SMBs are the Backbone to the Global Economy
Release Date: 03/15/2020
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In this podcast, we sit down with Scott Murison, Co-Owner of Wild Rock Outfitters, located in Ontario, Canada and we discuss how FI’s should consider the importance of enabling small and medium businesses to focus on their own customers by simplifying and streamlining banking – especially around cash operations - to deepen their relationships with small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Wildrock Outfitters website: https://wildrock.net
Diebold Nixdorf Website: www.dieboldnixdorf.com
Scott Murison LInkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-murison-413205a/
Scott Anderson: Hello again, this is Scott Anderson your host for this episode of COMMERCE NOW. The relationship between small and medium businesses and financial institutions should not be underestimated. Small and medium businesses or SMBs are the backbone of modern economies and their banks are a critical [00:00:30] partner in their success. In the United States 99.9% of companies are classified as small by the U.S. small business administration. In Europe the situation is similar, small and midsize companies make up 99% of all businesses. Two thirds of the workforce belong to the SMB category. However, from the small business perspective it's not at all about what they contribute to the FIs bottom line it's about being part of their community and focused on connecting with their local customers.
Scott Anderson: Today, I am onsite at Wild [00:01:00] Rock Outfitters located in Ontario, Canada and joined by Scott Murison one of the co owners. And on this episode of Commerce Now we will discuss how FIs should consider the importance of enabling small and medium businesses to focus on their own customers by simplifying and streamlining their banking especially around cash operations to deepen their relationships with small and medium businesses. So welcome to COMMERCE NOW Scott and thank you for hosting me today at Wild Rock Outfitters for this very chat.
Scott Murison: Well, thank you very much for having me. I'm looking forward to it.
Scott Anderson: Excellent. [00:01:30] To give our listeners a little bit of background can you start off and tell us a little bit more about your business?
Scott Murison: Absolutely. We're a retail operation. We've been in business since 1992. We're at 16,000 square feet so in some means that's a large retail operation and other means it's a small retail operation. We deal in the specialty outdoor gear industry which is bicycles, self powered outdoor gear like kayaks, canoes, snowshoes, skis, and we sell a lot of clothing and footwear [00:02:00] as well.
Scott Anderson: Yeah, and I unfortunately have a lot of frequent flyer miles at your store so thank you very much for that. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about how you conduct your banking transactions on a day to day basis.
Scott Murison: Absolutely. So automatic every day at the end of closing we are doing transactions through our debit and credit machines and making deposits that way and at least twice a week if not three times a week we are physically going to a bank to do cash deposits or wire transfers or check deposits.
Scott Anderson: Great. [00:02:30] And I know you're a strong community guy and you strongly support local jobs. We've been discussing in the past how you can have some concerns around how banking automation and automating everything to reduce staff could have some some pain points in the community. I believe financial institutions need to strike a balance but from your perspective Scott if there's ways to release capacity in a branch and automate some of those time consuming cash processes to spend more time for direct interaction and service for you and your business how [00:03:00] would that change your relationship with your local branch?
Scott Murison: I think anything that a bank can do to facilitate our monotonous jobs just cash deposits would be great and if it freed up capacity so that when we do have one off things we need to make a wire transfer. When we have a more technical issue that takes more staff power from ourselves as well as the bank it would be great if that line up wasn't long.
Scott Anderson: Great, great point. So typically when [00:03:30] you're in the branch how long are you spending with a cash transaction?
Scott Murison: It completely depends on the day and it's a bit random and it's not a stressor but it is occasionally an issue. You go out thinking you're going to be 15 minutes to make a deposit and sometimes the lineup is itself 15 minutes long and sometimes it's two minutes and there's no way of guessing before you're actually physically in the bank. And I would say 50% of the time your two minute job takes 50 minutes and the other 50% your two minute job takes two [00:04:00] minutes.
Scott Anderson: So what time of day are you typically hitting the branch to conduct these types of transactions?
Scott Murison: Often just before lunch. So the deposits are gathered in the morning at store opening for cash and then a deposit slip filled out and then walked down to the bank.
Scott Anderson: Okay. And are you getting a cash float to support your tills for the day at the same time or is that a different task that you're doing?
Scott Murison: No, absolutely that would be on the same trip. So we are getting change in the way of coin and small bills in exchange for [00:04:30] larger bills.
Scott Anderson: Interesting.
Speaker 3: Camping line one, that's camping line one.
Scott Murison: See it's a real outfitter store.
Scott Anderson: That's okay. I like the fact that you've got some of that real store background noise it's all good. So when you're making your cash deposits or going into the branch for some of those routine transactions is it typically you or some of the co owners or are you sending other staff members to do this as well?
Scott Murison: It's usually our accountant.
Scott Anderson: Oh, okay.
Scott Murison: Because they are tabulating all the day ends and they're making sure they balance. So you have one of your highest [00:05:00] paid people leaving the building and doing a fairly mundane task but it's just to keep the whole assignment of the job to one person as opposed to splitting it up. But so yes the less time that she were out of the building the better.
Scott Anderson: The better it would be okay. And is there ever a situation where there's other people involved or is it typically always your accountant who's going to do this?
Scott Murison: If she's on vacation or going to be away she'll assign it to somebody else.
Scott Anderson: Okay. So is there any impact with her going midday leaving operation to go into [00:05:30] the branches? Would there be a better time or is there a better way that you think would help her perform these tasks?
Scott Murison: I'm not sure if there's a better time because the things in business happen at random times so it's more the amount of time, the less time at any point during the day that she can be away would be better.
Scott Anderson: Okay, fair enough. So if we were to look at ways that banks could potentially automate some of these simpler transactions both in person and business bankers being able to free up [00:06:00] teller lines and help your accountant get in and out quicker and help them enhance the customer experience is that something that you think would be useful to your business?
Scott Murison: Absolutely, that would be a win win situation. We'd have one of our highest paid employees more often able to do their higher end work as opposed to standing in lines to do more mundane tasks, that would be a win win situation for us.
Scott Anderson: Okay. Is there situations where your accountant then is dealing with some of those more complex transactions and having to speak to somebody versus performing some of those [00:06:30] mundane transactions? Is that typical for your business?
Scott Murison: Absolutely. On a consistent random basis we would have to be dealing with wire transfers to Europe to prepaid hotels for our travel business or things like this that we would require a teller to do for us. And then we'd also have special occasions where we have let's say we're doing a larger buy and we need to talk to somebody about upping our line of credit for a short term. We need to talk to real people, real managers for that and the less time that can take [00:07:00] the better.
Scott Anderson: The better. And is that something where you have a good relationship in your branch where you're recognized when you walk in so a personal banker or a small business banker knows that they can go talk to your staff or is this really hit and miss based on what you're in the branch for?
Scott Murison: Our bank managers know our staff, our accountant and ourselves the owners but the actual tellers for a wire transfer may not know us at all but the larger asks are usually pushed up [00:07:30] further anyway.
Scott Anderson: Okay, fair enough. So if I think about some of the journeys then that your accountant's going on for some of these more routine cash based transactions if there was somebody in the branch who could help guide them through automating some of that and show them the way and perhaps bring them to a self service device like an ATM and then free up those tellers as we've discussed to discuss more detailed or technical transactions is this something that you think your business would be interested in supporting?
Scott Murison: Yeah, absolutely. I don't see why, [00:08:00] it would be great if [inaudible 00:08:01] could give us change for the day for our cash floats. There's no value added by the bank teller doing that, it's not like they do better job of giving us a role of pennies.
Scott Anderson: Fair enough. One of the things that we've been looking at from a solutioning perspective is talking to both customers as well as, in customers I mean by a small and medium business as well as bankers, in saying if there was a way for us to help that automation journey. And perhaps it's where we start in your location [00:08:30] of business and we use online or mobile banking to pre-stage a function, one of those more mundane transactions, where your accountant could set up all the deposit details, itemize what the cash was going to be, and then pre-stage that into a mobile app where instead of presenting a card, waiting in line, entering a pin, perhaps at the counter you could simply go to an ATM and tap that phone or enter that one time code do you think that would help streamline some of that process?
Scott Murison: It could [00:09:00] help. The time savings is not in the actual filling of the form it's in the actual physical weight. You don't know whether you're going to arrive and there's 17 people in front of you or whether there's two and the same could happen in an ATM. So it would depend on.
Scott Anderson: That's a fair point. And I think typically what we're seeing is there's a lot of queuing in the branch because there's an expectation that I can only fulfill that transaction with a teller [00:09:30] but if that were something that a self service device was available that would streamline that process. I guess that asks to beg the question is there coin often in your deposits or is it typically bills that you're exchanging?
Scott Murison: It's typically bills, very little coin that we're depositing. What we are doing is receiving coin for our floats.
Scott Anderson: Okay, that makes sense. Good stuff. How long has your relationship been with your current financial institution?
Scott Murison: Maybe 12 years so far I think.
Scott Anderson: Okay. And do they reach out to you and ask you about how you [00:10:00] perceive your banking in ways that they could potentially improve that?
Scott Murison: Absolutely. They survey us once a year for sure and then they usually have us in for a chat to see what else we might need.
Scott Anderson: Good. Is there any views that you've seen or any ideas that you've heard of or seen within the financial institutions that you deal with that you're saying, "Hey, that's a move in the right direction. It's a balance of making sure that people are there to talk to me but also a good process for automating some of those more mundane tasks."
Scott Murison: No, not from our particular bank managers. They have been more interested [00:10:30] in selling their goods which are loans and line of credits which we have not had the need for so.
Scott Anderson: Okay, fair enough. Scott, given the history of Wild Rock and you guys have been in business for a lot of years and the changing ways in which consumers are actually paying for goods and services can you talk to me a little bit about the changes you've seen in the industry between coming in with more cash heavy payments and then moving more towards those digital or card based payments?
Scott Murison: I mean it's been a huge change [00:11:00] in evolution since 1992. In the 1990s checks, cash and then we had Visa and MasterCard, we didn't even have debit cards back then, were king. And then debit cards came on the scene and that was a real game changer. Suddenly the cash needs went down and the checks went way down and then now in the last five years it's been mobile devices, people paying on their phones, people paying with their watches, people paying obviously with debit cards at a fairly [00:11:30] high level and then a large number of different types of credit cards as well. And then I would say the other thing that's tapped in are there's so many of the gift card operations as well. It's just all of these different digital ways of paying for something at the cash. Each teller has, where it used to be is that cash or check and then it became cash check or credit card, now it's cash check, credit card, debit card, [00:12:00] gift card.
Scott Anderson: Mobile pay.
Scott Murison: It's unbelievable.
Scott Anderson: Interesting. But cash has always had a place in that payment scheme it's just probably reduced in the amount of transactions is that fair to say?
Scott Murison: Absolutely. Yeah no cash is still real, people use it every day and it doesn't seem to follow a demographic. There's 30 year olds who come in and pay for a bike with cash and there's 65 year olds who come in and pay with cash. But the percentage has definitely dropped over the last 20 years but it's still an [00:12:30] important part. And it seems for us it's big purchases sometimes. People, I don't know if they squirrel it away in their mattress or what but they do large purchases using cash.
Scott Anderson: That would go against what most people would think but that's an interesting statistic that you're seeing. Interesting. And how has that changed then how you have to prepare how you serve your customers? Has your bank been there along the way to help you with these more digital payments as they become more and more prevalent or have you [00:13:00] had to find your own way?
Scott Murison: Our particular bank is making cash more and more difficult because they're making it more and more expensive, they're not really interested in dealing with cash. So, in our negotiations we've actually had to negotiate that we actually don't want to pay a cash handling fee, things like that yeah. It's almost more expensive to take cash than it is a debit card.
Scott Anderson: I've seen some of that trend in other geos too where cash has been a premium price to handle [00:13:30] and if you think about it from the financial institution's perspective they're counting it multiple times, etc. So I get it but I also understand the perspective of the small to medium business where margin is pennies and you need to watch those things. So that again comes back to if there was a way to still get the level of service and personalization in your branch but then perhaps price your mundane cash transactions through automation accordingly to help you on that cost side and help you with that speed [00:14:00] side. Is that something that would make sense to you?
Scott Murison: Yeah, absolutely because from the consumer's perspective most consumers expect a cash discount and if cash becomes more expensive it would actually be a cash premium that we'd have to charge and that's not where the consumer's head is at.
Scott Anderson: Absolutely not. I mean most consumers think about, "Hey, if I pay with Visa or MasterCard my merchant is paying a percentage on that," they're not realizing that there's also a percentage on the cash.
Scott Murison: Yes.
Scott Anderson: [00:14:30] Interesting. Yeah, that's a perspective I think most consumers miss and yet the merchants are having to balance things out.
Scott Murison: We're just on the cusp of that.
Scott Anderson: Wow. Well, thank you for sharing that tidbit with me that's really interesting. Well Scott, this was a lot of great information and I hope we have given some clarity on this topic to our listeners today and I think this is a great place to wrap up. So thanks again to Scott and all of our listeners for joining us today. And again, thank you for hosting me here right on premise at Wild Rock. To learn more about topics like these [00:15:00] log on to dieboldnixdorf.com/SMB or click on the link in the podcast show notes. Until next time keep checking back on iTunes or however you listen to our podcasts for new topics on COMMERCE NOW.