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Nailing the First Impression – Account Holder Onboarding Strategies that Work

Posted by Rebecca Hellmann on May 15, 2019 6:45:00 AM

55% of most checking account portfolios are not fully engaged, reported Tricia Hrotko, Regional Executive for Digital Onboarding, Inc. speaking on stage at The Financial Brand Forum 2019. This statistic is especially daunting when you realize digital businesses like Amazon have found ways to keep consumers regularly engaged.

Online retailers have discovered that everything rides on delivering consistent, positive user experience. They aim to delight from day one with regular communication, special offers, and a segmentation strategy that becomes more detailed as it is further informed by user activity.

email-1345921But you don’t need an incredibly advanced back-end program to increase retention and engagement. What you need is a consistent, up-to-date, and measured on-boarding program.

Why OnBoarding?

Where FIs in the past could rely in part on the difficulty of moving one’s financial services from place to place, the continued growth of digital has made changing providers much more straightforward than in the past. So, your marketing and brand awareness might bring in new accounts, but attrition rates are likely to continue to grow.

Fortunately, brand loyalty is mostly psychological. Consumers who receive ongoing but unobtrusive attention are also more likely to get the warm fuzzies about their selected FI. In fact, being responsive is the number one reason most internet users are prompted to make a purchase.

In short, better onboarding can lead to higher revenues, more cross-sells, and a more significant number of referrals.

What is Good OnBoarding?

The right onboarding program will give your new account holders a positive impression of your brand. It uses your brand’s voice and fully introduces your institution – beyond a name and account number. Here are some essential tips from Ms. Hrotko for building an effective onboarding campaign:

  • Remove friction – Be sure to craft messages for simplicity. Write at an 8th-grade reading level. Pictures or video are even more ideal.
  • Start immediately – The fewer days elapse between account creation and the first communication, the higher level of satisfaction you will build with your account holder. Shoot for three days or less, if possible. Most importantly, direct mail should NOT be your first outreach.
  • Benefits first – Finances can be a nerve-wracking subject. Switching FIs, opening a loan, investing in a CD…these types of decisions often cause stress and anxiety. Leading your conversation with the benefits of working with your institution will help reassure your account holder they have made the right choice.
  • Education second – You’ve talked about what a good move your account holder has made. Now it is time to get into the details of how to manage their account. Introduce your online tools, your mobile application, your branch locations, ATM network access, and any other information they should know to stay on top of their finances.
  • Get feedback – Ask your new account holders about their onboarding experience. Always be looking to improve.
  • Set the tone for future communication and stick to it. – Now they have been officially on-boarded, it is not time to forget about them. Let them know how and when to expect further communication, then strive to meet and exceed their expectations.

On-boarding campaigns are not the end to FI attrition woes. But they can be a step in the right direction. Implementing a thorough starter communication plan helps introduce your brand to new account holders, engages them from the very beginning, and generates the start of brand loyalty.

Are you running an onboarding campaign? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

The 2019 Guide to Marketing Channels & Strategies

Topics: financial brand forum, credit union marketing, bank marketing, email marketing, digital banking, financial institution marketing


Written by Rebecca Hellmann

Rebecca Hellmann has been researching and writing in the payments technology industry for over six years. Prior to the payments industry, Rebecca developed marketing, branding, and content for businesses such as Bil-Jac, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Homestead Furniture. She currently works as Director of Marketing for FCTI, Inc.
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