Back to The Intelligent Enterprise

Top Reasons Why Customers Abandon Your Onboarding Processes...and How to Fix Them

by Steven Cronin, Senior Vice President of Customer Excellence

Streamlining and modifying the onboarding process through use of new technologies improves the customer experience by up to 43 percent and increases retention by over a third (37 percent). However, it is important to strike the right balance between automated processes, customer involvement and engagement, and relationship nurturing to prevent customers from churning.


Who hasn't experienced it: you start a registration process online with a company and then obstacles arise during data entry. The entire process is prolonged, you re-enter the same data, and after a while you give up and abandon the process. The company just lost your business. Probably forever. You might even share this frustrating experience with your friends and family, so the company may lose their possible future business. A well designed and functioning digital onboarding experience is a must-have to start off the customer relationship on the right foot. After all, the first impression a company makes will set the benchmark for all future interactions.

Nine out of ten companies report some form of registration process abandonment, and in times of economic uncertainty, the consequences of abandonment can be enormous. These failures to acquire customers impact the company reputation and the bottom line. According to our recent study, business leaders believe they could increase revenue by 26 percent and customer acquisition by 29 percent if the abandonment rate was reduced by 50 percent. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure better results.

The right mix of technology and human interaction is the key

Entering copious amounts of data into forms, being pushed from one automated process to the next, or not getting answers to questions because the digital process didn’t give you the option to talk to a human being… all these annoyances lead to abandonment of the process. Due to the abundance of automations, many companies neglect that people want to be involved in the process and understand why they’re being asked to enter certain information.

Streamlining and modifying the onboarding process through use of new technologies improves the customer experience by up to 43 percent and increases retention by over a third (37 percent). However, it is important to strike the right balance between automated processes, customer involvement and engagement, and relationship nurturing to prevent customers from churning.

It all comes down to the right tools

The results of our study confirm this: processes that are far too lengthy (29 percent), have too many manual steps (26 percent), and a cumbersome proof-of-identity process (26 percent) cause people to drop out during registration. Therefore, to streamline processes and make it as easy as possible for customers to submit information and prove their identity, the right tools and technology are critical.

Document-centric identity proofing and verification technologies, used in combination with intelligent document processing technologies, are key components of digital onboarding today. Among the companies surveyed on this, 21 percent say they already plan to use intelligent process automation technologies in onboarding. For the potential customer, these technologies are engaging, they build trust, and speed up the process with simple steps. Yet, due to the complex technology invisible to users, they don’t compromise security. This in turn improves the customer experience and reduces the dropout rate. So ultimately, everyone emerges a winner.

Reduce the complexity of proving identity

Most of the time, the first onboarding hurdle starts with proving an identity. Is this person really who they say they are? Security standards are extremely high, and one or two checks like a simple selfie are no longer enough. Even social media services like Instagram, which generates millions of new accounts in every few months, with hundreds of thousands of them being created by bots, are also grappling with this issue.

Real-time biometric matching coupled with sophisticated forensic analysis ensures proper and efficient identity protection. This allows the user to be engaged in simple steps like taking a picture of their identification (ID) and taking a selfie, while behind the scenes there is sophisticated facial matching, liveness detection, and document verification. Modern identity proofing software can therefore determine that the person is a real person. Using advanced AI and machine learning technologies, after the ID document is checked for authenticity, the selfie is then compared with the ID headshot photo to confirm that the person is who they say they are. Then advanced liveness detection ensures they are a real person. This instant proof of identity significantly speeds up the onboarding process and raises the bar for security.

Combining document-centric identify proofing with document-centric identify affirmation improves things even further. Normally to best prove an identity, it is helpful to have other data that can further affirm the identify information. For example, a utility bill can further affirm a name and address; an income statement can further affirm the name and entered income data. Virtually any additional documents can quickly be captured via a mobile device, rather than the cumbersome task of entering data manually.

This simple process eliminates the back and forth with customers, and there is no manual processing that takes days. Instead, users are engaged and part of the process. They can easily and quickly provide the necessary information, and it can all occur within a matter of minutes.

State of Intelligent Automation Report: Customer Onboarding Drivers and Pain Points

Download report

Is everything working well, and if not—why not?

Before trying to optimize processes or build on existing ones, it is first necessary to know how the current processes are actually performing. Oftentimes, there is some idea or some data to indicate which area should be improved. Often this is influenced by bias, and rarely on the truth and full data set. Therefore, the first step is to gain usable insights into the onboarding process in order to uncover any weaknesses and also to get an overview of the areas in which targeted improvements can be made. Process intelligence tools, along with process and task mining, are designed to do exactly that.

Company managers also seem to have recognized this as 21 percent of those surveyed are already planning to add process intelligence tools to their existing infrastructure. To ensure your goals are clear, and the outcomes will be achieved, leverage an advanced process intelligence tool capable of doing advanced process simulations. This allows merging data with subsequent and hypothetical changes to analyze and identify patterns that will lead to a better customer experience and new operational efficiencies. If done right, you can see the results and outcomes before actually executing on them, and therefore decide to execute on only the biggest and best areas of impact. By leveraging factual data and process intelligence, you can be assured of real results, saving money, increasing revenue, and increasing customer retention rates.

There is a fine line between providing a safe onboarding process and frustrating potential customers. With the right onboarding strategy, you can master the balancing act between the right amount of human-in-the-loop interaction and efficiency through intelligent automation. If companies invest in the right tools that allow customers to easily and securely prove their identity, the company will benefit not only financially, but also augment productivity and satisfy customers.

Click here to get to know more about ABBYY’s survey on customer onboarding drivers and pain points: State of Intelligent Automation Report | November 2022.

Steve Cronin 110X110 (3)

Steven Cronin

Senior Vice President of Customer Excellence at ABBYY

Steven Cronin is Senior Vice President of Customer Excellence at ABBYY. He has spent the last 25 years in enterprise software leading customer-facing initiatives. As an industry veteran and expert in holistic customer-related business processes, he truly understands that an exceptional customer experience is the key to a successful and long-term business relationship.

Subscribe for updates

Get updated on the latest insights and perspectives for business & technology leaders


Connect with us