Banks face a tough job to lure small businesses from payment fintechs

Banks face a tough job to lure small businesses from payment fintechs


  • May 06 2019, 12:01am EDT

Consumer banking is being redefined by new payment services and challenger banks while Enterprise customers have always received tailored banking services.

Relatively little innovation has happened in the small to medium enterprise segment, however, because SMEs are often seen as too small to offer tailored services to, but too complex and varied for mass-market services.

But there is a road map for SMEs. In his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Clayton Christensen used the phrase “jobs to be done,” to describe a method that can help businesses better understand why their customers use their products.

Chart: Top 6 SMB mobile app moves

Clayton Christensen defines a job as the progress that a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance. To illustrate this, let’s look at a simple example. When a smoker takes a smoke break, he’s meeting a need for nicotine. But he’s also using the cigarette to calm and relax himself. And in a work environment he will also go outside for some social contact and gossip with fellow smokers. So the “job to be done” includes not only the obvious “nicotine fix” but also the not-so-obvious social engagement.

There are a few ways that a jobs-to-be-done analysis can help businesses.

Segmentation. It’s likely that your product is used for a number of different “jobs” by different customers. Understanding what they are will help you better segment your market.

Marketing communications. Marketing messages should be aligned with the “jobs” your customers are trying to achieve.

Innovation. Understanding your customers’ jobs will help you identify other ways in which you can make those jobs even easier for your customers, and also importantly, which steps you should eliminate because they don’t help.

Banks find new relevance and loyalty with SMEs that are fleeing to payment apps and other fintechs by making the jobs those customers use banks for easier.

Entrepreneurs want to grow, or at least sustain, their businesses. This job involves many tasks that don’t involve banks: finding customers, developing a great product or service, etc.

The part of the “grow my business” job that does involve banks is making sure there is sufficient cash available to grow. At a high level, the promise to SMEs, therefore, is to have a relationships that will help grow the business.

That comes down to several subjobs that involve payments, such as making more informed decisions, controlling spending and getting paid on time.

There are emerging payment innovations and strategies, such as card controls and online payment technology and analysis that can help banks and financial institutions reach small businesses better.

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