Customer onboarding in B2B - A changing landscape
Customer acquisition in B2B organizations is changing. The B2C market has led the way in creating simple, low cost, intuitive digital experiences, fueling the growth of their business and brands. Innovative, smooth and digital onboarding flows, have created a gap between customer expectations and the reality of what most B2B organizations offer.
Traditional B2B businesses tend to stick with analog, slow and time-consuming onboarding processes for way too long. This generates customer friction and significant drop out. Recent studies reveal that todays’ customer expectations of an onboarding process includes the following components:
• Speed - onboarding has to be fast;
• Digital - It has to be 100% digital with no physical store/branch visits required;
• Device flexibility - It can be done on a mobile, tablet or laptop;
• Paperless - It’s 100% paperless, with no paper forms or contracts to sign.
Fail to keep up with demand, and you'll lose out on business! According to a recent survey by Signicat, 63% of customers abandoned digital bank applications in 2020, the highest number since Signicat started their survey in 2016. This comes to show the power and necessity of digital processes that provides a smooth customer experience, free of disruptions.
Keeping things simple
Far too often we find onboarding-processes that include filling out dozens of documents, identifying yourself multiple times and awaiting manual assessment for weeks before being approved or declined as a new customer. According to Signicat - possibly spurred on by Covid-19 - 68% of costumers expect onboarding to be 100% digital.
Branch or store visits, analog signing or identification and non-automated data collection will no longer be accepted by the modern B2B customer. The onboarding experience can be a “make it or break it” for the potential or ongoing relationship the customer has with the organization. Key variables like loyalty, experience, referrals, and profitability has been strongly linked to the company’s customer onboarding process in studies. In other words, a smooth customer onboarding improves your bottom line!
Speed, speed, speed
Increasing legal requirements (GDPR, AML etc.) and traditional mindsets have slowed down onboarding, making it time-consuming and quite frankly, boring!
This is concering, especially since Deloittes research showed that people tend to give up when the onboarding process takes too long, or when it requires more information than people are willing to disclose. Double trouble!
And while we're on the topic of speed: According to Signicats survey, 55% of customers abandon their onboarding process within the first 15 minutes. And once you hit the 20-minute mark, you'll have lost 70% of them. In other words, the more time-consuming and complex your onboarding process appears, the higher risk of churn and drop out.
As your previous customer is replaced by "Generation Z" (born between 1995 and 2014) this will have further implications in customer expectations. Today, 36% of Gen Z feel the onboarding process is longer than they expected, and businesses are losing them - and will continue to lose them - as a result.
How to fix your onboarding
A lot can be done to improve your onboarding experience, and by extension your conversion rates and overall business performance. However this is a good place to start;
1. Digital Simplicity
Create an onboarding that is 100% digital and requires no physical interaction, such as store/branch visits, analog signing, filling out documents manually etc. Customers will expect nothing else!
2. Automated Data Collection
Make sure required data is collected and verified automatically. However your customer should be informed of what information you will be collecting and more importantly, why!
A time-consuming process is one of the biggest pitfalls of onboarding, so this is a great way to save the customer time and worries.
3. Build - Learn - Measure
Don't waste a lot of time building something based on assumptions that haven't been tested properly. To create great customer value, start by building a simple MVP and release it to the market, namely your customers. Learn from your first version and trim your flow consistently over time, preferably in the same project and not in a new one with different people. This is a step where bugs, fixes and tweaks most likely will appear, especially when you have an onboarding process that is integrated into other systems, such as your CRM or marketing software tool.
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