While successfully onboarding customers is critical to many organizations, the process of finding and attaining these potential customers, along with the cost, isn’t always easy. The approval process itself can be prone to a variety of different friction points, but even with an efficient approach there is always the risk of unknowingly approving bad or fraudulent customers.

As the environment itself becomes more heavily regulated to ensure transactions that require the exchange of sensitive identification or financial data are safeguarded, the challenges to accomplish this can become even more daunting.

So how can companies strike the balance between ensuring customer acquisition processes are not just efficient, but also frictionless and secure?

GIACT Systems’ co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Merlin Bise says the use of smart data in real-time is key to overcoming the onboarding stumbling blocks many companies are facing.

“In order to support growth, meet risk and regulatory requirements, and stay ahead of their competition, companies are placing greater emphasis on real-time customer intelligence,” Bise explained.

Typically, companies turn to historical sources of customer data, such as scoring models or machine learning, to support the decision-making process for approving new customers, but Bise suggests that it’s time for a new approach.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, where a continued shift to mobility and instantaneous decisions is ever present, a move to real-time, fact-based intelligence and decision-making could create a competitive advantage for companies.

As Bise pointed out, not only does this strategy aid in improving the overall customer experience and reducing risk, but it also allows companies to keep pace with the changing customer acquisition landscape.

“The ability to introduce validated facts about a customer into your decision workflows offers improved accuracy, better customer experience and reduced fraud risk,” he said, adding that the traditional methods used today, such as scoring models and machine learning, can also be subject to fraud and manipulation – and ultimately “just make the bad guys smarter.”

Introducing real-time customer intelligence may also help companies to recognize legitimate customers more quickly, improve existing decision workflows and use the data to gain customer insight and power initiatives that are tailored to their particular customer base.

While the benefits sound great, the decision to actually make data actionable and take the next steps toward streamlining customer acquisition processes requires careful consideration.

“The data may be current, accurate and encompassing, but it is of little value if it cannot be easily incorporated into a decision workflow. Data can’t sit in a vacuum, it must be usable and relevant to your sales process,” Bise continued.

Companies also need to ensure they are utilizing data sources that are vetted for accuracy and coverage, are compliant and obtained through the proper channels, and that integrating the data keeps the process frictionless, reliable and fast for the end user.

An increase in the number and severity of Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance policies — which are key to combatting identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing — only adds to the challenge and complexity of efficiently and effectively acquiring new customers.

While creating real-time intelligence solutions for customer acquisition in-house is an option, the process may require companies to become experts themselves in compiling data, along with covering the associated capital and ongoing management costs.

Bise explained that looking to technology partners that can handle the business requires documentation, solution building and integration, and delivery typically lowers the overall costs of customer acquisition while also ensuring data is timely, accurate and more complete.

“In addition, an external provider has already developed the framework necessary to ensure the customer verification and approval process moves smoothly and efficiently, thus building goodwill with good customers and enabling you to stay one step ahead of competitors,” he said.

GIACT’s solutions aim to streamline the customer acquisition process and improve the customer experience, while also bringing in newer information data sources, such as social media, in order to include additional detail within the approval process.

“As a result, these organizations avoid the customer acquisition failure trap and let the excellence of their offerings stand front and center in their success,” Bise added.

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