Why Your Digital Onboarding Is Driving Away Customers

With people demanding digital service, businesses face challenges in secure onboarding of new customers.

Bruce Orcutt, Senior Vice President, ABBYY

November 10, 2022

4 Min Read
person signing in to a tablet, security ID

Today's consumers expect to complete most business of theirs online. They disdain the thought of lining up to apply for a REAL ID, open a new account, file insurance claims, or enroll for health coverage -- even to buy groceries. However, despite all the efforts to digitally transform customer experiences, there’s one process that continues to challenge customers and business -- onboarding.

Businesses struggle to satisfy customers with an easy, streamlined process while protecting themselves from fraud. Reflecting on our own experiences, it’s not surprising that 68% of consumers abandon online onboarding, according to research by Signicat. Businesses cite frustration with complex sign-ups, while clever con artists enjoy the benefits of finding technical loopholes to scam people and businesses. Either way a loss of millions of dollars is at stake.

Surely there’s a better way.

The better way starts with tackling the biggest headache with onboarding new customers -- proof of identity -- and making sure people are who they say they are. This is where most companies have problems and suffer dropouts and lose revenue potential. Here’s why:

Providing ID: Data capture from scanning passports and driver’s licenses just doesn’t cut it anymore. Identity theft continues to rise with someone becoming a victim in the US every 14 seconds. Thousands of fake driving licenses are in circulation, which police say are used to commit other crimes, like obtaining loans. In financial services organizations alone, 40% of financial organizations admit their onboarding has challenges in IT verification. Weeding out fakes is crucial. Onboarding with IDs must go a step further than machine reading and should automatically detect unique security features to ensure authenticity. This effectively means having a mini forensics lab in your app. It can be done with sophisticated AI skills that can read and affirm IDs being incorporated into the onboarding process.

Ease of use: Many proof of identity solutions require users to toggle between screens or apps to complete a process. Consumers hate that. Having to switch to your email account to create or remember a password or open a new app for scanning just adds to the frustration and is time-consuming. Your organization's online onboarding process should provide an all-in-one offering, or you risk losing revenue. For example, the Signicat survey of financial services organizations across Europe estimated losses of five billion euros a year due to dropouts, with abandonment rates increasing from 40% in 2016 to 68% in 2022. The No. 1 reason cited by customers for dropping out was “processes take too much time.”

Many organizations trying to put together a smart onboarding platform are combining best of breed technologies, however that could mean four of five different vendors providing different components of your solution. Not only is this more costly and difficult for your company, it also means a more complicated experience for the potential customer. Having all the steps required for onboarding encapsulated into one app or online platform is a huge advantage to both parties.

Biometrics: Part of that ID scanning process involves ensuring that a person’s photo is genuine. Every day more than 3 billion images are shared online, but how many are legitimate? Hundreds of thousands of those are generated by AI, and it can be hard to tell the difference.

With security being a major concern at onboarding, it’s important that organizations incorporate real-time biometrics matching. Providing live video and photo capture with sophisticated facial matching is a powerful way to meet safety and compliance standards. Some organizations have unwittingly signed up applicants who have used a physical printed photo to populate the screen when taking a selfie. With live facial matching, modern AI-based proof of identity software can determine whether customer is an actual “real life” human, and compare it with the photo on the ID.

Supporting documents: A common step to completing the onboarding process is the requirement for additional documents for identity affirmation, such as proof of address, utility bills, income statements etc., which should be scanned within the same platform. Applicants shouldn’t have to stop and wait days until staff validate information submitted via email or an app. Failure to meet real time enrollment means lost customers. Documents must be read and approved within minutes to satisfy the expectation of action now.

Intelligent automation software can swiftly check layout, properties, and security features to immediately spot a doctored or altered document. It can tell the user there and then whether it’s sufficient or if another form of ID is required. In fact, Gartner predicts that 85% of organizations will be using document-centric identity proofing as part of their onboarding workflows. That is an increase from just 30% in 2021. This type of affirmation for supporting identity proofing is a must for companies hoping to cut soaring dropout rates.

There are still several hurdles for businesses to overcome to provide a truly seamless digital onboarding service that will placate impatient users. And, they need to act fast – recent research shows 81% of consumers expect more self-service options. The line between avoiding security risks and annoying customers is a fine one, but with the right tools and technology it can be achieved.

About the Author(s)

Bruce Orcutt

Senior Vice President, ABBYY

Bruce Orcutt is Senior Vice President at intelligent automation company ABBYY and has more than 20 years’ experience in Enterprise Software. He’s played a pivotal role in envisioning and launching innovative solutions that have transformed the way people work, improved customer engagement, increased revenue, and enhanced competitive advantage for ABBYY customers. Bruce’s hobbies include cheering his daughter’s Division 1 college softball team and son’s high school volleyball tournaments.

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