Overview of the Problem
Wells Fargo is the sixth company that consumers voted as having the worst customer service in 2012 (Aho, 2012), with 18% of the surveyed customers rating the bank’s services as poor or fair (Aho, 2012).
Established in 1929, Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with three operating segments, namely Community Banking, Brokerage and Retirement, and Wholesale Banking and Wealth (Reuters, n.d.). It provides corporate, commercial, and retail banking services through banking stores and offices, businesses and institutions, the Internet, and other distribution channels. In addition, the bank provides other types of financial services through subsidiaries that are involved in other forms of businesses, which include venture capital investment, mortgaged back securities servicing, investment advisory services, trust services, computer and data processing services, insurance agency and brokerage services, securities brokerage and investment banking, commercial finance, agricultural finance, equipment leasing, consumer finance, mortgage banking, and wholesale banking (Reuters, n.d.).
In 2008, Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia, which increased its revenue but which also came with many mortgage and consumer loan problems (Aho, 2012). These resulted in lawsuits where the allegations included misrepresentation of mortgage-backed securities, document falsification, unlawful foreclosures, and false promises for home loan modifications (Aho, 2012). In addition, initiatives of Wells Fargo to introduce new fees in order to increase card profits are making customers unhappy. In fact, this was the second time that Wells Fargo has been included in the list since 2010. The main customer complaints about Wells Fargo include fraud-related/identity theft incidents, late fees, and billing disputes (Aho, 2012).
Incidentally, many of Wells Fargo’s competitors in the financial industry also experience the same problems. Some of them are also included in the 2012 list of companies with the worst customer service. Some of these other banks include Capital One, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America (Aho, 2012). It is notable that these other banks also experience much of the same problems experienced by Wells Fargo, which means that poor customer service seems to be prevalent among banking institutions.
Why CRM is Needed
Implementation of a CRM system can help Wells Fargo improve its customer service in that it will enable the organization to focus on the customers and their specific needs, in turn leading to increased customer satisfaction (Anuruth, 2012). It can also increase the organization’s profits and centralize the management of customer information.
More specifically, a CRM enables the bank to build a relationship with its customers. It enables the bank to stay in touch with its customers, in turn promoting customer loyalty (Anumala & Reddy, 2007). It will also facilitate interactions between the bank and the customers with regards to information exchanges, business or financial transactions, and social exchanges. In addition, CRM systems enable the implementation of email responders, which allows for customer inquiries to be quickly addressed. It will also enable the bank to develop personalized services, which will help facilitate the resolution of loan or billing problems. Moreover, a CRM-enabled website will help customers easily get the information they need and will also allow the organization to easily and quickly communicate important information to the customers. As well, CRM systems can help ensure the security of online bank transactions, which can help reduce – if not completely eliminate -- incidents of identity theft or fraud. Lastly, a CRM system provides customers with convenience, which will lead to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Three Platforms that Can be Used to Address the Organization’s Needs
Three of the platforms that can be used to address the organization’s needs are Salesforce.com, Zendesk, and NetSuite CRM+ (Verrill, 2013).
Salesforce.com is the leading provider of on-demand CRM services on the cloud (“Salesforce.com CRM Software,” 2013). It offers a variety of applications for enterprise organizations as well as for mid-market and small organizations in which the focus is on support and sales. More specifically, it provides vertical solutions and wealth management systems for financial service organizations, although its partner network also caters to other industries. The system is built on a platform which architecture allows for increased scalability and flexibility, enabling it to accommodate organizations of any size. Its capabilities include customer service, partner relationship management, marketing automation, and sales management. In turn, these capabilities enable organizations to provide post service sale, hold and monitor marketing campaigns, track sales leads, and manage customer accounts (“Salesforce.com CRM Software,” 2013). Moreover, Salesforce has a social media application called Chatter, which allows members of the organization to collaborate with each other. In addition, the applications that run on the Salesforce platform can be customized to better suit the organization’s needs. It also integrates with Outlook.
CRM Salesforce solutions are available only for SaaS (software-as-a-service) deployment. It provides all of the necessary tools and resources for development and since the applications run on the cloud, it is no longer necessary to purchase hardware and pay for IT support.
On the other hand, Zendesk is one of the leaders in the web-based help desk market. It has a sophisticated yet simple ticket support system that is easy to use (“Zendesk Helpdesk Software,” n.d.). Its front end can be customized. It also integrates with other applications such as Google Analytics and Salesforce and has live chat features. Moreover, it can run on mobile devices such as the Blackberry, Android devices, iPad, and iPhone. It is easy to install and set up and can be customized to meet the specific needs of the organization. As such, it allows customers to communicate with the organization’s representatives over various technology-based channels, which include mobile, email, the Internet, Twitter, and others. Its customer support applications are provided on a stand-alone basis and these also come with knowledge management capabilities.
Finally, NetSuite CRM+ is a complete customer relationship management system that integrates the front-and back-office, providing upper management with a comprehensive view of the organization (“NetSuite CRM+ Software,” 2013). Its features include marketing analytics, partner relationship management, customer data management, ecommerce, sales force automation, and others. It can run on the iPhone and can be customized to suit the organization’s needs. Just like Salesforce, Netsuite CRM+ is also available only on a SaaS deployment, with all information being stored in a secure data center.
Of these three platforms, Salesfoce.com would be the best platform to use for addressing the customer service problems of Wells Fargo. Although Zendesk and NetSuite CRM+ enable mobile access to the CRM system and although they have comprehensive features that may address the CRM needs of Wells Fargo, they do not have the flexibility and scalability that Salesforce.com offers. With a company as large as Wells Fargo and which also continues to grow, flexibility and scalability are important features that the selected CRM solution must have.
It should be noted, though, that the disadvantage of Salesforce.com is that a third-party will be hosting the organization’s applications and data with which the organization’s management may not be comfortable due to security, confidentiality, and privacy issues. However, its main advantage is that it does not need the purchase and set up of additional hardware and additional human resource. On the other hand, the advantage of Zendesk is that it is easy to set up. It can be installed and be ready for use within minutes and will be efficient at providing users with mobile access to better and more quickly serve the organization’s customers. On the other hand, its disadvantage is that it may have limited customer relationship management features compared to Salesforce. However, since it integrates with Salesforce then the organization may consider integrating Zendesk with their Salesforce applications.
As for NetSuite CRM+, its main advantage is that it will give the organization more control of its applications. Although the applications are also hosted on the cloud, the organization will have more sense of security as the applications are not as readily accessed as Salesforce. However, it may not be as capable of supporting large organizations as Salesforce.
With all things considered, Salesforce.com would be capable of providing Wells Fargo with the most capabilities and the greatest flexibility for expansion and growth.
Cost/Benefit Analysis for the Recommended CRM
Aho, K. (2012, July 1). 2012 customer service hall of shame. Retrieved from
Anumala, S. & Reddy, B. K. K. (2007). Benefits of e-CRM for banks and their customers.
Anuruth, M. (2012). Benefits of CRM to banks. Retrieved from
NetSuite CRM+ software. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.softwareadvice.com/crm/netsuite-
Reuters. (n.d.). Profile: Wells Fargo & Co (WFC). Retrieved from
Salesforce.com. (2012, November). Salesforce.com customer relationship survey results.
Retrieved from https://secure2.sfdcstatic.com/assets/pdf/casestudies/Voice-of-the-
Salesforce.com. (2013). Estimated development time. Retrieved from
Salesforce.om CRM software. (2013). Retrieved from
Zendesk help desk software. (2013). Retrieved from