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The Gaps Between Acquisition and Onboarding: New Options
by Elke Gülpen

Over the past few months we’ve spent time talking with leaders in Financial Services (FS) firms and listened hard as they shared with us the opportunities and obstacles they see for 2023. We talked with leaders in CX, Transformation, Innovation, Operations, UX, Planning & Performance and CEOs, MDs and other C-Level leaders serving in a range of retail banking and insurance firms. We learned about their priorities, opportunities and challenges, and where they see AI technology headed -- including those we specialise in here at ContactEngine to help them get stuff done, better, faster and with predictable, use-based costs.

The Gaps Between Acquisition and Onboarding: New Options

Acquiring customers is already a costly business in Financial Services, and customer service is waning. According to JD Power, in fact, overall customer satisfaction with the advice and guidance provided by national and regional banks is notably 30 points lower (on a 1,000-point scale) than a year ago.

As market demand wanes, and Financial Services firms contend with higher interest rates, a riskier economic outlook and volatility in markets, something almost counter-intuitive happens: the firm becomes increasingly selective about how they choose to do business. As the opportunities for growth shrink through declining market demand, banks, for example, are expected to tighten their lending criteria across all product lines, including business lending and mortgages.

So even if your budget for acquisitions is not so much of an obstacle, identifying the customers you want and getting them to feel the same about you will be extremely tough. Keeping the customers you already have is not going to be straightforward [read our Renewals in 2023 blog here], whoever you are. In 2023, maintaining and growing your customer base means closing the gap between acquisition, onboarding and customer service.

According to Motley Fool, in order to master customer acquisition and keep costs down, you need to track what works and what doesn’t. Most businesses understand the importance of customer acquisition, but not all of them track their costs or the effectiveness of their methods. In fact, Salesforce found that only 51% of marketers track Customer Acquisition Cost and even fewer, 43%, track Customer Lifetime Value.

According to PWC, “for many financial institutions, customer acquisition has been tied to the constraints of a “physical” operating model. Banks have tended to lead with checking accounts, often out of branches, to grow their customer base while wealth management firms have targeted customers with higher levels of wealth to cover physical operating costs. But as institutions build out their digital platforms, customer acquisition methods will change. New methods will focus on scale, which can include bulk acquisition or products flexible enough for national reach through digital-only channels. Both approaches will change the top of the funnel, and can inform strategic decisions and accelerate growth for the broader “physical” business.

One of the best ways to acquire, retain and improve CX for customers is to deploy cohesive Customer Journeys. When you can map the customer’s ‘moments of truth’, from both a functional and ‘emotional’ perspective, and then translate all that data into consistent, reliable (and compliant) technical processes in a clear, explainable and auditable way – you can give your customers a personal and unique journey with the business.

Forbes reported recently that there’s good reason that brands and businesses rank CX so highly in their priorities for the next year. PWC found that 73 percent of consumers rank CX as an important factor in their purchasing decisions – only “price” and “product quality” were ranked more highly. Additionally, respondents to the same survey said that speed, convenience, ease-of-use and friendly service are the most important elements of CX. 

So, what?

When it comes to acquisition, focus on enabling the customer to get and stay in the channel of their choice, from acquisition and beyond, for the best result. Proactive engagement means contextualized, on-brand, automated conversational experiences explicitly designed to encourage and enable the customer to access account information, solve problems quickly, and discuss issues directly via messaging or elevate to customer service call centers with more complex issues.

Even more, JD Power reports that retail bank customers want advice and guidance…but a cookie-cutter approach will not suffice. Advice and guidance “must be personalized to the specific customer, delivered to the right person at the right time. When advice is tailored to meet customers’ specific needs, satisfaction is even higher.”

What Next?

The companies that get proactive customer care right view it as more than sending a one-way notification (SMS, app notification, email, letter, etc.) asking the customer to do something. Instead, they see it as an opportunity to engage the customer in a conversation that guides and supports them to the right outcome (for both the customer and the business – in this case a successful, efficient onboarding of the customer).  Achieving this requires specialist proactive customer care technology, which is why they choose ContactEngine. 

ContactEngine enables companies to engage entire customer bases in digital text- and voice-based proactive conversations.  However, unlike notifications, these conversations actively seek an in-channel response, and keep that customer engaged in a personalized conversation until the objective of that conversation is fulfilled. 

With its configurable design and ability to transact in-channel, ContactEngine keeps over 90% of proactive conversations fully automated without the need for human agent involvement.  Every conversation is secure and fully auditable, making it simple for companies to enable proactive customer care and reap its benefits.

If you would like to get ahead with your customer acquisitions and CX this year and convert your proactive customer care from simple notifications to proactive conversations, contact us [LINK] and let us show you how.

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