How Fintechs Can Tap Into AI to Serve the Booming SMB Market

Written by Amy Wallace on Oct 7, 2022
fintechs and SMBs

The SMB (small and medium-sized business) market is growing – in 2021, the number of small businesses in the US hit 32.5 million, making up nearly all (99.9%) of businesses in the country.

In this digital-first environment, the needs of SMB owners will – and have already started – to shift. That is, as this market flourishes, it is increasingly demanding more digital products and services as it migrates away from strictly brick-and-mortar organizations to digital businesses. A recent report from Mastercard revealed that within the past two years, 80% of small business owners have started using digital channels for loans, while 81% indicated that they need a loan that is tailored to the specific needs of their business.

By leveraging AI for CX, fintech companies can boost the capacities of their own support teams to provide a seamless experience to SMBs, who, in turn, can provide excellent support to their own customers. Sound a bit convoluted? We’ll break down how this cycle of productivity works.

On a similar topic, learn more about how AI can also help fintech companies service gig economy players – both its workers and the customers they serve!

AI + Fintech Companies = The Ultimate CX for SMBs and their Customers

Help SMBs scale, with immediate support

As owners of these businesses adapt to the new realities of today, inflation, along with funding, are cited as top pain points. Plus, when it’s concerning finances, the stakes are higher, and in the pandemic era, some SMB owners have even needed to tap into their own funds to help their businesses stay afloat. Compounded with this, the business landscape is moving fast, and these business owners need to also move quickly in order to stay on top of changing circumstances and prepare themselves for what’s coming. Owners of SMBs (think, an owner of a neighborhood bar who is struggling to keep up with increasing costs and sourcing workers), need technologies and service providers that are equally as fast and can offer support with simplicity and ease, which is where fintechs enter the picture.

This is why providing immediate and responsive support is vital, as it concerns questions regarding expense management, payment initiations, invoicing, and more. AI-powered virtual assistants can automate common and repeatable queries, such as requests to change passwords, link accounts, and conduct transactions, at speed.

Cater to different groups…

Outlining key groups of SMB owners, Mastercard’s report points out that “unique mindsets drive unique needs.” For instance, ‘established optimizers’ are more established businesses that are satisfied with their financial tools but open to new tools to optimize in other ways, while ‘digital-first startups’ are those who rely solely on online-only banks and social media. For fintech companies, it becomes critical to bear these differences in mind, meet customers where they are, and offer a great customer experience across channels – not only email and not only chat, but a combination. While offering support across these channels is critical, it is also important to create a cohesive, synchronized journey as a customer moves between channels.

…with a personalized touch

With AI taking care of the repetitive queries, this significantly frees up agents to concentrate on more complex tasks that require a human touch. For instance, perhaps an established ‘mom and pop’ shop is struggling to stay afloat in the digital era. In such a case, fintechs can take steps to provide an extra level of care, such as helping them make the transition to and navigate an online payments platform that may seem foreign to them. Plus, owners of SMBs take pride in knowing their customers and offering personalized touches wherever possible, whether this involves having their go-to coffee order ready when a regular walks in each morning, or informing a customer when their favorite brand releases a new collection of fall clothing. How can your fintech company provide the same level of personalized service that they value?

With back-end integrations into a company’s CRM, advanced chatbots can tailor the interactions based on customer profiles and behavior, showing that it comprehends both past interactions as well as customer preferences. For example, noting that a customer had asked about applying for a loan in a past inquiry, the virtual assistant can incorporate this level of personalization into the experience, thus responding on an individual level, and providing more meaningful interactions. Based on previous transactions, it might recommend a special bank account that might be better for one’s specific needs and interests as a SMB owner.

AI, fintechs and SMBS

A Two-Way Street: Enhancing the CX for Fintechs and SMB owners

SMBs today face some challenges, and the nature of the landscape today is forcing many to reimagine their operations and business structures. Yet despite these challenges, many of these business owners remain optimistic and prepared to grow. As these businesses scale, when it comes to their finances, they are looking for financial solutions that offer expertise, speed, simplicity and ease, and perhaps most importantly, a personal touch. By leveraging AI-powered solutions for customer service, fintech companies can provide SMB owners with robust customer support, and the level of personalization that they – and their customers – value.