Phoenix Synergistics: Optimizing Branches for Small Business Customers

January 2020 | Digital and Self-Service Banking | Role of Personal Contact | Account Management, Service, and Sales

Small businesses have long been heavy branch users – regularly visiting them for business and personal financial activities. However, in this more digitized and automated world, branch usage and in-person contact may be evolving.  What types of regular banking activities do small businesses still perform at the branch, and are there opportunities for shifting them to self-service or remote channels?  How are account management and customer service activities performed – online or in the branch?  Is it still necessary for account opening to take place face-to-face at the branch?

Providers are deploying a myriad of self-service options in their branches – from deposit taking machines and statement printers to video kiosks for live contact with an off-premise institution representative or specialist. What is the reaction of small business customers to these new innovations?  To what extent are they being used and what is the potential for widespread adoption? Remote deposit capture has also been available to small businesses for some time now.  Awareness of this service is strong, however, usage has been somewhat limited.  What are the barriers and keys to increasing adoption among small businesses?

In this rapidly changing environment, it is important for providers to regularly assesses the channel behavior of small businesses. This study evaluates the changes that are taking place as small businesses adopt new channels and the resulting impact on branch usage.  Usage of a variety channels — branches, ATMs, online and mobile — are examined.  It is essential for providers to have channel strategies for today’s small businesses. The study features an Internet survey of 600 owners and executives of small businesses with annual sales of $50K to $5M.  Industries include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.

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