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Technology is putting corporate customers in the driver’s seat – not banks.

While making dinner, you turn to your voice-assisted device and tell it to turn on the TV. You listen to a news story about Amazon’s first public drone delivery while chopping carrots. A few pieces fall to the floor and your robot vacuum whirrs over before the dog even has a chance.

For the first time ever, we have more sophisticated technology in our homes that aid us in our personal lives than we do at work.  These technologies satisfy many of the universal desires of any customer.  Simple to use. Convenience. Speed.  Easy access to information.  For better or worse, technology is reshaping our expectations of how easy or fast something should be.

Banks are not excluded from this paradigm shift.  Except instead of home robotic manufacturers, its Fintech providers that have played a large role in raising the bar for customer expectations around functionality and user experience.

Corporate treasury customers are becoming more technologically savvy and want their banks to keep up.  Small businesses today are far more tech savvy than they were a decade ago. This is a trend we expect to continue at an even faster pace, especially as a growing number of millennial-run businesses enter the market. These business owners have grown up with technology, are comfortable with digital channels, and expect everything to be real time.

That was then, this is now

Historically, banks and their customers have both managed to navigate through tedious onboarding processes. But today, the corporate side of the bank is no longer able to use complexity as an excuse for the same old user experience. Many leading banks now realize change is needed and as a result, improving the efficiency of onboarding is a focus for them.

Onboarding has a critical relationship to a customer experience. When I collaborate with banks to improve the overall onboarding process, one of the first issues mentioned by both sales teams and bank customers is the shear amount of documentation that has to be completed.  I recall one sales officer who shared their story about onboarding one of the bank’s largest customers.  A successful consultation resulted in selling almost every offering in the bank’s product portfolio. There were so many paper documents for the customer to sign, the entire board room table disappeared.

It’s clear that at best, an institution’s tedious onboarding process will make a poor first impression with SMB customers.  At worst, a bank’s vulnerability to customer abandonment will increase. Aite Group estimates that 5 to 15 percent of new customer applications are abandoned before onboarding is completed. The dollar amount associated with that loss compounds over time when you begin to consider the lost opportunities the bank would have had to deepen relationships and further cross sell other products to those customers.

Sizable financial institutions are shifting from functionality-driven solutions to more customer-driven ones that leverage dashboards, portals, and wizards to create the kind of experience their customers demand. Aite Group reports that 60% of large banks consider improvement of their corporate customer onboarding efficiency to be extremely important. A few years ago, the majority would have said functionality. When it comes to allocating investments in technology, modern financial institutions are now equally divided between functionality and user experience enhancements.

Investing in technology that improves onboarding processes is important. Technology has become more flexible, enabling banks to deliver faster deployments and new products. Each day customers are diligently researching and choosing to invest in new technologies that deliver more convenience and simplicity into their day-to-day lives. Right now, there are probably many prospective customers researching to find the fastest robot vacuums available.

Soon corporate customers will apply the same comparative scrutiny to banks. How would your institution would fare?

This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.

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