Friday, March 17, 2006

Wells Fargo has a blog

I keep complaining that big corporations don't have blogs that actually connect and converse with their customers. Now, Wells Fargo has come out with a "corporate blog" focused on the anniversary of the great 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and the general topic of earthquake preparedness. It's called Guided by History.

I found out about their blog from a post by Shel Israel entitled "Wells Fargo Starts a Blog." Alas, I am unable to agree with those who think this blog is a "good start" on the path of corporate blogging. Here are the comments that I made on Shel's post:


There is nothing wrong with the Wells Fargo blog per se, but it is *not* an example of a business trying to "converse" with its customers and other stakeholders in a way that is meaningful to the purposes that customers have for wanting to do business with them.

Now, I actually am a Wells Fargo customer and actually don't have any significant complaints about them, but... Where are the "naked conversations"?

Yes, the 1906 earthquake is always a great topic of interest, but... where's the *relevance* to what us customers are expecting from the bank?

I have plenty of topics I'd love to discuss with big banks, but I assure you that discussions of earthquakes and history are *not* on my list.

I have other financial services business that I don't do with the bank for various reasons... why isn't Wells Fargo blogging in a way that at least tries to get at meeting customer needs that they aren't currently meeting?

I'm not saying that the WF blogging effort isn't "okay", but it appears to be a *diversionary* effort to *avoid* talking about... business and the needs and interests of customers.

Notice how many comments you see on their blog? (One.) One look at the disclaimer and caveats and I can assure you that I would *never* place a comment on their blog. In other words, they've set up a blog that by definition *can't* have "naked conversations".

Maybe some of these restrictions are required by government regulations, but can Wells Fargo honestly say that they have exhaustively pursued working with regulators to enable real blogging (true "naked conversations")? I suspect that WF could set up a distinct business unit/subsidiary that would be part of the parent company, but with an arm's length distance from the actual banking operation so that the banking regulations won't be an issue. It sounds like they haven't even *tried*.

Just to close on a note of constructive criticism, and hoping that Wells Fargo is reading these comments, here are three complaints for the bank to address concerning their web site:
1) Your web site doesn't support IE 7 Beta. Even my stock broker, electric utility, and the evil IRS do.
2) Your web site isn't set up so that browsers (IE, Firefox, et al) can save my login id and password.
3) I see no "Blog" button on your main web page.

Memo to Wells Fargo: Enough toe-dipping already... lets see some hard-core, skinny-dipping "naked conversations".

Any questions?


-- Jack Krupansky

I'm serious. I want to see corporate blogs that seriously attempt to engage their customers and other stakeholders.

Come on guys, no more excuses.

Now excuse me while I go back to their blog and read up on earthquake preparedness since I'll be traveling to San Francisco on Tuesday for a three-day stay. Hey, I never said their blog wasn't useful!

-- Jack Krupansky


At 2:18 PM EST , Anonymous Ed Terpening said...

I realize not blogging about banking sounds like a cop-out, but this event (100 year anniversary of the quake) is a big deal for the city, and we're committed to this community. I'm glad to hear you're reading up on our preparedness posts. Hope it's helpful. I am confident that Wells will make their next step into the blogosphere bolder. If you're in town Tuesday, check out our exhibit at 420 Montgomery Street (at California). My office is just up stairs, say hello. Cheers, Ed Terpening (Blogging Project Mgr).

At 2:28 PM EST , Anonymous Jack Krupansky said...

Thanks for your comment, Ed. If only you had made this comment one week ago as I was preparing to fly to SF for a conference... I was free *last* Tuesday and *would* have taken you up on your offer. Instead, I walked to and across the Golden Gate bridge last Tuesday... is it safe to be out on the bridge during an earthquake?

In any case, I'm patiently awaiting your next, and hopefully *BIG*, foray into the Blogosphere. By all means, Be Bold.

I'm back from my conference in SF and luckily I had no need for your blog's great disaster preparedness information.

-- Jack Krupansky


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