Since 1968, J.D. Power and Associates has conducted thousands of independent and unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality and buyer behavior. It has rated and ranked a range of products and companies, from cars and boats to pharmacies and moving companies.
Many consumers consider the company an authority. They use products or services that rank highly. Business owners get good information, too. A survey of particular interest to business owners is the small-business banking study.
The J.D. Power and Associates Small-Business Banking-Satisfaction Study
The Small-Business Banking-Satisfaction Study began in 2005. The most recent survey results are based on 7,226 responses from financial decision makers at businesses with annual revenues between $100,000 and $10 million.
The company questions respondents about their degree of satisfaction with specific areas of their banking relationship. These are known as “ratings factors.” A 1,000-point scale weighs and adds the factors and scores to produce the “overall satisfaction” rating of each bank. The company then ranks the banks, based on the total number of points. It also provides ranking per rating factor.
Here are the rating factors the survey considers.
Respondents rate how quickly transactions are completed, how courteous and knowledgeable employees are at their local branch and the scope of services available to them as small-business customers.
Account Initiation / Product Offerings
Respondents rate how easy it was to open an account, give their opinion on the variety of quality banking products available to them and evaluate the competitiveness of the interest rates being offered.
Respondents rate the intelligibility of account information, the timeliness of the statements and the level of effort it takes to access account information.
Respondents rate how the bank managed their relationship. It measures this by asking respondents how well-informed they felt regarding new products available at their bank and how responsive their bank is to questions or requests for information. They also rate how willing and able is the customer account representative is to spend understanding the respondent’s needs and designing solutions to meet those needs.
Respondents rate the availability of credit, the timeliness of the approval for funds, the timeliness of disbursement of funds after approval and the competitiveness of interest rates.
Respondents rate the performance of the bank where they conduct business. This included evaluating the hours of operation, number of branches available and the overall ease of access.
Respondents rate fees paid.
Respondents rate how effectively the bank addressed a recent problem.
Insights on what leads to small business banking satisfaction
The key factors that lead to the highest level of customer satisfaction among small businesses are:
- Assignment of an account manager to all small-business customers, regardless of size
- Completion of a needs assessment to determine the best way to serve the customer
- Proactive communications on the part of account managers regularly throughout the year
- Resolving problems quickly for clients
- Careful and close management of the credit-approval process.
A good lesson to take away from this is that the study shows a relationship between customer satisfaction and revenues generated. It indicates that "highly satisfied" customers generated 20 percent more revenues than “less satisfied customers.”
How did your bank perform?
The complete results are available here in an interactive chart that allows you to sort by overall satisfaction or specific rating factors. Even if your bank is not on the list, make your own evaluation using the ratings factors listed above.
Mike Periu is the founder of EcoFin Media, an independent producer of financial, economic and entrepreneurial content for television, radio, print and the internet. Over the past 10 years, he has started three companies and advised more than 50 companies on financial strategies including fundraising. Mike also hosts regular small-business webinars on a range of topics relevant to business owners.