Next-Generation Client Onboarding

How digital is client onboarding in the German financial sector?

Digital client onboarding is now firmly established in the German financial sector

Platform providers such as MyTaxi, Uber or AirBnB have set new benchmarks for innovative, lean onboarding solutions that customers now also expect from their bank. But to what extent do German financial institutions use online channels to sell their products and services? To answer this question, PwC asked 41 experts from 26 financial institutions to rank their client onboarding systems. The results of the study show that digital onboarding is now firmly established in the German financial sector. This applies particularly to direct banks and private banks as well as young market participants.

Download Study, PDF (699 KB)

“For financial institutions, onboarding is not just about meeting customer needs and wishes. It’s about banks finding a way of providing personal customer advice at the same time as digitising customer services. Having a digital presence therefore represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the banking sector.“

Thomas Hamele, Director Digitalisierung & CRM at PwC Germany
Mann und Frau am Tablet

Direct banks and private banks are leading the way 

Most banks now offer basic products and additional services online. You rarely need to visit your branch, and then only for products requiring specialist advice. Direct banks and private banks are leading the way in digital onboarding whilst the major banks are lagging well behind. Cooperative banks, saving banks and car finance companies rank towards the middle of the table.

Analysis of maturity from online self-assessment

Digital presence as opportunity

According to the study participants, their biggest challenge is ensuring a positive customer experience and high levels of acceptance across all channels. This was cited by 70% of those surveyed. Today’s customers are quicker to switch if their current bank does not meet their wishes. Unsatisfied customers cancel the registration process and go for a competitor’s product. The customer experience thus has a significant impact on closure rates.

Top currrent challenges in client onboarding

The next stage: merging of all customer interaction channels

Leading digital financial institutions are gradually developing their onboarding into a multichannel process that is accessible from all devices. The industry is now entering the next stage: next generation client onboarding.

This will focus mainly on the digital customer experience and merging all customer interaction channels to form a single channel. Digital transformation often fails due to legacy organisational structures or restrictive IT systems. Current transformation projects demonstrate that financial institutions are rethinking to counter the growing pressure from the competition as well as rising customer expectations.

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Summary of other findings from the survey: 

Products and services: Consumers expect to be able to complete financial products and services digitally. Cooperative banks, private banks and direct banks have the largest digital product and service offering. Current accounts, instant access accounts, consumer finance, credit card and deposit accounts are the most frequent online products.

Digital client experience: Three quarters of the institutions surveyed offer seamless onboarding from a PC or mobile device. However, they have not yet established advanced digital assistance systems such as text-to-speech or chatbots. 

Digital distribution channels: Analyses of digital contact points with the customer provide detailed real time information on how users interact with the web application to help identify obstacles along the customer journey at an early stage. These distribution channal analyses are well established in most financial institutions. 

Data landscape: Legacy structures mean that there are a number of different systems in operational use. Half of the financial institutions surveyed purchase personal data from third-party providers. This is used to help inhouse business processes with compliance with legal requirements or with strategic planning of marketing and sales tasks. 

How advanced is your company?

We give you the opportunity to determine the digital maturity score of your company's onboarding process and benchmark it against other industry participants. Your personal benchmark comparison will be displayed after a complete evaluation of the questionnaire. All data is anonymized and kept strictly confidential. 

To the external presentation "Self-Assessment-Tool" on the website of Qualtrics LLC.

Contact us

Oliver Dathan

Senior Consultant Digitalisierung & CRM, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 30 2636-4006

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