Outperform at Onboarding: Put the Customer First

Rob Daleman | Tuesday, Jun 28th 2022
Outperform at Onboarding: Put the Customer First

Congratulations to the team at Santander UK for being awarded the 2019 Celent Model Bank award for Commercial Customer Onboarding!  This prestigious award was launched 12 years ago and recognizes financial institutions for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.  According to Celent, this year's awards were incredibly competitive, with 140 projects having been submitted by 80 institutions in 30 countries.  Quadient is proud to have played a part in the project that Santander UK undertook to earn this recognition.


A Snapshot of the Success Story

Santander UK, a global bank headquartered in Spain, had been steadily growing its commercial and corporate banking businesses. However, the company recognized that it could potentially accelerate that growth by enhancing its customer onboarding.

Management at Santander UK was confident that a superior onboarding experience represented a business-impacting opportunity because across the industry, customers are often frustrated by inconsistencies, redundancies (e.g. lack of data reuse), lack of process transparency, and the continuous back-and-forth communications with their relationship manager.

Santander UK deduced that the key to differentiating themselves from their competitors was to create an onboarding experience inspired by the customer’s point of view. This was a radical departure.

Most banks have built onboarding processes based on their operational structure, not the customer perspective. This old school approach is not only expensive but often leads to a customer’s initial opinion being negative.

The Solution that Delivered

Santander UK built a cutting-edge Corporate Digital Onboarding (CDO) experience thanks to its comprehensive, customer- and employee-centric approach.

To build their CDO, Santander UK , used the dynamic forms functionality from Quadient and the API-based services from Comply Advantage, DocuSign, DueDil and TransUnion which delivered know-your-business, know-your-customer, sanctions screening, e-signature, adverse media and identity checks. The consolidated API services were combined with complete RPA in the back office, which connected with core banking platforms and handled the information gathered from the third-party sources.

The result of this symphony of functionality and services was a CDO that delivered:

  • One dynamic multi-functioning form covering more than 14 entity types and the entire product range for corporate and SME customers.
    • Covered 72 banking products across 24 currencies.
    • Provided communications (emails and text messages) in three languages and e-signature in 80 languages, matching browser preference.
    • Included a wide range of due diligence levels and regulations (e.g., General Data Protection Regulation, the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive in Europe, and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in the US).
  • An optimized customer journey by designating, testing, and implementing more than 3,500 dynamic rules and pre-populating form via APIs. Customers could now focus on validation instead of data entry.
  • Increased onboarding timing transparency by using APIs to run know-your-business (KYB) checks on the customer immediately in order to determine the customer’s risk rating.

The Impact and Results: Customers have been Onboarded in Just Two Days

By having a customer-centric approach as the foundation of their development and build process, Santander UK’s CDO project has achieved outstanding results during its testing phase.

  • The replacement of 39 separate paper forms which covered 11 entity types and a wide range of banking products (72 across currencies, payments, accounts, deposits and credit cards) with one dynamic multi-functioning digital form.
  • Greatly reduced onboarding and customer data entry time.
    • Customers have been onboarded in two days, well above the industry average.
    • Average customer online completion times less than 60 minutes; SME customers averaged 15 minutes.
    • Multi-entry and product onboarding reduced seven director-level signatures to one.
    • Single digital communication at the point of account opening.
  • Improved back office performance.
  • Multi-team parallel processing by enabling pre-population and validation across multiple countries.
  • More times for RMs to add value for customers; CDO has eliminated the need for the front office to re-key information into manual web portals, resulting in greater relationship team job satisfaction and up to 10% extra capacity in the working week.


Feedback from the Testing Stage

By taking the bold step of developing a fully-automated onboarding experience that was centred on the customer experience, Santander UK was able to take their customer onboarding experience to a whole new level, set new industry standards, lessen the burden on their internal resources, expedite customer engagement and service utilization, and clearly set themselves apart from their competition.

They were also awarded for their efforts.

In 2019, Santander UK was one of 22 banking institutions to receive a Celent 2019 Model Bank award which recognizes financial institutions for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

Learn more about how putting the customer first can dramatically improve your company’s onboarding experience, download the "SANTANDER UK: TAKING ONBOARDING TO THE NEXT LEVEL" Case Study.