Owning a small business is not easy. It usually requires the owner to be head greeter, inventor, accountant and marketer as well as chief bottle washer; basically wear a lot of hats to keep the business going. It also requires confidence, not only in themselves, but in the financial institution (FI) they select to keep their money safe and provide guidance on sound financial decisions.
In the US alone, it is estimated that there are 27 million small-business entrepreneurs. That represents a significant opportunity for FIs to offer these merchants money, expertise, convenience and a premium level of personal attention.
We took a survey during our annual international Customer Advisory Board meeting last month, and found that more than 70% of the attendees confirmed their organizations had small and medium business (SMB) strategies in place – however, nearly every attendee revealed that less than 50% of their institution’s SMB transactions were automated, and SMB transactions consumed at least 30% of their teller’s time.
So how can you free up your tellers, while offering small businesses the customer service and personalization they require?
Advanced transactions through full-function self-service units.
So-called “advanced transactions” are a specific set of financial transactions that are usually conducted with a teller. Often that’s because of the need to comply with certain rules and regulations, and/or the requirement for a specific series of events to occur in order for the transaction to be completed. Due to the multiple layers and human intervention, these transactions are usually costly, and sometimes complex.
Branch automation software solutions can help alleviate the burden on tellers, as well as minimize complexity. We’ve found that many of the daily transactions of a small business can be automated by connecting to the teller system (core) and leveraging the functionality already available in the self-service channel. This process can happen behind the scenes via a tablet or video connection with a teller, allowing your SMB clients to have a seamless self-service experience while conducting their transactions. Here are three examples of transaction migration in action:
Bulk cash and check deposits. Most small businesses visit the bank daily to make a deposit – either via the teller or into the night depository. Overnight deposits are not processed until the next day, and do not allow funds to be immediately available. Multi-vendor branch automation software enables your SMB merchants to make bulk deposits conveniently and flexibly at a full-function self-service device, and free up the majority of the funds immediately.
Over-the-limit withdrawals (with multi-denomination bill mix). Small businesses usually require a withdrawal consisting of a specific bill mix, and often this amount is over the self-service withdrawal limit. With our branch automation software and teller assist tool, small-business customers can set up their desired withdrawal at a terminal and the teller can acknowledge and approve the transaction using a tablet either behind the counter or at a remote location. Should the transaction require additional identification – or if it’s declined for some reason –an on-site teller can approach the merchant for a more personal delivery. Either way, this eliminates the need for a teller to conduct the transaction at the counter.
Coin Deposits. Small businesses typically have change in coin format. In order to deposit coins, whether at the night depository or at the teller, merchants need to wrap them in the paper wrappers. Through branch automation, self-service terminals can be set up to receive coin deposits without the paper wrappers, so business owners can simultaneously deposit coins and paper currency.
A tablet interface can offer additional benefits for FIs seeking to deepen their relationships with small-business customers. It allows the teller to not only see the current transaction, but also past transactions and recent online activity including things like loan applications and marketing campaign responses. It arms your tellers with more data and perhaps more nuanced reasons to interact personally with your customers.
Small business is big business. And it will be the little things, such as advancement in automation while balancing human interactions, that will enable select FIs to capitalize on this huge, vital sector of the economy.