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Banks urged to look to technology solutions to better serve micro businesses


A new white paper reveals micro businesses1 are changing how they interact with financial services organisations because of their highly mobile nature and generational shift from Baby Boomer to more technology savvy Generation X and Y.

The report’s author, Telstra Enterprise and Government General Manager for Industry Development, Mr Rocky Scopelliti said the white paper, Servicing Micro Businesses – What Financial Institutions Need to Know, highlighted how communications technology could assist financial services organisations improve the customer satisfaction offered to micro businesses.

“Compared with other enterprises, Australian micro businesses are the most mobile. About two-thirds of their employees work from multiple locations, with this figure set to reach nearly three-quarters2 by 2012.

“While micro businesses are the most mobile they still rely heavily on branch visits, phone banking and financial advisers for their banking needs.

“With the explosion in smartphones, laptops and the growth in new devices in the home, now is the time for the financial services sector to assess new and emerging technologies to help them attract, retain and cross sell to micro business customers,” Mr Scopelliti said.

The white paper has identified three technology experience concepts underpinned by technologies such as remote working, unified communications, conferencing, collaboration and contact centre analytics, to help financial services organisations better support Australian micro businesses:

1. Experts Anywhere – provide much greater access to expertise within the financial services provider to resolve problems quickly, efficiently and on the spot irrespective of whether the customer communicates via voice, email, video or text.
2. My Branch Anywhere – include the branch team to optimise the relationship as an integral part of the contact management process.
3. The Personalised Contact Centre – make the contact centre experience personalised through predictive and behavioural analytics including personalised interactive voice response (IVR) and other speech and text analytics enablers.

Mark McCrindle, social researcher and principal at McCrindle Research, also believed that financial institutions could provide better customer service experiences by studying the changing profile of micro businesses.

“With 60 per cent of micro business owners either pre boomers and baby boomers, all of whom are set to retire over the next decade, financial service organisations need to better understand the intergenerational changes taking place in the next few years to better engage this business segment.

“This will be the biggest leadership succession in Australia’s history, with the leadership mantle passing to Gen X and Gen Y. With these two generations being more tech-savvy and reliant on mobile technology than the current generation of micros business owners, financial institutions will need to have a broader, more in-depth understanding of their needs if they want to retain and capture their business,” Mr McCrindle said.

Telstra is working with financial services organisations to show how these concepts can become a reality, through existing technologies including:

* Telstra Next IP™ and Next G™ core IP networks
* Enterprise Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) platforms
* Enterprise mobility solutions
* IP-based customer contact platforms
* Predictive and behavioural analytics
* Contact quality management systems

A full copy of the Servicing Micro Businesses white paper can be found here online

1 Defined as having between one and five employees, number around 600,000 and employ 15 per cent of the workforce.
2 Enterprise Mobile User Forecast: Mobile “Wannabes” Are the Fastest Growing Segment, Forrester, October 2008.


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