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Achieving immediate and sustainable results through client onboarding transformation: A path forward

COO Agenda

In my last blog, I laid out different ways corporate and investment banks can transform client onboarding, highlighting 10 critical success factors based on the efforts I’ve seen so far. Now I’d like to offer a glimpse at the future of client onboarding. My emphasis will be on ways to move forward with a transformation program that can lead to immediate and sustained results.

Embrace a service design mindset

A common thread among early successes of client onboarding transformation is the embrace of a service design mindset. This means centering on and creating value for the client and internal user and delivering on that value end to end across the onboarding process.

A service design approach has a front stage and a backstage. On the front stage, it crafts the experience that clients and internal users receive. On the backstage, it orchestrates the capabilities and activities that are needed to deliver the front stage experience, including enabling processes, people, technology, tools and policies. One of the main tenets of service design is to break down silos, working horizontally across the organization.

Without a service design mindset and approach, it’s too easy to end up with an internally focused solution that continues to deliver a suboptimal client experience. Realizing this, corporate and investment banks are investing in new capabilities and standing up new service design groups.

Banks that are succeeding in transforming client onboarding are aiming for a front stage and backstage experience that is:

  • Fast, particularly for existing clients adding new accounts or funds
  • Transparent, with a real-time view of where you are in the process and what comes next
  • Smart, with algorithms that suggest additional products that may be of interest given what’s known about the client (including drawing on analytical insights from transaction and relationship history)
  • Seamless across all channels (voice, electronic, mobile, API, etc.)
  • Automated and low or no touch—eliminates sending information via email, fax, or online portals
  • Consistent from start to finish and across regions, businesses, and products
  • Streamlined, collecting data and documents once and using them as needed throughout the onboarding process
  • Compliant, with integrated rules that support adherence to regulatory requirements and internal controls

Look beyond your own industry

The good news is that analogs already exist in the market. In consumer banking and insurance, for instance, it’s now possible to have a delightful customer onboarding experience. Some new customers can open an account in 90 seconds, supported by a backstage that delivers seamless service from front to back, across all client and internal touchpoints.

Don’t dismiss these examples just because they involve retail customers. The level of complexity may not be the same, but the basic principles of success are still relevant. These financial institutions tackled the challenge with a clean sheet, eschewed incremental solutions, and led with a service design mindset. Corporate and investment banks can benefit from a similar path to client onboarding transformation.

Approach the challenge from all sides

It takes a holistic, integrated approach to get to the next generation of client onboarding. Having a service design mindset and approach brings together many disciplines, such as strategy, analytics, marketing, operations and technology.

In other words, this approach is inherently holistic. It integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success to create superior customer experiences and deliver meaningful business outcomes.

In Deloitte engagements, we include a clear definition of client and internal user needs, which we arrive at through a combination of qualitative research and analysis of operational data. Next, we rapidly iterate multiple prototypes, testing and refining with stakeholders as we go. We prioritize designs and prototypes along three key dimensions: desirability (client and internal user needs), viability (business imperatives), and feasibility (the ability of operations and technology teams to deliver on the first two in a timely manner). Finally, we transition the designs into production and carefully manage change to promote awareness and adoption.

Find your North Star

So where to start? First, clearly define a set of priorities with specific and measurable outcomes; that’s your North Star. If your efforts are already underway, confirm your priorities. Consider a quick diagnostic to verify that your approach is integrated and incorporates a service design mindset from the front stage all the way to the backstage.

Next, determine a starting point from a business, product, and client segment perspective. Where the latter is concerned, a good place to kick things off may be with the transformation of onboarding for existing clients opening a new account or fund. The reason is that based on our experience with many corporate and investment banks, this group can comprise 80 percent or more of onboarding volume, depending on the asset being traded.

Finally, be deliberate in assembling a team that’s cross-functional, collaborative, and stable. You’ll need this kind of team to maintain continuous engagement and communication across stakeholders, functions, and businesses.

Take the next step

Client onboarding transformation is a big topic—too big for me to cover in a few blog posts. But what I can do, I hope, is advance some of the thinking that’s been done on transformation. Also, the takeaways apply not just to corporate and investment banks, but also to other industries as well—from consumer products to health care.  If you’d like to continue the discussion, please contact me. I welcome your thoughts and questions.

Corporate and Investment Banking Onboarding Articles Series

Article 1: The imperative to transform corporate and investment banking onboarding

Article 2: The transformation of corporate and investment banking onboarding

Article 3: Achieving immediate and sustainable results through client onboarding transformation: A path forward

Back to the COO Agenda series

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