, but grow it as well. This minimal program creates touch points at key times and in key areas that has proven to be the most effective. The keys are rigorous execution, the providing of value at each touch, consistency of follow-up and the interweaving of a service culture into the bank’s DNA. Without a formal process quality onboarding will be an illusion. With a formal process, onboarding becomes a sales and cultural competitive weapon.