Manual Onboarding: A Process of The Past?

When it comes to providing customers with a positive onboarding journey, I believe that automation is key. But in 2022, many regulated businesses are still looking to manual checking when onboarding customers and performing necessary checks to comply with various regulations. At W2, our core business model is to provide our customers with all of the tools needed to not only adhere to ever-changing regulations but ensure their customers experience a slick and efficient onboarding journey. So, is manually onboarding customers really a process that needs to be left in the past?


One of the main indicators as to why manual onboarding should be used less is down to cost. When looking to use solely human intervention for onboarding you would need a lot more resource to verify customer identities, particularly in bigger businesses where the volume of customers being onboarded daily is significant. The cost of not only employing this resource but also the extensive training needed to ensure employees are well versed in exactly how to verify customers is significantly more than outsourcing to a specialist, automated provider.


The second reason why manually onboarding customers is no longer fit for purpose is speed. With technology constantly evolving, people now want instant access to services. A real time automated check can be performed in milliseconds and ultimately leads the customer to access services and start spending remarkably quicker than if the check was to be performed by an individual manually. It is now harder than ever to gain brand loyalty and customers are more inclined to drop off the onboarding journey if it is taking too long, then increasing the likelihood they will use a competitor.


It is inherently part of what makes us human that mistakes can be made. But when it comes to operating in a regulated industry where the risk of money-laundering and fraud is constantly rising, mistakes are simply not acceptable. Whilst manually onboarding a customer, those responsible for doing so can of course use multiple data sources and extensive training and experience to understand if the person attempting onboarding is who they say they are, but they simply cannot do so to the quality, consistency and speed that an automated system can use. An automated check is able to pull in relevant data points from thousands of trusted sources worldwide and can do so in real-time. Ensuring that the right people get through whilst being alerted to anyone who might be a risk to the company.

To add even more assurance, advancements such as failover and ‘waterfalling’ various providers can be implemented to ensure that even if a data provider is down or can’t find the necessary information on that customer, other sources can be instantly pulled in to provide what is required. Linked with sophisticated expense management software, this approach to managing contacts reduces risk, improves conversion rates and provides a better overall customer experience.

Manual + Automated Is The Golden Ticket

Despite the clear need for some automation within regulated onboarding, that doesn’t mean that manual intervention should be completely avoided. Yes, automated real-time checks provide the basis for an efficient onboarding journey, but it shouldn’t mean that all customers who might fail the KYC process should be immediately turned away. The automation will take care of customers who fit the requirements needed to onboard, and what that then allows is compliance teams to only focus on those who fail or those who might need more investigation. It ultimately means that less resource needs to be spent when onboarding the right kind of customers, and more time can be focused on those who might pose a threat to the business. It delivers a quick, effective, and high-quality customer journey and gives businesses the tools needed to grow their customer base and revenue.

In some capacity manual onboarding should be left in the past but combining some manual element with automating what can be automated is the way forward.

Interested in hearing about W2’s regtech solutions? Contact us here.

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