A friend of mine recently got married and was telling me about his efforts to add his new bride added to his bank accounts and combine their individual accounts into one.  He told me that he started the process about a month ago thinking it would be easy, but was directed to a form on the banks website, which required him to print it out and then figure out how to get back to the bank; when he was telling me the story it was already a month later and it was still not done.

Clutter Instead of Convenience

His expectation of just being able to go online fill out a form and be done, was not met.  Instead he started online (digitally) and then was forced into a paper process.  He wants to get his accounts combined and his wife added, but since it was not convenient he still has not started.

Does Paper Deserve our Attention?

I tried to think like the bank and find a reason for the process that he went through.  I could not do it in today’s mobile world it does not make sense.  Just looking at the additional burden that paper process puts on the bank it does not pass the logic test:  the customer to creates a paper form and sends it into the bank that now requires the bank to interact with that document, route it to appropriate department, do the old “eye ball check” manually input the data on the form and then scan the form or file it for storage. 

Not only is it inconvenient for the customer it sounds terrible for the bank as well.

The Logical Choice: Digital

Those are the types of processes that should be electronic.  The customer goes online finds the form, opens it electronically, fills it out, signs/initials electronically and is done.  For the bank, because the document is still digital it is routed electronically to the appropriate department at the bank for action and the data inputted into the form can be extracted and added to the appropriate banking system (all electronically).  At the very end the signed completed document would be stored in the electronic document archive with no scanning. 

Not only does keeping this process electronic improve the customer experience, but it also just streamlined the bank’s process as well.  It removed the paper roadblocks, and significantly reduced the chance of errors that is ever present in a paper based system. 

If my friend had been able to use an electronic form he would have already transferred his funds and added his wife to his account, but instead we are month into this and counting. The lesson from all this is that we should embrace the power of easy, and leverage digital processes to improve not only the customer experience but the bank experience as well.

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