Digital banking for business: How connectivity improves customer experience

Digital connectivity for business banking can enhance the customer experience and differentiate business among competition by leveraging technology. Nina Hanselmann paints a digital picture of faster payments, improved working capital and enhanced customer experience.  

By: Nina Hanselmann, Vice President and Working Capital Consultant, U.S. Bank

Tags: Innovation, Faster payments, Same day ACH, Real-time payments
Published: July 27, 2021

Connectivity … it seems easy.

In our personal lives, having a smart phone means we’re connected with any number of businesses and banks. You can use your phone for literally anything. Buy groceries, pizza orders, transportation, paying bills or friends and family. The expectation for simple and easy has become a way of living, and that is very much flowing over into our business lives. We’ve come to expect it from our vendors and stakeholders and, of course, that’s what you should expect from your banking partners.

As experience tells us about business and technology, when it comes to implementation of some type of application and new connection, it’s often been the most complicated and time-consuming part of bringing on a new “solution.” We’ve even passed the point where you mention implementation, and everyone just goes … ugh. And now it’s like we’re looking to solve for problems within the solutions themselves.

 

The pandemic made me a better banker

One good thing about the past year has been the absence of travel time. I can connect with my colleagues and customers back-to-back, any time or day without needing a long commute or schlep through the airport, taxi to a hotel, conference center – you name it and I’ll tell you how much time it takes away from my productivity. And while I’m still very excited to begin meeting in-person again, the new digital connections I’ve enjoyed (without travel lag or delay) afforded me a lot of growth, both personally and professionally.

And I’m not just talking about learning to bake bread; I’m talking about a digital bridge connecting me with my business friends.

I’ve been able to digitally connect with more customers and partners than ever, hearing diverse stories about how we’ve all navigated the truly unexpected, and the lessons we’ve learned to take forward. With customers, the digital relationship means I have more time to dedicate to what I love: listening to what their needs are – like, really listening. That deep listening has now transformed into a dialogue about not only what the “digital relationship” means for business, but the best way to establish that connection so our clients can focus on building exciting new digital relationships with their customers. 

I realize these mini use-cases don’t tell the full story but, honestly, the possibilities are endless. And what intrigues me is that the digital journey is just beginning.

Better business with digital banking connectivity

As the result of those continuing conversations (and some really cool-but-friendly new tech innovation) I can promise you: simple, easy ways to connect with U.S. Bank has become our focus.

So, what might that mean for your business? I sometimes use these little vignettes based on real-life examples I hear from clients seeking “better” digital connectivity with their banks -- humor me for a moment.

 

1. Real-time payments, faster growth

An application-based contract bidding service for home improvement projects is seeking to grow, but their current A/R process delays receiving payments and data by several days. With this much unapplied cash, the business has trouble moving enough money fast enough to acquire the services they’ll need to grow. After speaking with their banking partner, the company is able to solve for the delay by leveraging the benefits of an application programming interface (API) for Real-time payments and invoicing. With faster money movement and processing in-place, the company aligns working capital management with growth strategy, resulting in more homeowners connected with more contractors and, perhaps, a competitive advantage in a cut-throat market.

 

2. Funded fleets for discounted operations

We’ve all seen the fuel prices at truck stops; the ones that show discounts for cash over credit, that make me wish I had a discount for cash. There are some very real savings there, especially when you’re filling up 100 gallons at a time. Right now, the freight companies with the best banking relationships – meaning the ones who can push funds onto fleet debit cards for their drivers any time, any day -- are the ones capturing those discounts. And leaving their competition in the rearview mirror.

 

3. ‘Invisible’ remittance for strike-now liquidity  

A large company strikes an impressive deal with a vendor for recurring service deliveries at an unheard-of discount, with the option to renew with no increase so long as each partner meets their terms. The only catch: it’s a cash deal. By partnering with their bank’s innovation team to leverage artificial intelligence to optimize receivables (with virtually zero exceptions), the company can apply cash and rapidly increase liquidity. When the deal goes through, they’re able to pass along the savings in operating expenses to customers amounting to an unprecedented Q4 sales performance. Which, in this fictional case, just as well may have peaked right around the day after Thanksgiving. 

 

Read More: Banking connectivity for the improved customer experience of the future

 

I realize these mini use-cases don’t tell the full story but, honestly, the possibilities are endless. And what intrigues me is that the digital journey is just beginning.  Connectivity means we’ll continue to innovate together.

In fact, that's exactly what my team is focused on right now. Check out our recent webinar on connectivity to learn more. 

I’m looking forward to connecting with you.