Recently I came across a bank analyst research report that made my jaw drop. Richard X. Bove of Rochdale Research came to the following “logical” conclusion regarding Wells Fargo:
1. Wachovia provided excellent customer service, but ran into financial difficulties that drove it to the brink of failure and acquisition by Wells Fargo.
2. The Wells Fargo branch that Bove deals with provides lousy customer service, which is something he has extrapolated to the entire company.
3. He said there is not a better-run bank in the U.S. than Wells Fargo. Therefore, since Wells Fargo is lousy at service, customer service is quite likely “a detriment to success, not a source of it.”
In speaking with a customer service expert for an article I am working on, the expert said (and I agree) this attitude (if it is true) is good for Wells Fargo’s bottom line in the short term, but in the long term, it is customer relationships that will sustain a business of any size.
Even with the vastly reduced number of mortgage originators out there today, there is still too much competition on the street to take your customer for granted.
There is a postscript to this story. Bove said he was in the process of terminating his banking relationship with Wells Fargo because of the lack of customer service. One of the proverbial straws that broke the camel’s back—Wells Fargo solicited him for a mortgage refinance and then managed to botch it badly.