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Customer Management in SME Banking

A Best-in-Class Guide

Customer Management in SME Banking Guide aims to share and disseminate critical information for managing the SME client relationship, allowing banks that already serve the SME sector to move beyond lending to better capture the SME Banking opportunity. Customer management is a broad concept that essentially covers: understanding customer needs; matching customer needs to the best offers in terms of price, product, service level, and delivery channel; and effectively managing the critical moments during the customer life cycle.

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IFC’s experience shows that most of the banks in emerging markets servicing the SME segment are not fully capturing the SME opportunity due in part to a lack of the necessary capabilities to manage the SME customer. Better customer management has been shown to directly affect the profitability of banking institutions. This might involve improving segmentation and acquisition, actively cross-selling and up-selling, identifying and retaining SME clients, or improving collection practices.

Financial services providers, who may find this Guide particularly helpful in expanding their SME operations and better tailoring their products and services, include commercial banks and other interested institutions in the SME financial services space. Other organizations interested in SME access to finance issues, such as research institutions, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), may also benefit from the content of this publication.

The Best in Class Guide for Customer Management in SME Banking draws widely from various bank-specific experiences, existing research and literature, and interviews with SME banking experts. It is not designed to be prescriptive and does not advocate for a single approach to customer management in SME banking. Rather, the Guide seeks to support financial services providers in making informed choices by sharing the challenges, opportunities, and effective practices in customer management for SME banking from across the globe.