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Small Business Digital Engagement: How to Outcompete

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14 September 2022

Reaching New Horizons

Abstract

The small business digital engagement model is rapidly expanding from one-dimensional self-service to a prism of value-added services, guidance, and advice. Ease of self-service has become table stakes, while responding to higher level needs such as better financial decisions and efficient operations is where the competitive game is on.

Over the past decade, digital banking was equated with self-service, which was logical given the need to improve small business banking economics and customer experience. Self-service, however, has been tapped out as a competitive differentiator. At the same time, small businesses’ financial tasks remain manual-intensive, scattered across paper and multiple applications. Owners are often challenged to delegate tasks. In other words, there remains a distinct gap between banks’ offerings and small business needs. Celent expects vanguard banks and their tech providers to shift into a higher competitive gear and push their tech envelopes to bridge the gap. In the process, they will reach new customer engagement horizons.

Figure: Reaching New Engagement Horizons

This report begins with a call to action, the business case to invest in reaching the next horizon. We then discuss how to reimagine customer engagement and reach new engagement horizons. We begin by examining how to make the basics easy, then how to enable efficient journeys, and ultimately how to deliver intelligent engagement.