- Small-business customers are happier with their banking experience because of more widespread use of mobile apps, research firm J.D. Power said in a report issued Thursday. The average customer satisfaction rose 20 points from last year's survey to 820 on a 1,000-point scale.
- J.D. Power ranked banks by region. TD Bank scored highest in the South, with 854 points. Huntington won in the Midwest (852). Capital One ranked best in the Northeast (850). And JPMorgan Chase scored highest in the West (831) for the seventh straight year. Chase ranked second in every region outside the West in the survey.
- The measure of small businesses' trust in banks also improved to 814, from 785 in 2018, with 44% of the survey's respondents saying their bank appreciated their business, compared with 37% in 2018.
Bob Neuhaus, vice president of J.D. Power Banking Intelligence, said the survey's results show a convergence of two factors:
Small-business customers who don't have access to an account manager are turning to mobile to meet their needs.
Banks are investing in more mobile features.
"One of the big challenges in small-business banking has been not having enough account management resources to give the kind of attention to customers they desire; the banks are spread thin," Neuhaus told American Banker.
About 61% of small-business customers use their bank's mobile app, according to the survey, compared with 53% in 2018.
Additionally, customers who use mobile banking showed higher levels of satisfaction than those who don't. Among small-business customers who have used their bank's mobile app, 67% say they "definitely will" reuse their bank for their next business banking product or service, compared with 53% among non-mobile users. Overall satisfaction among mobile users is 43 points higher, on average (837), than among non-users (794).
"Bank investments in mobile offerings are starting to pay off in the form of higher satisfaction scores as a critical mass of small business customers adopts the technology," Neuhaus said in a press release. "This has been a major challenge for banks for many years as they've tried to balance the high-touch customer service needs of the small business banking segment with the high cost of providing hands-on account management."
Nearly 8,300 small-business owners who use business banking services were surveyed in June and August. The scoring index is based on how participants answered questions on their bank's responsiveness, mobile banking features, user experience and the level of trust banks cultivated through interactions.
Banks' mobile offerings for small businesses have often developed more slowly than those for retailers. But the 61% mobile adoption rate for small businesses has surpassed retail banking's 53%, the survey indicated. That could be a credit to enhancements on banks' platforms.
JPMorgan Chase, for example, added a new feature so that small-business owners can directly contact their bankers within its app. It also upgraded QuickPay with Zelle for business customers and allowed small-business owners to switch between business and personal accounts.
"At Chase, many of our business customers also have their personal accounts with us, so we want them to be able to manage all their accounts in one place," John McCourt, the head of client relationships for Chase business banking, told American Banker.
But survey participants indicated they would switch to another provider to get better access to credit and more enhanced online tools.