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How to build loyalty among SME customers in the new era of digital banking

Small businesses
Banks
Behaviour change

6.9.2022

 mins

By 

Caroline Hawkins

Small businesses
Banks
Behaviour change
How to build loyalty among SME customers in the new era of digital banking

6.9.2022

 mins

By 

Caroline Hawkins

With recent demand around sustainability and the increasingly important role businesses have to play in a low carbon future, there is a significant opportunity for banks to lead the change. Small business banks, in particular, are ideally positioned to take on the role of champion in supporting businesses to lower their carbon footprint.

In a highly competitive market in which it’s hard to differentiate, banks cannot ignore the opportunity to establish themselves as a trusted partner for conscious consumers and  small business owners looking for greater transparency around their spending footprint. Understanding the climate impact of your spend is shifting from being ‘good to know’ to something that customers demand. 

In the face of increasing urgency for climate action, coupled with the United States Government’s commitment to taking action against climate change in its recently signed  Inflation Reduction Act has put pressure on businesses to take action on their climate commitments.

The opportunity for small business banks

A recent survey by the SME Climate Hub highlighted the importance of improved planning and simplified action among small businesses who were committed to reducing their emissions, with 8 out of 10 small business participants considering reducing emissions “a high priority,” but only 60% having a sustainability strategy in place. The main blocker for small businesses when it comes to taking action, was not knowing where or how to start. 

Small businesses have repeatedly shown that they’re open to sharing data to enable personalised, simplified experiences in their operations, and banks that capitalise on this trend are able and will increasingly be able to provide value-added services that inspire long-term loyalty among small business customers and enable differentiation when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. 

Cogo helps banks worldwide to turn customer data into personalised and engaging digital experiences, including nudging customers and businesses to understand, reduce and offset their carbon footprint - all within an existing digital experience.

What real impact looks like

Using engagement figures from Cogo's consumer-facing app which is used by hundreds of thousands of users in the UK, it's estimated that as many as 74% of each bank's users explore their carbon footprint and on average, commit to taking two climate-friendly actions to help reduce their climate footprint. Many of these are 'new' or outside of what they usually commit to. 

I​​nsights from NatWest’s mobile app pilot showed the average user saved approximately 11 kg of CO2 emissions per month by committing to behavioural changes that used less carbon – such as composting, reducing meat consumption, or switching utilities providers. If this behaviour was replicated across NatWest’s 8 million customers who use the mobile app, it would save more than 1 billion kg of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to planting 17 million trees.

Banks including NatWest (one of the UK’s top 5) and Commonwealth Bank (Australia’s largest) both use Cogo within their consumer banking app to enable customers to see the CO2 emissions associated with their daily spending. NatWest's customers are provided with hints and tips on how to go greener and resources to help them along their journey; while CommBank users are offered the option to offset their emissions.

By giving customers access to tools and technology that helps them easily and accurately measure their footprint and take proactive steps to reduce it is a huge untapped resource for small business banks.

In the case of business sustainability, early mover advantage is very much an opportunity ready and waiting. Imagine if your bank offered a solution? 

Be On The Right Side Of History.
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