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Traditional banks face up up-hill struggle with business customers

A businesses strategic success is often underpinned by the services and reliability of the bank that serves their organisation.  

Until now, traditional banks have continued to lead the way. In fact, a survey recently conducted by Pega on 340 businesses that use credit and lending services reported that traditional banks would be the first choice for businesses if they were to switch banking partners. Of course, in the consumer space we are constantly being reminded of the threat of the challenger banks, but they are yet to properly make their mark in the commercial banking space.

But that could soon change.

Just recently Tide, a mobile-first financial services company, announced that over 100,000 customers have signed up for their app-based business accounts. What’s more, the Pega research also found that two thirds of large organisations have considered changing their banks and almost a quarter (22%) of those banks have gone through with changing banks in the last year. In terms of medium sized organisations, the report also found that over half have found themselves in positions of switching banking providers in a bid to find better online banking facilities, improved service and lower fees. Could the challengers come to their rescue?

Of the businesses surveyed, when it comes to the services that they want banks to offer in terms of technology innovations, respondents stated that they would prefer a greater use of AI for offers that are more personal and tailored to the individual. And yet, a report published by Business Insider Intelligence found that AI is already being used by banks to provide tailored insights and recommendations, as well as to improve the identification and authentication of customers. Evidently, this new technology is missing the mark.

Transparency was another concern that British businesses voiced when it comes to choosing a bank. In this context, transparency is about how visible the actions of an organisation are to the customer. During the onboarding process, transparency, automation and consistency were seen as top priorities for businesses when choosing a bank. Features that businesses also look for in a bank include confirmation texts or emails, an improved speed of service, and a great understanding of a customer’s needs in order to provide the most relevant products and services.

Although the larger traditional banks have proven to be more popular when it comes to customers, they shouldn’t get too comfortable. Business customers are receptive to the idea of improved use of technology and AI for their banking services. As a result, in the future of business banking, this will be a pivotal competitive comparison moment. With technology and options for clients increasing, the outcome is that changing providers is becoming more common in business banking.

AI has emerged as one of the buzzwords of this decade. Therefore, customers want the technology to be harnessed to help identify what their needs and wants might be. Using AI, banks can produce more tailored products and services, as well as predict client requirements when they change accounts or invest in a new product.

Ultimately, if a bank is able to show their capabilities in understanding a businesses’ goals for the future, a partnership will most likely form between the two. A customer will tend to show loyalty to their financial services provider if they feel that their requirements are being met. Because of this, a top priority for banks is to ensure their customers’ expectations are either satisfied or exceeded. Not only does this depend on providing excellent service through the bank’s channels, but it also depends on the bank being well informed about a company as a whole.



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