WellsFargo: Managing Customer Relations
WellsFargo: Managing Customer Relations
Effectivemanagement of the relationship between a company and its customers isvital in the contemporary business environment. The increase incompetition has continually subjected companies to the risk of losingtheir respective market shares to competitors should they fail tomanage their relationships with clients. Customer relationshipmanagement is the strategies, practices, and technologies used byfirms to record, manage, and evaluate their interactions with clients(Mishra & Mishra, 2009). An effective management of relationshipwith customers helps companies to concentrate on customers who areeconomically valuable and de-market for the less valuable ones. Someof the key factors that organizations can use to enhance their CRMstrategies include the use of effective communication, assessment ofthe clients’ service level, making the best use of the availabletechnology, and staff training. Organization’s management shouldhave the necessary skills to establish and maintain relationships(Lucas, 2014). This paper will analyze different methods that WellsFargo and Company used to manage its customer relations. The paperwill focus on the background of Wells Fargo, staff training,available communication channels, organization characteristics,complaint handling channels, assessment of the efficiency of customerrepresentatives, and strategies used to establish customerrelationships. Wells Fargo and Company has established a strongrelationship with its customers, and it appears to be working on afew challenges affecting the sustainability of this relationship.
WellsFargo Company is a financial institution that was started in the year1852 by William Fargo and Henry Wells (Alchin, 2014). Initially, thecompany focused on gold purchases, rapid delivery of valuable items,and selling of paper bank drafts. Wells Fargo branches were opened inthe cities and near the gold mines. The company established a recordof responsibly dealing with people’s money and rapidly deliveringtheir valuables. This contributed towards the firm’s reputation andrapid growth. Wells Fargo participated in the establishment of theOverland Mail firm in 1858, which was awarded the contract totransport the government mails in the southern region overland (WellsFargo, 2014). Wells Fargo has been growing through different ways,including the takeover of other firms and the expansion of theproduct line. For example, the takeover of the Pacific Express firmand Holladay gave Wells Fargo an opportunity to increase itsgeographical coverage and serve a large number of customers. The useof modern technology has allowed Wells Fargo to serve its customersmore conveniently and efficiently (Messick, 2014). For example, theuse of wireless technology has helped the bank employees serve itscustomers faster.
WellsFargo’s Mission, vision, and customer service policies
TheWells Fargo Bank’s mission is to focus on financial services as themain product, financial advice as the means of value addition, andpeople as the means of enhancing competitive advantage (Wells Fargo,2014).
Thevision of Wells Fargo and Company is to satisfy all clients’financial needs and assist them succeed financially (Wells Fargo,2014). This vision statement is based on the notion that customerscan save more money and time if they can bring together all financialservices to a single trusted financial service provider. In addition,Wells Fargo has a short and memorable motto which states, “The NextStage” (Wells Fargo, 2014). Wells Fargo and Company, similar toother financial institutions, utilizes its customer service policiesto warn clients against irregular submission of important documentsand funds. For example, the bank place posters on the service desksstating that the bank will not be held liable for the loss of fundsor documents submitted to any other person other than the tellersworking in the designated desks. Although this statement may seem tobe harsh, it can be perceived to be customer friendly because it aimsat protecting their money and important documents. The statement isissued in a manner that cautions customers that the bank cannotrefund them for the funds submitted to other persons other than theauthorized tellers. In my opinion, the customer service messagecommunicates a customer friendly environment. This is because themessage seeks to ensure that all transactions are carried out in theright procedures and by authorized persons, which is an effective inensuring the security of the clients’ property.
Trainingfor customer service representatives
WellsFargo Bank values its customers since they are the reason for itsexistence. Consequently, the bank embarks on training its customerrepresentatives with the primary objective of enhancing theircapacity to address all types of customer queries satisfactorily.Customer representatives receive two categories of training name thetechnical training and the people skills training. Technical trainingis offered to inform the customer representatives’ knowledge of theservices and products that the bank offers (Wells Fargo Advisors LLC,2014). People skills training enhances the capacity of the customerrepresentatives to interact with clients in a professional way.
Thenumber of training hours and the extent of the training program varydepending on the level of employees’ previous experience in thecustomer service sector. A new employee who has no experience incustomer service undergoes a customer training program that takesbetween 10 and 12 weeks. Newly recruited employees who have worked inthe same docket (customer service representative) undergo trainingfor a period of six weeks. The bank also offers a 30 week trainingprogram for employees who wish to serve as advisors staff trainingand development officers within the bank. The proportion of timededicated to technical training and people skills depends on theemployees’ past experience. However, there are four trainingpackages that are mandatory to all customer representatives. Thesepackages include exploration of existing network to gain knowledge onthe firm`s core services and products (about 2 weeks), expert’sbriefing on the bank’s products and services (1 week), a detailedclient scenario that enhance trainees’ sales skills, productsuitability, and communication skills (3 weeks), and relationshipbuilding and skills to convert prospect contacts into salesrelationships. This means that Wells Fargo offers the technical andpeople skills training programs simultaneously, but in differentpackages.
Availablechannels for client service and complaint resolution
WellsFargo Bank serves differentiated customers, who have varying levelsof satisfaction. Consequently, the bank anticipates queries andcomplaints to arise. The bank uses three major channels to interactwith customers and handle their complaints. First, Wells Fargo Bankhas a well-designed website, which is easy for customers tocomprehend and navigate. The website addresses the clients’concerns in two ways. It provides information that clients can readabout the bank’s products and services, which resolve theirconcerns, even without contact the customer care (Wells Fargo, 2014).The website also provides its users with other contacts that they canuse to reach the bank’s customer service representatives.
Thesecond channel is the in-store service desk that is staffed withwell-trained employees. This channel is designed for customers whovisit the bank in person to have their complaints addressed.
Thethird channel is telephone contacts that are used by remote clientswho either do not have time to visit the bank physically or needtheir complaints to be addressed urgently. For example, the bank hassome telephone numbers that are operational for 24 hours in all daysof the week. This help clients report urgent matters, such as fraudon their accounts (Wells Fargo, 2014).
Organizationalcharacteristics and technologies
Inmost cases, Wells Fargo uses the remote customer contact and helpdesk channels to interact with its customers and resolve theircomplaints. The two channels are staffed with employees who haveundergone both the technical and people skills training programs.These employees are experts in problem solving and converting theirinteractions with potential clients into sales relationships. Inaddition, the bank has adopted new technologies that can help itaddress the needs of an ever increasing number of clients located indifferent geographical locations. For example, Wells Fargo has anautomated attendant system that receives calls and asks customerquestions and gives them feedback about their back accounts. Althoughthe system was initiated to enhance the customer service andexperience with the banking services, some clients find it annoying(Zeichchick, 2014). Moreover, Wells Fargo has installed an automaticcall distributor system that ensures that the incoming calls aredirected to different customer service agents. This system directsthe client calls to free agents and informs them the estimated waittime in case all agents are busy (Wells Fargo, 2014). This enhancesthe process of customers’ interaction with the bank’s customerservice representatives and agents.
Website, telephone system, and the store-based customer desk are themajor service provision and complaint handling channels used by WellsFargo. To some extent, the website is efficient and user-friendlybecause it allows customers to order for some services by simplyclicking on specific portals. For example, customers who can clickthe borrowing and credit portal to get information about their creditscores, consolidating bills, and expected expenses for theirborrowing (Wells Fargo, 2014). In addition, the website has a portalthat allows students to apply for loans without going to the bank.This is a customer-friendly service that enhances their comfort andefficiency in the process of delivering services to clients. Althoughthe website provides some portals that customers can post theircomplaints (such as fraud), the bank does not give instant feedbackto complaints posted through its web portals.
WellsFargo bank has many telephone numbers that customers can use whenrequesting for different types of services or reporting serviceproblems. Telephone numbers provided for reporting issues (such asfraud) are more effective compared to those that are intended forordering services or products. The incoming calls for problemreporting numbers are received instantly, while other lines are putin the queue, especially when there are many customers waiting to beserved.
Wellsbank has an effective store-based customer service desk that hasmultiple terminals. This allows the clients to make the service orproduct inquiries at a reduced waiting time. However, some customersfeel upset by automated call response services (such as the automatedattendant), especially when they fail to address the specific needsof the caller or ask unnecessary questions (Zeichchick, 2014). Thismakes the system unfriendly to some users.
Assessingthe efficiency of customer representatives
Thecustomer representatives were quite friendly, effective, andefficient, but a few of them seemed new to their positions. Customerrepresentatives who had a long-term experience served executed theirroles faster and conversed with clients with confidence. Although theyoung representatives who seemed to have joined the customer servicedocket recently were slow, one could tell that that had thesufficient knowledge of what they were doing.
Thestore-based customer service desk was efficient, effective, anduser-friendly. The bank emphasizes on quality services, which ismeasured by the satisfaction of customers in its services andproducts. Consequently, the customer sensitive desk pays reasonableattention to complains and other concerns raised by clients.
Adequatetraining that is offered to customer representatives helps them servecustomers, even without the supervision of a special servicedepartment. For example, the customer representatives were friendlyand handled my purchase efficiently and effectively.
WellsFargo, similar to other firms operating in the financial market,endeavors to develop a strong relationship with its clients. However,the bank focuses on establishing long-term relationship borrowers,compared to other customers. For example, the bank states that itdoes not perceive a loan to be just an ordinary transaction, but anopportunity to build deeper and broader relationship with theborrowing client (Wells Fargo, 2014). This means that customerrepresentatives are more likely to remember the names of borrowersthan other categories of clients. Although Wells Fargo assigns somecustomer representatives to certain accounts, these representativesare frequently changed. This is the major source of frustration amongthe clients, especially those with some pending transactions, such asloan application (Consumer Unified LLC, 2014). The frequent change ofassigned customer representatives is a major challenge that reducesthe capacity of the bank to establish a long-term relationship withits customers.
WellsFargo maintains email information, which is then used to contactcustomers. The bank uses the email information to inform customersabout new services and products. For example, the bank has emailedall its customers informing them about the new mobile bankingfeatures that will be available to iPhone six users (Dilger, 2014).The email information is mainly intended to inform clients on howthey can maximize their experience with the bank’s services andproducts. Wells Fargo rarely focuses on the use of junk mails as ameans of random marketing. This has been caused by the rapid increasein cases of phishing that culminates in fraud. For example, manypeople have complained about the Wells Fargo account update scams(Cullina, 2014). This has reduced the tendency of the bank to rely onrandom marketing as a way of sharing information that is specificallyuseful to them.
WellsFargo is one of the large corporations operating in the financialsector and values their relationship with customers. Over the years,the bank has used different strategies to establish a sustainablerelationship with customers because they are the only reason for itsexistence. By training its customer service representatives, WellsFargo has managed to enhance the quality of services delivered tocustomers. The bank has embarked on the use of the website,store-based service desk, and telephone contacts to interact withclients. In addition, the bank assigns the role of customerrelationship to well-trained members of staff who address customercomplaints and orders for service purchases satisfactorily. AlthoughWells Fargo has managed to establish a sustainable relationship withits clients, there are three major challenges that it needs toovercome. First, the bank should establish a long-term relationshipwith all categories of customers, instead of focusing on borrowersonly. Secondly, the bank should reduce its reliance on upsettingtechnologies, such as automatic call response. Third, Wells Fargoshould avoid frequent change of customer representative staffassigned to specific customers. In spite of these challenges, WellsFargo is on the right track and should continue focusing on effectivemanagement of its relationship with customers in order to withstandthe stiff competition in the financial market.
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