Banks Are Creating a New Kind of Customer Intimacy With Web 2.0 and Social Networking

Banks Are Creating a New Kind of Customer Intimacy With Web 2.0 and Social Networking

Interesting story from Finance Tech Wire about Wells Fargo Bank jumping feet first into the Social Media. Wells has a Second Life-inspired online world called “Stagecoach Island,” which sounds like it may even have been a white-labeled version of SL, because the descriptive info about it encourages people to have their online avatars “fly” as the most convenient way to island hop in the world. Sound familiar, Second Lifers?

Wells also has an interesting blog, Guided By History, that actually draws on the Wild West past of the bank through the research efforts of professional archivists. (Unlike the other big banks that want to eradicate every memory of their history, Wells actually discovered earlier this year that helping high net worth customers trace their families could lead to more business!)

I think the headline goes a bit far. There are few banks creating this kind of social network. And would you REALLY call an online virtual world “customer intimacy,” when they still process all their loan applications in a distant factory that just looks at credit scores, not at the person sitting in the branch?

Nevertheless, I think it’s great that Wells Fargo, alone among the major banks, is making an effort to understand these tools of the social media. This gives them a leg up in understanding how younger customers (read “the customers they will need to be nice to over the next 20 years”) use banks and use technology.

Wonder if any of the other major banks is taking note?

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