How to Enhance the Small Business Banking Experience with Automation and Augmentation

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Small business (SMB) customers are rethinking their banking relationships and looking for a personalized and emotional connection. If you need proof, look no further than these compelling stats:

  • Only 18% of small businesses believe their financial institution (FI) meets their needs
  • 62% of small businesses don’t see their business account providing more benefit than a personal account
  • 90% wish their FI understood their banking and business needs better

As small business customers begin to reconsider how and with whom they’re banking, FIs must also rethink their strategies. How can they provide greater value to their small business customers and take advantage of the $370B banking opportunity small businesses represent?

A $370B Dollar Question

At a recent conference focused on Small Business Banking, held early October in Nashville, TN, small business banking leaders shared their thoughts, experiences and research on current state of small business banking in the US.

Irv Henderson, EVP and Chief Digital Officer of Small Business at US Bank, asked, “How can we use technology and integrated experiences to get small business owners home to their families earlier?”

Today’s customers, he explained, are looking for convenience, integrated experiences, and opportunities to simplify every aspect of their lives- including their financial lives. “Whatever we can do to make their lives easier will be key to our success,” Henderson added.

For many institutions, this means looking beyond transactional relationships and working toward a future where bankers can serve as trusted advisors. Amy Doll, Chief Lending Officer at PeoplesBank, said it best: “When it comes to small business banking, financial institutions should make their clients feel like they’re big enough to help, but small enough to care.”

To bridge this gap and effectively serve the unique needs of small businesses no matter their size, FIs must invest in ways to augment and automate processes and experiences. Automation enables fast and seamless workflows and low-touch interactions, replacing time consuming, manual processes and allowing bankers more time to better serve their customers.

Augmentation, which goes hand-in-hand with automation, provides FIs with true differentiation and value creation through enhanced, personalized interactions in an increasingly digital world. The result: bankers have access to the powerful tools and insights necessary to meet all their clients’ needs, while offering them an augmented and supercharged customer experience.

While bankers will certainly benefit from these technologies, the real value comes from what the customer experiences. Amy Doll drove this point home at American Banker’s Small Biz Banking conference when she shared how automation and augmentation gives her team more opportunities to focus on meaningful work and build positive, profitable relationships: “Great Small Business Banking is about personalization and making it tangible to your clients that your organization is capable and cares.”

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