San Francisco, California–based Wells Fargo is a financial services company that offers banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance services throughout the United States. With 270,000 employees working in more than 80 businesses nationwide, Wells Fargo has come a long way over the past 160 years. Always moving forward, like the stagecoach that symbolizes it, Wells Fargo now embraces mobile and social technologies that make life easier for their customers and clients.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Mark. Let’s start with some background about you as well as what’s happening at Wells Fargo and in the domain of mobile and social, and then we’ll take it into the more comprehensive technology and trends discussion.
Mark McCormick: Let me tell you a little bit about what my group does at Wells Fargo and a little bit about my background, and then we’ll move on to the mobile and social areas.
I manage a customer experience team for the online banking and mobile channels. We design the look and feel of our public website and online banking and mobile experience. My team comprises interaction designers, visual designers, content strategists, regular strategists, creative directors, and some front-end developers. Our channel serves 21 million customers. Our mobile channel serves 18 million or so.
SM: This is all consumers, or is it also business banking?
MM: Yes, thank you for that clarification. It’s consumers and small businesses.
SM: Of the 21 million users, what is the split between consumers and small businesses?
Beverly Butler: Sometimes they’re the same, so it’s hard to break it out. Some of our customers are also small business owners, so it’s difficult to say which is which.
SM: All right. Why don’t we start with what you are doing when you design this user experience? Given where we sit today, with significant technology innovation that has happened around us, especially in the past six or seven years, what is your philosophy when you’re tackling this user experience?
MM: Great question. Our philosophy is user-centered design. That starts with understanding customer tasks. We do a lot of research, qualitative primary research – talking to people, going into their homes – and then secondary research surveys and then observing people through usability studies to understand what their financial tasks are and how we can facilitate those tasks. The philosophy about the future is what people will do with all of these technologies and new ways of doing business and new ways of doing business with us. What people will do will not change, but how they do these tasks will change.
Fundamentally, financial tasks will stay the same. People will always pay bills. They will always borrow money. They will always investigate new products like credit cards, student loans, insurance, and investing, but the ways that they do those things will change. An example of that is that we know from studying people’s tasks – and a task is everything, such as asking friends and family for advice on which products to buy. That’s a specific task people do when they think about buying a new product or service. We know people ask their friends and families for advice, and the new technologies enable them to do that through tools like social networks. So, we have to think about that. They’re still asking friends and family for advice, but they’re doing it in a different way. That change informs our decisions and investments in technology and in our projects.