Are carriers losing money due to an outdated onboarding process?

Business leaders drastically underestimate the cost of inefficiency. It’s too easy to ignore the big picture and stick with a “it’s not perfect, but it works” attitude.

But what if fixing that flawed process freed you up 15% more capacity to take on additional customers without increasing your headcount? What would that look like for your bottom line?

You might think that improving a process is unlikely to save you that much, but you’d be surprised.

We recently conducted an analysis with a number of law firms and found that out of 30,000 transactions, only 5% of their onboarding forms were completed correctly the first time around.

This means that 95% – a considerable number of 28,500 clients – were filling out forms incorrectly. And that only took into account the people who actually took the time to complete the form.

What about lost customers because their process was too complicated? What about the cost of time spent by counsel and support staff chasing clients? What about the impact on the customer journey?

Buying a home is both expensive and emotional, so how would you feel if you experienced this type of onboarding process?

How to improve your onboarding process

Make forms easy and accessible
The first step to increased efficiency is to make the forms as easy as possible for customers to complete.

In this example, we looked at a client’s onboarding questionnaire forms and, with the help of their lawyers, reduced the number of questions from 210 to 102.

We did this in several ways:

  1. Identify questions that could be consolidated or deleted due to duplicates
  2. Make it easier for clients to rewrite questions using simpler vocabulary
  3. Move questions to a later stage in the process for the benefit of the client

While it might seem like a good idea to collect all the information early on, it does add extra work to the customer and opens up more possibilities for error. Focus on collecting essential data correctly the first time and when it is most appropriate.

Use dynamic digital forms

One of the many benefits of digitizing forms is that you can make it completely dynamic, with the answer to one question influencing the next question. This reduces the time required for data entry and creates a better customer experience.

You can also include information buttons that give sample answers or additional information for questions that are not straightforward.

In addition, the built-in error protection makes it difficult for users to enter incorrect details. For example, the user will receive an error message if they enter a postal code that is not recognized.

Digital forms can be integrated into your existing systems, automatically feeding data to the right places for downstream processes.

What are the options for digital forms?

As with most investments, you can choose from a wide range of options that vary in price, quality and functionality. Solutions generally fall into two categories: applications and a web portal.

Starting with the apps, there are some fantastic proprietary or “out-of-the-box” apps that cover the integration of customers across multiple industries. They all have a good level of functionality and customizable features. However, be aware of how much time and resources it will take to develop the transfer process functionality that you need.

Another consideration is to use an integration application designed by transport agents, for transport agents. This way, there is less risk in investing, you can get started quickly and see the benefits sooner.

A mobile app allows users to store information locally (on their device) and can be used offline. The data can then be synced, downloaded, or updated when a connection becomes available. An added benefit of mobile apps is the ability to send push notifications, prompting users to complete information or send updates on their case. However, apps need to be developed to work with different operating systems, which basically means making at least two versions – one for Android and one for iOS.

Web portals are generally more suited to using desktops or large-screen devices, but there are responsive mobile options as well. Web portals are developed in the same way as websites, but with more backend functionality. They can be integrated into your existing website and are often less expensive than mobile apps.

Of course, it is also possible to have both a web portal and a mobile application, giving your customers more choice and flexibility.

Is the investment worth it when going digital?

In the case of what we are seeing on the ground with transfer of ownership companies, there is no better opportunity to scale a transfer of ownership business using technology. In addition to the example of integration in this blog, there are various other transfer tasks that can be simplified and automated.

By simplifying tasks, automating decisions and developing new operating models, we are seeing capacity gains with our transferee customers of between 10% and 25%. Plus, on average, they saw an ROI ranging from 3: 1 to 10: 1.

However, companies should take the time to improve all processes and touchpoints with customers before selecting and implementing expensive and time-consuming technology.

But the time saved to do more with less isn’t the only benefit of going digital. By improving your processes, you will also benefit from:

  • Better customer experience – facilitate customer interaction by improving the customer journey
  • Risk reduction and SRA satisfaction – anti-error system for data entry, to reduce risk and stay compliant
  • Increase revenue and cash flow – onboard clients faster, complete transactions earlier, improve service levels for brokers and lenders, increase referrals
  • Increase profits – eliminate time wasted by lawyers and support staff by reducing tasks with no added value
  • Improve employee engagement – reduce the time lawyers spend on administrative tasks, so they can focus on using their knowledge

Considering all of the above, would you agree that the digital switchover is worth the investment?

Colin McArdle is Founder and Managing Partner of Time Consulting Group and has worked with transfer of ownership organizations to develop their operational efficiency. He is Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) certified with deep expertise in digital transformation, operational excellence and business process reengineering. He has developed a unique approach to finding and unlocking carrier capacity using a combination of task simplification, digitization, operating model redesign and operational management best practices.

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