By : Glenn A. Tom
May 29, 2018 08:00 AM
Such is the growth that has taken place in digital technologies and online functionality in the past decade or so, that consumers now expect to be able to manage most - if not all - aspects of their day-to-day lives with a computer or mobile device.
This has long been true for everyday banking processes such as transferring funds and checking account balances. More recently, consumer expectations for digital accessibility and convenience have extended to a core process for bank revenue generation: account opening.
Digital account opening is swiftly evolving into a must-have offering for financial institutions. This is particularly true for those banks that are eager to get onboard with the current wave of change and innovation sweeping across the industry, driven by initiatives such as open banking and PSD2 in Europe.
A recent blog for the American Bankers Association (ABA) Banking Journal featured a quote from ABA senior vice-president Christopher McClinton, who said: "Increasingly, customers have the expectation that they can begin a banking relationship online in minutes, and they expect the user experience to be as good as when they make purchases online."
He acknowledged that this is "a tall order for banks that have account opening procedures to follow".
However big a challenge it might be, digital account opening is something that an increasing number of customers want, so the onus is on banks to deliver it with maximum efficiency.
With this in mind, what are the key steps and considerations involved in providing a high-quality, rewarding experience for people who want to open an account using a digital device?
One of the key reasons for consumers to choose a digital device to open a bank account is so they can get the job done as quickly and easily as possible, with no need to visit a branch or go through a laborious process over the phone.
Digital account opening solutions that operate quickly and reliably are the foundation for a good customer experience in this area.
Providers can also speed up the process by utilizing the existing customer information at their disposal, which provides additional benefits in terms of targeted cross-selling.
Today's consumers - particularly tech-savvy millennials and digital natives - expect digital services to work intuitively, with no glitches, delays or errors in the user experience.
One key requirement is responsive design, which ensures that the interface automatically resizes to fit the customer's screen.
The manner in which information is collected should also be designed to be as easy and straightforward as possible. Users who find the process difficult or irritating are likely to abandon it before completion.
Maintaining high standards of security and combating fraud should always be a top priority for banks. Digital account opening must utilize the latest identity verification methods to ensure that the individual requesting the account is who they claim to be.
One of the big challenges facing providers today is achieving this level of security without compromising the user experience.
Delivering an end-to-end digital account opening experience might be the ultimate goal, but the reality is that customers will often have to switch from their digital device to another channel, such as telephone or branch, to finalize setting up their account.
In these cases, it's hugely beneficial to have omni-channel capability that allows the user to start the process in one channel and finish it in another, without having to re-submit any data.
This level of coherence and convenience in the overall customer experience is increasingly important not only in account opening, but in all areas of modern-day banking.
Institutions that are able to meet these standards will be well-placed to succeed as the industry continues to evolve over the coming years.