There is an opportunity for Belgian banks to redefine their relationship with SMEs. They need to come up with digital solutions that not only meet their evolving needs today, but that also help build a long-term profitable partnership. In Belgium, 29% of SMEs still consider banks as the primary source of financing when they need money for their business (against 45% at international level). But banks need to act fast as 40% of Belgian SMEs declare that they are likely to consider switching main financial provider, with 28% considering switching to a Fintech and 32% to a traditional bank.
One explanation of this propensity to switch can be found in the lack of relationship, as 17% of Belgian SMEs declare not having a relationship at all with their primary financial service provider (against 7% at international level) and only 7% mention they have a strong one (against 18% at international level).
First and foremost, the basic services need to be of the highest quality. This goes through:
- leading-edge digital marketing and engagement strategies;
- a world-class and frictionless customer experience during onboarding;
- effective product onboarding that uses data to adapt product offer and to allow for rapid decision-making processes; and
- integrated and seamless relationship management underpinned by state-of-the-art CRM.
Our research shows that satisfaction levels are solid, but they are arguably coming from a low expectation base, where the similarities between banks are seen to be greater than the differences.
Delivering high-quality basic services requires the bank to ensure frictionless customer journey, supported by data analytics and CRM that allow proactive contacts with SMEs. These techniques must also turn the relationship manager into a central player to elevate the relationship.