Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporate businesses are adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost overnight, we’ve seen a seismic shift from the high street to online banking and other financial and professional services. There have also been significant changes for bank employees, with many now working from home.
At first glance, digital-only banks may seem better prepared for this change. However, traditional banks often have strong and trusted brand reputations. This familiarity can be a big advantage at a time when SMEs are seeking reassurance and stability. On top of that, traditional banks have significantly larger resources on hand.
As more business customers are switching to digital channels to interact with their banks, the future of SME customer acquisition will be decided in the online space. Banks are quickly realising that to remain competitive, they must offer full-service digital banking and be able to onboard customers anytime and anywhere via any device. This will improve the customer experience and lifetime value, while boosting staff productivity.
Taking a page from the retail marketing handbook, proactive banks are redefining their approach to SME customer onboarding. To do this, they are looking for ways to ease complexities and minimise pain points, such as paperwork and manual data entry, during the application process.
The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the redesign of the banking customer experience. Traditionally, opening an account meant face-to-face meetings and signing paper documents. That is no longer an option. Now, SME customers are spending much more time online and, more than ever before, they need their bank’s support to manage their finances and ease financial pressures. Banks need a full range of digital tools to acquire and care for all their SME customers; not just those who are used to digital banking but also those who would previously have preferred to use a branch.
Attracting new SME customers is neither cheap nor easy. Banks need to find new ways to reach them, draw them in and sell relevant new products and services. Customer onboarding sets the tone for the ongoing relationship banks have with their customers. Consequently, it’s essential to get the first part of this journey right and avoid wasting significant customer acquisition costs.
Many SME customers now also want to bank digitally without going to a branch. They want the experience to be fast and flexible with no frustrating delays. Even if they choose to use different channels, they don’t want to answer the same questions multiple times – they just want to start banking as quickly and as simply as possible.
Enpara.com, Turkey’s first purely digital bank, is a good example of digital customer onboarding. Powered by QNB Finansabank, Enpara.com was launched in 2012 in response to customer demand for rich and meaningful digital and mobile experiences. The bank deployed VeriPark’s VeriChannel solution to provide customers with a truly omnichannel experience starting with the onboarding process and it has since been expanding its offering steadily. After adding a full range of consumer products, the bank launched SME corporate banking services in 2016. The bank’s digital onboarding process contributed to rapid customer growth when it launched.
Once SMEs become a customer of Enpara.com, they can use online or mobile banking anytime they want. They can also reach out to a customer representative on the phone in just 30 seconds when they need any kind of support for their banking transactions and they even earn interest while paying salaries to their employees. Enpara.com proves that a fully digital bank, with no physical branches, can build rewarding relationships with customers.
As the Enpara.com example shows, offering a smooth and seamless onboarding process is a critical factor in helping banks to successfully attract and retain customers. VeriPark’s Digital SME and Corporate Client Onboarding Solution gives banks the omnichannel capabilities they need to facilitate digital SME customer onboarding. Customers can choose mobile and/or online banking channels and enjoy a frictionless and engaging end-to-end onboarding journey. Banks can onboard customers easily, cost-effectively and securely.
Selim Hasan is sales director at VeriPark UK
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.