What are small businesses looking for in a business bank? Collaboration, openness and a smooth working relationship are among their wishes, but unfortunately, those wishes aren’t being answered, according to a recent study from consumer satisfaction research firm J.D. Power and Associates.
The U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study showed that small businesses' overall satisfaction with their banks has dropped to 711 on a 1,000-point scale, down from 718 last year. The survey measured customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience by examining eight factors: product offerings, account manager, facility, account information, problem resolution, credit services, fees and account activities.
According to the study, here’s what small business owners value in a business bank:
- An account manager who understands their business well.
- Open communication with the account manager.
- Easy accessibility to the bank both offline and online.
- Having fees disclosed in advance so there are no surprises.
- A collaborative relationship or partnership with their bank.
- Error-free banking.
While small business owners’ perceptions of the financial stability of their banking institution, their personal financial outlook and the economic outlook have all improved this year compared to 2009, this is the second consecutive year that overall customer satisfaction among small business banking customers has declined.
“Despite a sense of optimism in the industry among small business owners, it appears that their financial institutions are failing to keep up with their expectations,” Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power, said in announcing the results.
As a result of their less-than-stellar customer service experiences, small businesses are more willing to switch banks. Only 19 percent said they "definitely will" stay with their current bank, down from 34 percent in 2008.
“Banks that are able to deliver on key practices and partner with their small business customers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves,” said Beird. He theorized that one reason for the dissatisfaction is that small businesses have fewer sources of capital available than do big companies, and so must rely more heavily on their banks.
The survey of more than 6,000 small business owners also rated specific banks’ customer service. Overall, big banks fared worse than smaller regional banks in the survey. You can download the full survey results at the J.D. Power website.