Digital Onboarding: Challenge or Opportunity?
Posted by Nick Hallas
The Value of Identity Continuity Through the Customer Lifecycle

Businesses of all sizes have had to shift to serving their customers near-exclusively online in order to survive. And while much of this conversation has focused on the problems it creates for identity and security professionals, the benefits of introducing new customers to a digital-first/digital-only engagement model are just as compelling.

Simply put, businesses that master the art of seamless digital onboarding are poised to bring about happier, more loyal customers in less time, with fewer costs. But businesses that fail to meet this challenge are liable to drive away new customers before they’re activated, or worse—to expose themselves and their customers to fraud, theft, and other malign activities.

The stakes have never been higher, and the need for efficient digital onboarding with strong identity proofing has never been greater.

Digital Onboarding Defined

Digital onboarding is the process of registering a customer account with your business through a digital platform. Whereas in-person onboarding is frequently slow and painful, digital onboarding (done right) provides a faster process that’s simultaneously more meticulous and secure. 

In addition, it allows businesses to safely store pertinent security information and essential details about new customers that can facilitate a better, more personalized experience. 

Moving from Challenge to Opportunity

Banking, retail, healthcare and other industries that deal routinely with sensitive data, complex operations, and high customer volumes have been vanguards of digital transformation and the move to digital-first/digital-only customer engagement during the pandemic. But other industries are quickly following suit.

After all, fraudsters know that more sensitive data has moved online, and they’re acting accordingly. The U.S. Department of Labor even estimates that more than $63 billion has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors in the year since March 2020.

Clearly, there’s a need for more robust security in online channels, and it starts with safely verifying the identities of new customers accessing your services remotely

But this challenge is also an opportunity.

Done right, digital customer onboarding transcends its role as a legal compliance requirement and works to lay the groundwork for long-term customer loyalty. 

As The Banker recently wrote, “Given the importance of the customer onboarding experience for building trust and creating a lasting first impression, it is extremely valuable for banks to deliver a frictionless journey.”

Alas, that journey is often far from frictionless. We cover this topic at length in our new eBook, “Top 5 Ways to Eliminate Pain Points in Digital Customer Acquisition,” but suffice to say your onboarding experience (and the identity proofing component in particular) can be either a competitive differentiator or liability.

Onboard and Onward

Done well, the identity proofing process can be completed in minutes, and in most cases the customer data does not need to be reviewed by human intermediaries. The fewer hurdles required for a new customer to get onboarded, the better. 

But it doesn’t stop there.

Seamless integration of digital onboarding and user authentication means that customers can use the same identity credentials from their onboarding process to instantly authenticate themselves anywhere and everywhere, adding ease and security to future customer interactions. 

Identity can and should serve as a mechanism of continual trust between your business and your customers. That’s the challenge—and opportunity—of our new digital world.

 


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