By Ross Popoff-Walker – Researcher, Customer Experience, Forrester

Sylvia Reynolds faces a unique challange as Wells Fargo’s CMO. "We have the opportunity to delight or disappoint our customers in moments of trust every day," she said. And there are a lot of opportunities for Wells Fargo, who receives 250 million phone calls to its call centers each year.

But how do you create delight in a world that is divided into 80+ silos, and justify organizational change when each silo is hugely successful? "Paradox is possible," said Sylvia, meaning that while the 150+ year old Wells Fargo might be financially booming, that doesn’t mean it’s providing a consistently strong customer experience.  Her recommendations:

  • Manage sideways. Learn to communicate across organizational boundaries. Marketing needs to see itself as an integrating force.
  • Drive to a deep understanding of your customers. How many times have you been in a meeting when someone who wants to talk about the customer experience their personal preferences instead?
  • Be single-minded and broad-minded as you build and sustain your brand.  Brand is one part expression (or brand promise), two parts experience. 
  • Selectively embrace the power of new media and technology. Use it to solve real issues by asking "How do I use it to create a new connection with my customers?"

At the end of her talk Sylvia made a poignant remark: "How did marketing become the "make it pretty department?" Marketers need to focus on taking back customer experience as part of their role in the organization."