When it comes to wooing small business owners away from their financial institutions, many say they would switch for a superior mobile banking product.
That’s according to The ath Power Small Business Banking Study from ath Power Consulting, a Boston-based financial services research and strategy firm. The sixth annual study assessed the small business banking customer experience at banks nationwide. Credit unions were not included in the report.
Based on more than 839 in-branch visits by small business owners at banks across the U.S, the data showed that 66% of the respondents would likely to switch banks for one with a superior mobile offering.
Conversely, despite its growing prevalence and importance to small business owners, 37% of bankers in the study failed to even mention their bank’s mobile offering, according to ath Power.
“Mobile represents opportunities and challenges for banks to attract and retain small business clientele,” said Frank Aloi, CEO of ath Power. “Banks with mobile offerings tailored specifically for small business will achieve success by delivering differentiated features and functionality not available in standard mobile banking services.”
The study’s results also revealed that bankers from the highest rated banks were significantly better at determining needs and building rapport with prospective customers. Of those small business owners who reported that the banker built a rapport with them, 91% said they would become a customer compared to 28% of those who did not.
Still, the study further uncovered missed opportunities for sales, as only about half (52%) of the small business owners were actually asked to open an account during their visit to the bank.
“Personal connections remain critical for banks seeking to acquire new small business customers,” Aloi said. “The most successful institutions are training bankers on how to build rapport and then using applicable research and coaching to continuously improve.”
In determining which banks had the best customer experience for small business owners, ath Power found the top performers were Bank of the West, Associated Bank and Chase. Their average ranking on overall customer experience was 71 out of a possible 100 points, which was a decline from last year’s average of 74.
Regionally, the top rated banks in this year’s study were:
- West: Bank of the West, US Bank, Citibank
- Midwest: Comerica, Chase, Associated Bank
- South: Chase, Comerica, Wells Fargo
- Mid-Atlantic: Citibank, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Bank
- Northeast: PNC Bank, M&T Bank, RBS Citizens