How to create a happy path

Most digital onboarding processes are digitised versions of legacy face-to-face processes that have only one route to successful completion, the so-called ‘happy path’. But, for many customers, the path isn’t always happy, and the same can be said for the provider.

Offline happy path processes can work, but online, where the default scenario expects no exceptions or deviations from the norm, they can test the patience of even the most determined web user.

An online customer journey that represents a ‘happy path’ can often be a long and tedious to experience. Some applications take longer than 20 minutes to complete, which online is a lifetime.

As many as 35% of customers give up on an application – usually because they’re bored or confused, or because the online system will not support joint applications, or other limiting factors.

Even for the persistent, the process can end up rejecting half of them because it can’t identify who they are. In fact, financial and data checks for Anti Money Laundering (AML), fraud and credit can create multiple ‘unhappy paths’ for the customer.

The result of all this is numerous abandoned purchases, a series of high cost interventions by the provider to improve sales conversion or, often, a purchase made via a competitor who offers a slicker, timelier user-experience.

To understand more about the experience of dealing with digital onboarding processes, Experian interviewed a series of customers. The issues they identified fell into three main areas:

Frustration

  • A third (34%) of customers who’ve had a frustrating experience say it was a result of a lengthy process
  • Of these, 51% said lengthy processes were one of the greatest frustration with onboarding
  • Other frustrations included: slow processing (43%); being asked to provide additional
  • information (42%); poor customer service / user interface (38%)

Drop out

  • Almost half (46%) said poor service or user interface caused them to drop out
  • Other areas which caused dropout include: lengthy forms (40%); slow processing of applications or payment (34%); having to provide additional information (22%)

One chance

  • If they failed to complete the onboarding process digitally, 41% of customers said they would be less likely to interact with a provider again
  • Other reactions included a negative opinion of an organisation (33%) as a result of a failed process, of which 25% of respondents would share their poor experience with friends, family, colleagues, and on social media

Businesses need to understand and deal with these common customer complaints, if they are going to build more responsive systems. Whether that’s through partnering with Fintech organisations for example, or making huge changes in technological architecture, there are some simple enhancements including:

  1. Understanding who your customers are. Profiling and grouping customers through tools such as Mosaic and ConsumerView can enhance knowledge on an individual based on overlaying data and persona analysis. Businesses can drill further into customer profiles using tools such as financial strategy segments, which adds a layer of insight specifically around financial behaviours.
  2. Respond, fast. Whether you’re using your own built systems or integrating new, this new digital era doesn’t tolerate slowness. As such decisions need to be made in real-time, using real information. With such a mass of data available, automating decisions will make it easier for businesses to interpret customer strategies using models and rules based machine learning
  3. Understand what they want, and when. As we’ve mentioned people won’t tolerate inconvenience. As such, businesses can prequalify customers and prospects using tools available to accurately assess and propose. In addition, propensity modelling can heighten a customer’s perception of an organisation. With an expectation of personalised, relevant communications, which will only grow with the advent of Open Banking next year – being able to predict will offer a forward-thinking strategy.
  4. Making sense of big data. Big data is, big. It can also become outdated and unusable when it isn’t controlled, updated and matched against accurate sources. In addition to using data, organisations need to link data together to maintain and generate a single customer view. This isn’t a concept talked about at length for fun, it is one of the most important areas businesses should consider – and with a large majority of businesses stating they are challenged with getting this, it is something that will set businesses apart from the competition should they get it right.
  5. Connectivity. Like customers require connectivity, so do businesses – particularly within their software. Being able to add, amend and flex rules and customer strategies will enable an agile and responsive foundation. Whether this be for managing customers, or for more tactical needs like fraud detection. Businesses need to be able to link all platforms and tools together to not impact the customer experience due to inconsistencies in approach, e.g. forcing them offline, when they have started online.
  6.  Simplicity. Organisations are striving towards offering a simple and seamless experience for their customers, but overwhelmed by manual and complex software to serve. Simple changes like digitising ID capture, or monitoring customer behaviours such as their device use, can offer simple solutions that enhance the customer experience whilst relieving operational teams of manual work to complete.

Resources used:

Whitepaper: Customer Digital Onboarding

customer onboarding journey-happy path