By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2005-01-13 Email Print this article Print

First Union was a star at sales, but not customer service. Wachovia excelled at service, but sales lagged. Could technology make the merged bank better at both?

A Superior Blend

While it's too early to measure the return on investment of the Callidus implementation, the three-year effort to meld First Union's sales tactics with Wachovia's superior customer service appears to be on track.

Loan production at legacy Wachovia branches has risen 450% since the first quarter of 2001, from a quarterly average of $499,000 per branch to $2.3 million. That compares with the $2 million-per-branch loan production First Union branches experienced each quarter in 2001. The bank's overall customer satisfaction scores, as measured by Gallup surveys, have risen from a low of 5.59 in 1999, on a scale of 1 to 7, to 6.57 in the third quarter of 2004. The bank does not break out separate scores for former Wachovia and First Union branches.

The greatest benefit, says Gilbert, is that he now feels he has a reliable system to match strategy against corporate goals. If the CEO wants the bank to sign up one million new checking and savings accounts in 2005, he can begin modeling different strategies to get there. He might think that increasing teller incentives from, say, $25 per new account signing to $35 per new account would be the best strategy for reaching that goal, but based on historical data he can simulate whether increasing incentives for customer satisfaction ratings will have a bigger impact.

"I don't need to guess," Gilbert points out. "I can now go back to management with a game plan that I can feel confident in to get there."

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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