Wells Fargo Fiasco: The Downside of Upselling
If the recent Wells Fargo fiasco is any indication, the sales and marketing culture at Wells Fargo (and many other financial institutions) should be taking an abrupt left turn — and none too soon.
Early in my career, I was working for a large financial services company and we would have long strategic planning sessions on how we might be able to generate new accounts through in-branch and direct mail upsell and cross-sell techniques. Applied for a home loan? Since the bank ran a lengthy credit check, why not offer a credit card to help furnish that new abode? Carried a higher balance in a non-interest bearing checking account? Push the customer to add a savings or money market account to their portfolio.
The ideas were endless, and we were all measured by our success rate: the number of net new accounts each month. Luckily, no one ever pressured me (or anyone I knew) into doing anything even remotely close to the fraudulent behavior Wells Fargo is accused of perpetrating.
But that said, why did Wells take a simple cross-sell / upsell concept, “you want fries with that?” and turn it into a high-pressure sales mandate? Aside from the obvious greed-based factor, Wells forgot some of the loyalty basics I learned many moons ago.
As a long-standing Wells Fargo customer, here are a few ways they can ensure my continued loyalty:
1. Treat me with respect, concern and understanding, and I’ll be loyal for life: You don’t need me to own eight products in order to remain loyal. If you have my checking account and I make regular electronic deposits of my paycheck, you’re my primary bank. If you can help me with anything, it’s figuring out why the ATM will NOT take the 10 checks I try to deposit collectively after carefully ensuring they are all lined up together EXACTLY as the instructions indicate, but spit them back every single time.
2. Play fair: When I call occasionally with a complaint, stop and really listen. Show some empathy and be willing (and ensure your front line is enabled) to waive a fee here and there in order to make amends. Sometimes it is actually YOUR mistake, and if it’s not, show me you understand that we all make mistakes now and again and waive the fee anyway.
3. Be helpful. Truly helpful: If I want you to “review my accounts,” I’ll ask. Don’t offer every time I step into the branch or try to make a large deposit. It does feel intrusive that you know my balances or if I’m overdrawn while I stand in front of you like a dope.
4. Give me online security questions that I can actually recall the answers to: First pet’s name? Well, I owned a dog and a cat and who’s to say which one I was thinking of at the time I filled out the form. Where I was born? You mean the city? Or the city and county (since I was not born in the US, perhaps, you could be more specific with the question)? Mother’s maiden name? (While this was not a challenge for me, a colleague noted that she was adopted and couldn’t remember if she supplied her birth mother’s maiden name or her adopted mother’s maiden name … yes, really). And yes, I have been locked out of my account for not knowing a few of these off the top of my head.
And one more thing — can you pay a little higher interest rate on my funds in your care? I think you’d have a bit more to give if you didn’t give one of your most senior employees a $124 million payout.
A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.