While banks are competing more aggressively for new accounts, small and medium businesses, SME’s, are less than enthusiastic about the service they receive. Banks have been forced to look at their own margins as they introduce new products to attract new customers but the focus is perceived by customers to be more about increasing the bank’s profit than providing good customer service.
Whereas banks promote themselves to their retail customers, SME’s feel taken for granted as poor service and tight lending policies continue to dog a sector being squeezed by the tough economic times. The sector felt that retail customers were offered better value when it came to new products, service and interest rates.
Research shows that SME’s were reluctant to switch banks because of the difficulty in doing so. In considering whether to change, 17% would not wait more than one hour for the transfer to take place, and only 3% would consider a delay of a week as satisfactory.
The Aldermore Building Society recently announced a series of new initiatives designed to improve their service to SME’s. A new account enables businesses to access up to 25% of their proven capital and that new accounts can be set up on the web in no more than 15 minutes and earn interest straight away.
More than 50% were attracted by a competitive interest rate when considering whether to change to another bank. A smaller number, 33% needed simplicity in setting up a new account and less than 30% needed an account they could operate totally online.
The research shows that better interest rates from banks and easier ways to conduct their business would see more SME’s consider changing to a different bank.