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Helping banks improve the onboarding process with technology

July 13, 2017

This article originally appeared in Community Banker Insight

By Chad Davis, Senior Industry Marketing Manager, Kronos

Branch bank employees strive to do their best for account holders, sometimes going above and beyond by performing extra tasks that are not always possible during regular business hours. When these tasks are done, however, the banks benefit significantly by seeing increases in employee engagement, retention, and revenues.

Onboarding falls into this category as it creates effective ways for banks to provide a positive customer experience, foster long-term loyalty, and differentiate their institution. Yet despite its effectiveness, onboarding often gets relegated to a secondary task for employees to do when/if they have free time.

Typically, many banks and other financial institutions ask employees to help onboarding (or various other account holder services) whenever they’re not busy. However, this type of policy is simply too vague and doesn’t do enough to hold employees accountable. Despite employees’ good intentions, onboarding simply doesn’t get the full attention that it should, resulting in a huge missed opportunity for the bank.

Why focus on onboarding?

Regardless of the lack of acknowledgement it receives, onboarding is still extremely important, as evidenced by research that shows that 59.6% of financial institutions (banks and credit unions) indicated that onboarding programs will be a more important strategy in the coming year.[1]

When done well, onboarding successfully overcomes many common obstacles most banks face and provides ample benefits:

  • Creates a positive account holder experience: Onboarding helps to get new account holders more engaged with the financial institution early in the relationship, helping them feel more valued and appreciated.
  • Promote long-term loyalty and reduce attrition: Engaging with account holders early in the process is critical to increasing loyalty. Research shows that when banks implement an onboarding initiative, attrition levels drop by one-third, down to just 9.5 percent.[2]
  • Provide higher quality interactions: Millennials and other heavy digital users (of financial services products) still prefer to visit a bank for advice on financial products or services. In turn, these higher quality interactions are more likely to lead to additional product sales and cross-selling opportunities.[3]
  • Increase “share of wallet”: Each account holder owns many different financial products, but chances are only a few of them are with just one institution. Onboarding properly increases the likelihood of developing stronger relationships, leading to more effective cross selling efforts.
  • Improve the value of the relationship: When considered in total, these benefits give banks everything they need to retain account holders, increase revenues, and truly maximize the value of each opportunity.

Success with technology

Although the benefits of onboarding are proven, many banks still struggle with how they can actually make it and other valuable account services part of a daily/weekly process. This is particularly true if such tasks are not currently employees’ primary responsibility, or if they are already busy in their existing role.

Employee scheduling technology can achieve this objective by giving banks the ability to forecast actual demand, in terms of account holder traffic in the branch, helping supervisors create best-fit schedules to make sure they are staffed to provide ideal service during busy times. Additionally, it gives them the power to anticipate and plan during the slower times by enabling supervisors to create schedules that let employees know when they should focus on other tasks, like onboarding activities.

Make it a “must”

Most banks are aware of onboarding and the many benefits it can provide, but many either lack the disciplined approach to onboarding or resort to a system where employees are not obligated to onboard account holders during slower times.

With employee scheduling solutions, banks can overcome such challenges and make onboarding part of a regular, ongoing process. And when they do, banks are poised to reap the related benefits: better account holder experiences, improved retention, and increased value of these relationships.


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[1] The Financial Brand, “State of Marketing in Retail Banking,” February 2014.

[2] Harland Clarke Marketing Services, “The Three D’s of Onboarding Success,” 2013.

[3] FMSI, “Millennials’ Relationship with the Branch.”

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