Phoenix Synergistics: Channel Strategies for Today’s Small Businesses

Oct 2018 | Scope of Face-to-Face Contact | Online and Mobile Services | Account Management, Customer Service, and Sales

Survey Topics

  • Current Branch Activity
  • Online, Mobile, and Tablet Banking
  • Remote Deposit Capture
  • Social Media
  • Preferred Channels


National Survey – The survey will include 600 online interviews with owners and executives of small businesses with annual sales of $50K to $5M.  Industry categories include manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and services.


  • Identify preferences in channel behavior among small business customers so that providers can respond to the needs of this segment. Assess changes in patterns of channel usage. Determine how important channel issues are in selecting a financial provider in relation to other criteria.
  • Assess the position of the branch in small business channel strategies. Measure aspects such as frequency of visits by small business owners or employees and the types of branch staff contacted. Evaluate if certain functional or staff improvements can optimize branches to meet the needs of small business customers.
  • Examine the role of ATMs as a channel for small businesses to conduct financial activities or access accounts and services. Explore enhancing the position of ATMs with more advanced services.
  • Profile current online and mobile activity among small business for conducting financial activities. Examine the role of e-mail in communications from and to financial providers. Assess the importance of bill payment in this space.  Measures the value of various mobile apps related to small business financial activity.
  • Ascertain the state of ongoing technological innovations in their impact on the channel behavior of small businesses. Examine usage and preferences related to remote deposit capture in terms of preference for PC-based or mobile options.  Examine experience with and perceptions of mobile card readers.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of channels for conveying marketing information to small business customers and acquiring new accounts. Measure multiple channel usage during account opening.  Examine application abandonment in the online/mobile channel..

Key Dates

July 20, 2018 – Final acceptance of client comments on the questionnaire.

July 20, 2018 – Charter fee date.

September 2018 – Initial results available.

October 2018 – Project Report available.

Small businesses have traditionally been heavy branch users – regularly visiting them for business and personal financial activities. With the advent of online and mobile channels, the dependency on the branch and the scope of face-to face-contact may be changing.  What types of activities are still performed at the branch?  How are account management and customer service activities performed – online or in the branch? Are sales activities still primarily handled face to face or by telephone?

Remote deposit capture is just one of the innovations that small businesses have available to them for conducting financial activities.  Awareness of RDC has been strong while usage has been limited.  Has usage increased?  Square and other card acceptance services allow small businesses to accept cards anywhere and anytime. New products and services like these innovations are being introduced to make it easier for the small business to conduct financial activities easily and rapidly.

It is important for providers to regularly assess the channel behavior of small businesses. This study will measure changes that are taking place as small businesses adopt new channels and the resulting impact on more traditional channels.  Usage of branches, ATMs, online and mobile channels will be examined.  Developing channel strategies for today’s small businesses is essential as providers compete for small business relationships.

Key Finding from a Recent Report:

A comparison of findings from two of Phoenix Synergistics’ previous small business surveys revealed that, as of 2016, branches still dominated small business channel usage, and both mobile and tablet banking had seen notable growth.

Has this picture changed over the past two years?



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