Wells Fargo Lets Customers Glimpse Future Features via In-Store Tablet

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / ciaobucarestIn an effort to track product and service efficiency, as well as tease and test possible features of the future, Wells Fargo has launched Digital Express, a pilot program exclusive to its Transbay Gateway store in downtown San Francisco.

Within, a section of the lobby displays tablets on a table which confronts customers with two options. “We’ve married the option of exploring the future to exploring other options and giving us feedback,” explained Margaret Honeycutt, Digital Lab Business Initiatives Consultant. Apparently the feedback will regard the shape the company’s services take in the minds of the customers through three different timeframes.

With two strokes, Digital Express is divided into three categories of Wells Fargo’s history: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

“Yesterday” gives the viewer a tour of Wells Fargo innovations and reputed wins in bank services and technology. The Today section shows services, upgrades and technology customers might not know about. They also include short “how-to” videos, detailing step-by-step guides through existing functionality. “Tomorrow” may be the section where Wells Fargo can learn the most about its customers. There, one can have a glimpse of advances coming soon (or not so soon), such as watching a customer have a video conference with a banker on the living room TV.

Why this, and why now? Is Wells Fargo addressing shortcomings in meeting customer needs, or simply testing a new from of interaction other banks have yet to try?

Miranda Hill, vice president and manager of product management at Wells Fargo Labs, said her team would rather test fast failures in a matter of weeks, rather than months or years. But most of those tests never go live with customers in stores.

Honeycutt affirms the test, rather than operating in a “fail-fast” dynamic, is a new way of seeing how well the bank can connect with customers. “We added this to give the customers the opportunity to learn about their financial situation in the store,” she said:

What they think about [new ideas], and what kind of feedback we can get from customers to make sure we take the correct next step.We’ve been gathering customer feedback at different times in labs, we do team member pilots. Getting feedback has always been important to us. We decided to find something more customer-facing and rolled that out February 25th. It was created specifically for customers to get feedback from this one store.

One of the concepts Digital Express is testing in the Tomorrow section is pre-staging transactions, so customers can book visits ahead of time, as well as skip the card and PIN at the ATM. Another concept, called Onboarding, allows a customer to share documents or provide a digital signature with a banker in the store with a tablet, for faster account opening. Whether this should be done via wifi or Bluetooth is part of the test.

Included in the bank’s “Today” section are already-available items like mobile deposits and text banking. “We were trying to highlight at launch some of our existing services, we’d like to create an awareness,” Honeycutt said. “Feedback will really help guide future designs and future concepts.”

Wells Fargo has about $1.8 trillion in total assets.

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