Automating Customer Onboarding: 5 Ways that AI Assistants Help

By 6 Minute Read

Onboarding a new customer is one of the first journeys post-sale with a business. For some industries, it can be a lengthy and tedious process that is riddled with many manual and labor-intensive steps, and, for many, it hasn’t been the focus of their digital transformation efforts. Until recently!

Customer Onboarding

When the COVID-19 situation hit, many companies realized that their client onboarding processes needed to be more digital, as quarantine orders required companies to function nearly exclusively through virtual channels. The introduction of conversational AI has made it possible to automate onboarding processes more thoroughly, improving customer experiences and accelerating time-to-revenue for businesses. For industries like insurance, banking, and finance, providing an automated and intelligent digital onboarding experience for customers has become a critical tool in generating revenue faster and at a lower cost to serve. 

As Celent states in their blog “Digital Onboarding: No Longer a Question of When but How Soon” the benefits of an automated customer onboarding process to banks and financial institutions are hard to ignore.

“”Banks claim that their relationship managers have higher work satisfaction because they have more time to focus on providing value to clients after gaining 10% to 15% more capacity. With some reporting errors reduced from 60% to 5% and processing times cut by as much as a sixth, the bank benefits overall from cost reduction through automation.”

The key to achieving these results through digital customer onboarding and automation is now enabled by conversational chatbots.

How You Onboard Customers Counts – A Lot!

Think of every time you apply for insurance coverage or a bank loan, become a member of a club, submit a job or college application, subscribe to a SaaS service, or change your utility or healthcare provider. Getting set up and started can take time, especially when a product or service is complicated, such as the terms of an insurance policy or bank loan. Typically, there can be multiple steps in an onboarding journey, and often there is a need to capture and validate proof documents and other customer details. Hence the delays and frustration.

Digital customer onboarding

Imagine an AI assistant that can take a customer through the steps in a chatbot onboarding journey, leveraging natural conversation in a digital channel. The bot can automate the process of requesting documents from a customer and taking them via image uploads in the conversation. Document handling can be a very costly process that involves staff chasing new customers for multiple documents and details and attaching these to their record in order to get final approval. For complicated products and services, the AI assistant can keep customers engaged in the complete onboarding process and re-engage with them if they drop off. The digital assistant also responds to customer queries as they arise throughout the engagement, but at any stage, it can hand over to a human agent who can handle more unique or complex issues that the bot isn’t trained for.

An Insurance AI Case Study: Onboarding Customers with their Auto Insurance Policy 

Customer onboarding is important because it provides businesses with a chance to generate revenue as they work to swiftly and effectively sign up new consumers for their goods and services, leading to new sales and a steady stream of income. And, in many instances, a smooth onboarding process leads to higher adoption and usage rates, one of the leading indicators in reducing churn.

However, getting clients up and running may be an expensive and challenging process, particularly when there are numerous customer journey elements that need to be validated, approved, or documented. Think about a client getting a car insurance policy approved. Several examples of the time-consuming verification papers that need to be acquired are the customer’s driver’s license, bank details, no claims bonus or evidence of prior insurance, social security number, vehicle identification number, or number plate. Here’s an example of how an insurance client turned a cumbersome and costly onboarding process into one that is smoother and more efficient.

The insurance company’s client was able to significantly reduce the manual labor and expenses associated with getting consumers started with their new policy by introducing an AI digital assistant. Human employees handled dozens of emails and document attachments per day prior to the implementation of the bot solution, collecting, validating, and compiling the various documents so they could be connected to the customer policy record. Now they can handle an average of 150%+ more incoming uploads per day as documents are properly collated by the bot. This new customer onboarding automation has enhanced agent productivity by ten times, freeing them up to work on other higher-value duties.

Read the Insurance Customer Onboarding Case Study to learn more about this digital assistant solution and how it can automate customer onboarding to achieve these compelling business results.

Five Ways an Onboarding Chatbot Improves Business Results

Customers can be signed up in a variety of ways, including through voice conversations or web chat, paper application forms that are sent, faxed, or emailed, and traditional face-to-face sales meetings (such as those held at banks, with brokers, or with sales representatives). Each of these approaches has drawbacks in the form of excessive expenses, delays, inconveniences, or inaccuracy.

Here are five ways that a digital AI onboarding assistant, using conversational AI, automates journey steps to reduce expenses and enhance the user experience.

  1. More Convenience: Customers can sign up when it suits them. The pinnacle of a self-service onboarding strategy is an AI-powered digital assistant that allows users to sign up whenever it’s convenient for them, wherever they may be, and without interruption. With an AI bot, the onboarding process doesn’t have to take place during contact center business hours or while live employees are on duty. Due to the bot’s ability to operate around-the-clock, there is less chance of losing a client because they choose to do business elsewhere or have time to think things over and decide not to continue.
  2. Reduced Costs and Customer-led Approach: The Bot Alternative to Live Chat. Onboarding client journeys can now be improved in a variety of ways, from live chat and agent-assisted models to web or mobile forms with drop-down options, auto-fills, and guided steps. There are still difficulties, though. Continuous web or live chat sessions may come to an end if a client is forced to leave them early or is interrupted, forcing them to restart. Due to delays or wait periods caused by agents managing numerous chats at once, live chat is also expensive because it is managed by human agents. With bots, the session can be completed throughout the customer’s preferred timeframe, and the chatbot can pick up and leave as needed, allowing the onboarding process to run asynchronously. If the journey calls for user authentication, the bot will simply re-authenticate the user and pick up where the user left off on the journey. A platform for customer service bots also enables journeys to be automated, removing the need for human agents to handle routine tasks or provide answers to routine questions so they can concentrate on dealing with more complicated problems. The bot thus serves as a less expensive alternative, is accessible around-the-clock, and may function in a stop-and-go manner that is more customer-led.
  3. Selection of Favoured Channel: The Power of Messaging Apps and Bots. Because of the widespread use of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE, and others during the past five years, the industry has experienced phenomenal growth. These chat apps are becoming an essential part of how companies communicate with their consumers, creating a new avenue for customer onboarding. Imagine signing up for a membership or subscription via your messaging app on your mobile device rather than having to go through a web form with live chat support?  A conversational bot can authenticate the customer, respond to their intent, retrieve necessary information, automate the journey, and send reminders or updates. With the help of the messaging channel, this may be done at the client’s convenience and pace. A bot is constantly accessible, keeps track of previous interactions and activities, and can always pass on a message to a human agent or start a channel transfer. Supporting communication through a client’s preferred channel and providing a seamless onboarding process can help organizations onboard consumers more quickly and effectively in addition to improving convenience and customer experience.
  4. Minimize Churn: Speedier Onboarding. In the era of internet commerce, attention spans can be brief and customers can quickly purchase elsewhere. Because of this, it’s critical to offer a great first impression and be able to rapidly and on their terms sign up clients before they either alter their minds or lose interest. Without the latency associated with live chat, the bot may answer right away. Additionally, it can automate the process so that consumers can start working more quickly, such as by providing instant access to important papers or data. Even better, the bot can manage the entire journey in a stop-and-go mode that is driven by the client rather than the company. What about clients that stopped the onboarding process midway through and didn’t finish it? The customer retention bot can also actively contact these clients, reminding them of previous interactions and re-engaging them in the onboarding procedure to complete the trip. 
  5. Automated and Intelligent: Customer Journeys that are Automated and AI-powered. Digital assistants with artificial intelligence (AI) have the true power when it comes to automating repetitive chores and workflows, which reduces the need for time-consuming and expensive processes. An onboarding bot powered by AI can begin by managing a straightforward onboarding process, but it can soon train and learn to become smarter and handle more jobs along the way. Of course, a bot can always escalate a situation or transfer it to a human agent while guiding the customer along the path. Additionally, as the bot manages an increasing number of customer dialogues along the journey, they get better at interpreting the client’s purpose and providing the appropriate response. A bot can be taught to manage increasingly difficult journey stops and accomplish additional goals over time. Even in complex journeys that involve multiple steps and processes, several task-oriented bots can work together using a multi-bot orchestration approach that overcomes the limitations of today’s NLP technology.

Request a demo of our bot platform or get in touch with us to learn more about how you can quickly and effectively deploy an AI bot to boost productivity throughout the client onboarding process.

You can also test-drive a demo digital AI assistant that is specific to onboarding an auto insurance customer here.

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