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Paper info: The Clarification of SME's Financial Service Needs: Creation of the Base Service Package


The Clarification of SME's Financial Service Needs: Creation of the Base Service Package


Karoliina Lamminen and
Olavi Uusitalo
Tampere University of Technology
Olavi Uusitalo

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.



Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute a large group of firms within the Finnish economy. Because of this the majority of the banks‟ and insurance companies‟ corporate customers are SMEs. Compared to larger enterprises that have their own financial departments within the company, SMEs can be generally considered as less knowledgeable considering financial services. In many cases the entrepreneur alone, who may not have any advanced financial education, are responsible for the financial matters of the company. The motivation for this research comes from the SME‟s time consuming and complex process of acquiring the right financial services. To make it easier for the SMEs to identify their financial service needs and acquire the right services to fit these needs, financial services should be offered in the most comprehensible way possible. The aim of this research is the clarification of SMEs‟ financial services needs. The clarification will be based on theories of solutions, modularity and the base service package.
Sawhney (2006, p.369) determines solutions as “an integrated combinations of products and services customized for a set of customers that allows customers to achieve better outcomes than the sum of the individual components”. This paper examines the creation of the bundle (the base service package) as a way of achieving the clarification of SMEs‟ financial services needs. The base service package can be seen as an entity of different partial services. The purpose of the base service package is to clarify customers purchase decisions and, on the service provider‟s point of view, speed up the selling process which is also one of this study‟s purposes. This base service package consists of service modules. Thus, as a part of the base service package formation we use the idea of modularization. Modularity enables mixing and matching so that the final product fits the needs of the buyer.
To clarify what financial services SMEs commonly need, both, the qualitative and quantitative research methods were used in this research. First, in the qualitative part, the representatives of both banks and insurance companies were interviewed. As a result from the interviews we defined the financial services that are currently offered for SMEs. With the help of the interview results, we formed a quantitative survey for the SMEs. The survey gathered information about what financial services SMEs commonly use. It was also inquired if the SMEs had some needs that the existing financial services could not satisfy.
As a prior result of this study the base financial service package for SMEs was created. In addition five additional packages were formed for certain type of SMEs. These six packages offer a good starting point for defining the financial services that a specific SME needs. In addition this research aimed to find possible service gaps in financial service offering for the SMEs. 18 not existing bank services were suggested and seven insurance services were proposed but all the proposed insurance service already existed. This means that there are new bank service possibilities and that SMEs do lack the knowledge especially on insurance services.
Keywords: base service package, financial services, modularity, SMEs, solutions