Magazine article American Banker

Complaints Beget Better Navigation with Wells Fargo

Magazine article American Banker

Complaints Beget Better Navigation with Wells Fargo

Article excerpt

Wells Fargo & Co. has extended to retail customers a service allowing e-banking customers to navigate Web pages simultaneously with service representatives.

The feature, which Wells calls "cobrowsing" and had already been available to commercial clients, lets either the customer or the service rep input data and control the navigation. For instance, a representative can move a cursor on the customer's screen to the field he or she is seeking.

Retail customers can reach an agent by clicking on a help button on Wells Fargo's Personal Finance page. James P. Smith, the San Francisco company's senior vice president of consumer Internet products, said that those who have a separate phone line for their modem can enter their name and telephone number and wait for a call back, and those who use one line for both computer and telephone can communicate with an agent through a system akin to instant messaging.

Wells came up with the cobrowsing capability after getting complaints from consumers who said they became confused at a Web site and could get no help, Mr. Smith said. It has 3.7 million active online banking customers, and the new feature could help it sign up more, he said. "Setting up a bill-pay transaction for the first time can be tricky."

Among customers familiar with online banking and bill payment, there may be cross-selling opportunities that the service could help it pick up. For example, Mr. Smith said, a Web banking customer might decide to apply for an individual retirement account, which is "not something you do all the time. In the past, we might have lost a lot of those customers."

Mr. Smith said Wells, which announced the feature last week, is using technology from Hipbone Inc. of San Carlos, Calif. ABN Amro Holdings NV uses the same technology to offer this service to its commercial customers, going through one of Hipbone's partners, eGain Communications of Sunnyvale, Calif. …

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