What We Love About Wells Fargo Compensation Changes for 2017: Part II

Our experts have a lot to say about the recently proposed Wells Fargo changes in compensation for retail bank team members in 2017. See what else they have to say about incentives rooted in a more customer-centric culture in our breakdown panel Part II below.

The Expert Panel:

  • Michael Stus, Founder and Owner
  • Lee Goldberg, VP of Sales and Marketing
  • David Kohari, VP of Strategic Services and Customer Success
  • Jason Kearns, VP of Technology Services
  • Drew Chandler, Senior Manager
  • Tom Hampton, Senior Manager
  • Rodney Ray, Senior Manager, Learning Program
  • Kim Thorn, HR Manager

Delivering Great Customer Service

Larisa Perry, lead regional president for the Northeast, was one of the executives who participated in the design of the plan. Larisa emphasized the increased focus of the plan on delivering great customer service. “The entire incentive plan is built around customer experience. If we deliver on that and meet the customers’ needs, they will use our products, grow their business with Wells Fargo, and tell their friends and family. Every one of the metrics in the plan encourages a better customer experience.”

  • MS: Nice sound bite. If indeed the plan is designed and implemented this way, they should see good results.
  • LG: This is driving the right behavior, and will ultimately get the team to deliver a much stronger product and experience throughout the process.
  • DK: Great idea; Wells just needs to make sure it has the right metrics in place to measure, reward and promote positive CSAT occurrences as well as to address CSAT challenges.
  • JK: Sales will slow down in the short term. Does Wells have the fortitude to stick it out?
  • KT: Great statement! They are finally understanding that unhappy customers won’t stay with you and won’t refer others to help grow the business. Customer satisfaction has to be a priority in order to be successful.

Longer-Term Approach

Rick Redden, lead regional president for Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, underscored the importance of the plan’s longer-term approach. “Rather than measuring a single product at a moment in time, the new plan is focused on building a relationship over time. This is much more conducive to delivering a great customer experience. It’s less about one interaction, and more about adding value and the customer’s confidence in doing business with us.”

  • MS: I agree with the philosophy here, although shorter-term incentives that are properly designed, implemented, and governed can have a high impact on positive behaviors—especially if coupled with the longer-term components Redden describes.
  • LG: This is the right strategy to eliminate the historical problems.
  • DK: Again, very good idea. Without seeing the plans, one might assume that they are taking a “portfolio” approach in the design. One word of caution is that this can be difficult to measure and incent, depending on the metrics chosen.
  • KT: Not all good things happen overnight. Most good plans take time, and it sounds like they realize that and are willing to give their new system a chance to prove itself.

Focus on Team Performance

John Gavin, regional president for Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, commented on the plan’s emphasis on a team approach. “Our customers will see a genuine focus on them from everyone in the branch and they will experience the best that branch has to offer them. Great customer service depends just as much on how the teller greets the customer as how that customer is introduced to a banker. As a collective team, our bankers will be focused on understanding our customers, understanding their needs, and constantly delivering value for them. When we do that, we become a trusted advisor and trusted bank for our clients.”

  • LG: Teamwork leads to much greater success. It’s nearly impossible to have a customer only interact with one individual. Everybody needs to be on the same page.
  • DK: Again, good idea and one that should help address some of the recent issues. This can be a pretty significant culture change, so Wells should be sure to address that as well. It will be important that they don’t depend solely on incentives to manage that process.
  • DC: This makes sense for the type of business Wells is in—they want the entire experience to be positive, as Gavin says, and for all employees in the branch office to be united with how they want to shape the customer experience.
  • KT: I agree with this statement. In any service-oriented company, it only takes one person to ruin a customer experience. Wells want to make sure that every employee will ensure a good customer experience.

Overall, the new Wells Fargo plan emphasizes customer service, a team approach, and long-term relationships.

  • MS: Yes. Great! Much pain could have been avoided if this was done from day one or even if a reasonable amount of oversight of incentive driven behaviors was performed before the situation spiraled out of control.
  • LG: The right plan will achieve the desired goals across the organization.
  • DK: My take is that it’s the right response to the recent issues and one that is aligned with what we see happening in the market in general. There are a number of challenges to contend with during the transition – Wells Fargo leadership needs to focus on strong governance, comprehensive change management, and clear communication in the months ahead to maximize the chances for a successful transition.
  • KT: I don’t think a service oriented company can survive without this.

A healthy and well-balanced compensation plan can impact every facet of your organization. It’s important to plan for success with healthy compensation.

Have your own questions for our experts? Let us know how we can help you set your organization up for success in 2017!