The onboarding process, by which customers are able to adapt to the processes of a service provider company, is very important in the B2C (business to consumer) universe, but absolutely essential in B2B (business to business). Designing a good integration protocol is key to eliminating any barrier and stopping customers from leaving for any reason.
Some of the reasons prospects leave the onboarding process include: unclear information; cumbersome registration; or there are situations in which the user must fill out a large number of fields, dissuading them from requesting information and, of course, from joining the service. How can APIs improve onboarding?
How to design good onboarding?
Getting two parties to work together as a supplier-customer is not immediate or trivial, far from it. It is a complex issue that requires specific processes and the design of a landing “platform” for the customer. A platform where they feel comfortable, safe and have all the relevant information without overloading or other barriers that encourage them to leave.
When designing good onboarding, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes , either business (B2B) or end (B2C) customers, and propose the optimal route for the least possible attrition. Attrition such as found on platforms that request you to enter all your registration details manually, without the option of autocompletion, forcing users to invest time in transferring data and generating frustration.
Continuing with this example, soft onboarding allows direct registration through third parties, such as registration on a platform using your Google, Facebook or Apple credentials. In these cases, users just need to log on to these services and the platform is able to collect the data without the users encountering barriers along the way. Automation takes over.
Formally, the user is giving Google, Facebook or Apple permission to share some private data from their account with said platform. This is, in essence, an access API. In spaces like BBVA API_Market, you can find a remarkable number of APIs that facilitate integration with customers, and allow the design of this soft onboarding .
What are the traditional barriers to onboarding?
According to the white paper “Total economic impact of client lifecycle management solutions” (2015) by Forrester Consulting, onboarding can be a particularly expensive process. Applied to banking penetration, “onboarding may take more than 34 weeks and around USD 25,000 per customer” and “the average cost per new customer is close to USD 6,000.”
Naturally, these metrics are not the same for all sectors, activities or onboarding registration systems, where the real cost can be much lower, especially for highly automated processes. For example, the Customers API enables BBVA customers to share their information with third parties quickly, while always subject to their express consent.
However, any onboarding process involves some costs for the company looking for customers, as well as some friction for the customer. According to PwC’s publication “All aboard: Delivering the onboarding experience customers demand” (2015), “first impressions matter.” And this applies to each of the intermediate steps in a service arrangement process.
There is some consensus about the roadmap for approaching a company. Also by PwC:
- Recognition of the need and interest in a service
- Consideration of potential providers
- Research on providers and their products
- Arranging services and evaluation (trial period)
- Contract formalization with account creation
- Customer growth through service
It is important to stress that it is possible to lose the prospect in each of these points, mainly due to unclear information, cumbersome registration procedures or barriers along the journey. For example, customers complete all the steps to then realize that the last stage involves waiting for a salesperson to call, without including a range of prices or services. A reason for abandonment in the early stages.
APIs have come to simplify banking penetration processes
APIs function as programming interfaces that allow a certain system (for example, a registration) to come into contact with a second programming environment, making it possible for the first to operate without the user noticing the cracks or having to abandon the initial path. A fluid whole that takes the user through each of the steps until conversion. Therefore, they are an interesting way to generate positive onboarding.
This is the case of Customers, the API that allows BBVA customers to share user information during registration: user identifier, full name, gender, identity number, birthday, etc.; as well as contact methods such as postal address, an email address or a telephone number. That is, all the relevant data in a purchase or subscription process.
Thanks to Customers, users will be able to share their data with a click, instead of filling out a dozen registration fields. This improves onboarding fluidity and minimizes abandonment due to friction or barriers. The fewer steps in online registrations, the more likely it is that users will join the customer portfolio and access the service.
The purpose of the APIs listed on BBVA API_Market is to make life easier for end users of the service and, as such, also be of use to the brands that implement these interfaces. Again, putting oneself in the end customer’s shoes, who will be accessing the platform, so that they do not find any barriers in their registration process.
APIs like Customers can be seen as leveling the ground that customers will travel. A digital tool, integrated with banking, that seeks to flatten their path and eliminate friction from onboarding .