UX Matters for Business Users Too
In running a couple of companies, I've noticed that banks often pay more attention to user experience (UX) with their consumer customers than they do with the businesses that sign their proverbial paycheck. How does that make sense, considering how much more willing businesses are to pay fees and use the higher-value services that incur them? From payments and transfers to guarding against insider or outsider fraud, businesses more readily apply a quick-and-dirty ROI calculation to areas of added value, which means that they are willing to pay...assuming the experience is good. Consumers are more tight-fisted, possibly because they still suffer a hangover from over-imbibing the banker's version of 'free beer'–free checking–but I digress. My point is that the financial services industry often pays more attention to creating a great user experience for those who could be much less likely to pay for it, and this needs to stop.
Small businesses often represent the greatest mismatch between need, opportunity and willingness to pay, which is where banks in particular must ensure their UX is ready for problem-solving. The vast majority of "tweener" companies–those with employees numbering more than a few but not yet in the triple digits–are often the most financial needy. Tweeners' ongoing shifts in revenue, cash flow or operations can feel like they are of seismic proportion, in turn causing CEOs to lean more heavily on their bank for services related to financing, insurance, payments, security, and more. In larger corporations, someone emails a co-worker and tells them to solve the financial problem, yet in fledgling companies CEOs are more likely to directly rely directly on their banker. That's where a world-class UX can make all the difference.
Banks who offer their SMB customers a great digital experience are less likely to be caught in a price-driven decision and more likely to be viewed as problem-solvers. With SMB executives more likely to be performing a broad number of functions and interacting with people outside the organization, a great mobile-first and online experience must anticipate what people want, related to both what they're doing right now and the greater context. Digitally-native executives will increasingly expect screen layouts and navigation to be on par with the other apps they use, such as those for maps, music or personal finance, which compounds the need for a great experience with 'tweeter business customers.
As the smallest businesses grow, UX takes on the greatest meaning–and especially because one financial provider may be increasingly compared to another based on how apps, screens and specific digital functions work to solve practical problems. At my prior company we went through three different commercial banks and four different payment processors as we kept increasing in size. At one point or another, some growth-related change simply forced us to move from one bank to another, and quite often a world-class design would have allowed us to stay with our current provider. I wouldn't say that it's as hard for a small business to change banks as it is for a bank to change core providers, but let's just say it's not trivial either!
I'm MCing a webinar about creating the next generation of business banking UX for ACI Worldwide on June 22nd at 10PT/1ET. I'll be presenting research on how UX drives adoption, and how a better digital experience can lead to positive outcomes for all parties. ACI will follow with a preview on what's coming in their business banking UX. Like to join? Consider yourself invited, and please click here to register