Bredin Report: Improving your company’s small business customer experience

It’s a common perception that small businesses think all banks are alike. They don’t. Their experience with, and perceptions of, different banks vary widely. And that means that the fortunes of banks serving SBOs can also vary widely.

To help you improve SBO customer experience — and as a result, acquisition, retention and revenue — we recently surveyed 500 U.S. small business principals. The findings are instructive; there are some great learnings on what SBOs want from their bank – and how they feel about your company.

Learn what they told us in our Improving the small business customer experience webcast originally recorded on August 16th, where you’ll learn more about these topics.

In peers we trust

When asked to rate their trust in different institutions, 57% of SBOs rated “other small businesses” highly, followed by search engines (34%), the medical system (32%) and not-for-profits (31%). 22% trust large businesses. Least trusted? You guessed it: the U.S. Congress, at 16%.

When asked which industries SBOs trust, 63% choose their CPA, followed by overnight package delivery companies (54%) and office supply stores (53%). Within financial services, 50% trust local / community banks, followed by credit unions (48%), national / regional banks (33%) and credit card companies (31%). Least trusted? Alternative lenders, at 18%.

Banks: awareness vs. trust

Among leading banks, SBOs are most aware of Chase (55%), Bank of America (54%), Wells Fargo (51%), Capital One (51%) and Citibank (46%). However, awareness does not necessarily align with trust: Among financial services companies, SBOs are most trusting of American Express (48%), Capital One (47%), New York Community Bank (45%), People’s United Bank (45%) and Chase Bank (44%).

The most important driver of trust is…

… keeping money secure. 77% of SBOs rate that as an important aspect of their bank relationship. After that, they want low rates and fees (73%), quick problem resolution (68%), online banking (64%) and nearby branches (63%).

How well do banks perform?

When asked how well their bank does on those criteria, SBOs rate banks highest on keeping their money secure: 73% say their bank does that well. SBOs are next most satisfied with their banks’ online banking (68%) and location of nearby branches (66%).

The biggest disparity between importance and performance is on “low rates and fees”: 73% of SBOs rate that as important, while only 53% rate their bank highly on that aspect.

Bank satisfaction

73% of SBOs are satisfied with their bank, and only 10% plan to leave their bank in the next five years. Of the “leavers,” 60% could be swayed to remain if their bank offered lower rates and fees, followed by “improve customer service” (44%) and “open a more convenient location” (32%). The “stayers” are most satisfied with their banks’ good customer service (54%), convenient locations (46%) and online banking (45%).

The role of content in building a bank brand

32% of SBOs have read business management advice from their bank. Of those, 93% rate it useful, 92% agree it makes them feel more favorably toward their bank, 91% say it makes them more likely to stay with their bank, and 89% say it makes them more likely to use additional bank offerings. The takeaway? Content works, so promote it to your customers.

The content SBOs want from you

From their bank, SBOs most want content on financial planning and management, law and taxes, operations, and leadership and management. They look to their bank for advice on how to keep more of the revenue they work so hard to bring in.

In terms of formats, SBOs most want an email newsletter from their bank, followed by whitepapers, research reports, analyst reports and articles.

Want all the details

Watch our webcast Improving the small business customer experience.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.