For many small-business owners, community financial institutions offer a personalized loan experience, built on mutual trust. In fact, in a recent CSI survey, 53% of the 167 banking executives who responded stated that they anticipate growth in small-business loans in 2017.
But despite the fact that small-business owners remain a significant percentage of their customer base, some banks have yet to offer these customers the same mobile experience as their retail counterparts. And as the digital age continues to drive heightened expectations of technology, financial institutions must acknowledge that a mobile experience specifically tied to their business customers is becoming less of a perk and more of a necessity.
Banks must tailor a seamless mobile experience to the intricacies of running a business. This means applying the same functionality and accessibility of a retail mobile banking app with the security and administrative capabilities necessary to run ACH/wire transfers and other business authorizations. Here are the top 4 elements of a seamless business banking app:
1. Business Functionality
Business owners have unique needs that transcend those of the retail banking consumer. Knowing this, financial institutions looking to offer relevant business banking solutions must understand the intricacies of these needs and capitalize on them. A modernized business app should access the same functions that are available on an online portal, including:
- Multi-Check Deposit Capture: Business owners can view and approve multiple checks from the convenience of their mobile devices.
2. Mobile Functionality
Although the business elements listed above are indeed important, a mobile business app cannot simply be a replica of the online offering. Certain mobile functions should be implemented as well, including:
- Push Notifications: Mobile users love push notifications because they grant immediate access to an internal page. Business owners will benefit from a mobile experience that provides this. For example, ACH transfer notifications that allow the user to go straight to the page, bypassing the menu option, let the business owner authorize a transaction or make a scheduled transfer with literally a swipe and a tap.
- Simple Design/Ease of Use: There is nothing quite as obnoxious as an app that is filled with clutter. Though it might be tempting to load up on the menu options, this technique can often backfire, leading to user frustration. Financial institutions should apply a design that provides an optimized, clean feel.
- Regular Updates: As technology evolves, apps must be updated with increased offerings without the costly development of a separate application.
A business banking app can have all the functionality in the world, but if it lacks the necessary security protocols to keep a business customer’s information safe, that functionality is useless. A mobile business app’s main objective should be giving business owners the convenience of a mobile experience with the security that can be found on an online portal, including:
- Sub-User Control: Giving business owners a secure method for assigning privileges to trusted sub-users allows a necessary system of accountability and simplifies the approval process.
- Auto-Detecting Anomalies: Both banks and their business customers benefit from software that regularly screens for possible fraud and compiles daily reports. No cybersecurity protection system is perfect, but detecting fraud in the early stages will minimize damage.
- Risk Management: No matter the security offerings, the financial institution must maintain direct control over all users on an account, allowing for optimal control of risk.
Implementing the above-mentioned functionality of a business mobile experience must not overshadow the need for a consistent customer experience. Providing a universal experience across all channels (including mobile) is the cornerstone of the omnichannel banking concept. This unified front is seeded by integrating any mobile experience with:
- The Core Platform: From the bank’s perspective, integrating a business mobile app into its core banking system borders on necessity. The days of having a mobile app with one vendor and Internet banking with another are decreasingly common, as more banks aim for the omnichannel experience by integrating their offerings with their core platform.
- Single Admin Portal: Bank employees can manage their customer base from one central system that drives all interactions and processes all data.
Using these four elements as a guide, financial institutions can formulate a relevant, innovative and fluid mobile experience for their business customers, thereby providing them the operational capabilities they need to grow their businesses.
Jonathan Ferguson is the Business Banking Product Manager for CSI.