Friday, October 20, 2017

How to use Blogger.Com and Domain.Com to host your website for less than $10/Year.

A step by step guide to setting up a hosted top level domain name on Blogger. 


Wanting my own domain:


I've always wanted my own domain name. I kept thinking it would be too expensive to host a full website on my starting budget. So I settled for using Wordpress and Blogger subdomains. And that wasn't bad. But it wasn't great either.

Have you ever wanted your website, non profit website, business website, or blog to have a more professional web address or domain name? But you just don't want to pay the big bucks for a "real website". At least not yet.

Maybe when you become more successful, but you are still trying to keep the rent/mortgage paid. Therefore you must keep costs down. So you came to Blogger because you tried Wordpress.com and you got tired of them stopping you from entering your own html and affiliate links. In the end, whether you chose Wordpress or Blogger  or both, you settled for a subdomain.

So instead of getting that cool "MyAwesomenessOfASite.Com" site you wanted, you settled for "MyAwesomenessOfASite.wordpress.com" or "MyAwesomenessOfASite.blogspot.com".

But what if I told you that getting a real domain name doesn't have to mean hosting a website yourself!? That's right! Blogger will host your domain name for free, and wordpress.com, will do it for just a few dollars a year.

In fact, although this post is about using Domain.Com and Blogger.Com, you could use these instructions to understand Domain.Com better and use Wordpress.Com's instructions for their part of it, which is really the smaller part anyway. That is, if you are still using Wordpress.com... for some reason.

The only thing you will pay for, if you use Blogger, is the domain name itself. Which for most people will be about $9.99 per year. It can be less and more depending on what name you choose. More on that in a moment.

Just in case, you don't want ALL the details and blow by blow screen shots, here are the steps right up front.


The Steps:

  1. Buy a domain from Domain.Com (or you favorite place)
    1. Buy from Domain.com! 
  2. In Blogger, Settings, Basic, Publishing, +Add a domain name
    1. Type in the name you bought.
    2. Make sure to include the "www"
    3. Expect an error message. You WANT the error message.
  3. In Domain.Com set up your CNAME using the instructions Blogger gives.
    1. Enter the www and ghs.google.com as well as the 12 digit and 21digit numbers as mentioned above. 
  4. WAIT for it....WAIT for it....
    1. After an hour or two, once the system has had time to reset things for you...
  5. Go Back to Blogger and type in the new domain name.
    1. Make sure to include the www.
    2. Hit SAVE
    3. This time there should be no error! 
  6. You are basically done. 
  7. You should also, go back and set up A Name listings as well. See my whole post for more on that. 


See my WHOLE post for more tips and extra advice. Now to a blow by blow explanation!

Buy your domain name and website from two different places:


So the only cost to you is to go buy a domain name from one of the many "registrars" out there. Eventually you will probably want to get a fully hosted site, maybe. If you do here is a thought about why you do NOT want to buy your domain name from the place that you may eventually host. 

I don't know all the details exactly... but here is what my friend Mark said to me, who has run websites for his own businesses for decades. He assures me that you do not want to buy the domain name from the same place you host your site. Something about the site you host on getting mad at you and shutting your site down and locking you out and making life difficult for you and you loosing the domain name in the process.

If you buy your domain name from one service and host with a different service and the host service causes you problems, you just go to your domain registrar and point the domain name at the new service you set up with someone else.

If you were, (*just for example not saying either of these places are good or bad), but let's say you went to Go Daddy and had problems but bought your domain name from Domain.Com. Well, just go to Blue Host, set up the new site and point the domain name to Blue Host instead.

You are up and running in hours while you work out the issues with Go Daddy. Again, just examples not saying either of those is better than another. I have no idea which fully hosted site is best, obviously I still use Blogger.

What Domain name should I buy?


When choosing a domain name make sure it fits what you want. I wanted DarrellWolfe.Com because I want to operate under my own brand. But for my food reviews site I chose lifeinfortworth.com because it fit the niche market I'm looking to serve there. Because of that, as I build it, the site should start to rank higher in search hits for things around fort worth just because of the domain name I chose. The domain name actually plays a part in your search hits. 

Please check these articles out before paying for anything, check them out in this order:


I use Domain.Com

I use Domain.Com because I have had great experiences with them. Their website is clean and easy to use. They make things very simple. Really nice interface. Nothing much more complicated than that. Plus the very fact they own the rights to "Domain.Com" seems pretty sound to me. To read more "About" them click here. There is really nothing more to it than that. I like them. I've used them for several other websites for years. I will continue to use them because they make it so easy to do business. They have a host of services I haven't used yet, but probably will when I get more money coming in to do so. 

Now, as of today I am an affiliate. Which means I'll get paid if you sign up for a domain name through them by clicking the this link: Host your website with Domain.com!

But I would have written this anyway, even if I wasn't. I wrote most of this post before it occurred to me to see if they have an Affiliate Program, and they do! And it's free to join. So by the time this post goes live, I'll be a Domain.Com Affiliate. For more information about what it means to be an affiliate click here.


Setting Up Your New Domain Name:


You Will Need:

I thought it would be helpful to set you up for success. Here's what you will need to get started.

  • Internet
  • Web Browser (I use Opera)
  • Note Pad 
    • (Either real paper or electronic, doesn't matter but electronic would be easier to copy and paste).
  • Three Tabs Open
  • Chosen Domain Name(s)
    • You will have wanted to take time to consider what domain names you want to try to buy, come up with some alternatives. Choosing your domain name, depending on what you want and what's available may be the longest part of this task. 
    • It took all of ten seconds to find that DarrellWolfe.Com was available. 
    • But my LifeInFortWorth.Com was originally going to be TexasLiving.Com and it was taken. In the end I liked LifeInFortWorth.Com WAY better! Just hadn't thought of it.
      • It probably took me an hour to figure out that domain name and choose it. I was happy with the end result, and very happy that I took my time and prayed about it before locking in my choice. 



Using Domain.Com and choosing a domain name:


First go to my favorite place to buy Domains: Domain.Com. Just search for the domain you want and when you find one available buy it, on Domain.com!

Now keep this window open because you are going to do some work on Domain.Com after you have done some work with Blogger.



+Add a domain name in Blogger:


In Blogger, on the left panel, last option, click on "Settings"

Then the first option "Basic" will have several options to the page on your right. One section, seen below, is "Publishing". Simply click "+Add a custom domain..."

Screen Shot of Blogger +add domain area

You will then see the screen that has "Advanced Settings". Make sure to open the "Settings Instructions" because it gives you more details you need to do the following procedures.


Settings Instruction take you: HERE


Add in the domain name you bought. When you add the domain it must be a "Top Level" domain. Which means you must add the "www" to the front or it won't work. For example, put in "www.darrellwolfe.com" NOT "darrellwolfe.com". Now hit save and you will see an error message. This is what you want to see!

Screen Shot of Blogger +add domain area

Now that you have your error message you can do the next steps. You should see two sets of data. One will say "www" and "ghs.google.com". The next set of data will look like a complete mess of numbers and letters. The first set may be about 12 digits, the next will be about 21 digits followed by "...googlehosted.com" These are the four sets of data you need for Domain.Com.

Now the www and ghs.google.com is going to be the same for everyone. The 12 digits and 21 digits are specific to your blog. If you have used Blogger to set up 20+ blogs, for example, each of them would have different digits that pop here, specific to this particular blog.

Screen Shot of Blogger +add domain area

On Domain.Com Under DNS choose CNAME Alias


Go to your DNS section under your new domain name on Domain.Com...(*Note: NOT your nameservers, leave those alone.). There will be a drop down box next to "Modify:" Select the option that says: "CNAME Alias".

Screen Shot of Domain.Com DNS Records


Now on the CNAME Alias you will need those four pieces from Blogger.


Screen Shot of Domain.Com CNAME Alias


You will type in the www under host and ghs.google.com under points to. Then do the same for your specific info. Click "Add" and enter your 12 digit under the host section and 21digit.googlehosted.com under Point To.


Screen Shot of Domain.Com CNAME Alias


Now we wait...

...no really... we wait... You can leave these screens up if you want, but walk away, for at least an hour or two. Go watch Captain America. Or better yet go read Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Once domain.com has had anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours to update, you should be able to proceed by going back to Blogger.

Note: Don't use the "Nameservers" section. Use the DNS section and choose CNAME Alias from the drop down.

Going back to Blogger you will now hit save.


If you recall we started this adventure in Blogger hitting save and getting an error message. That error message was telling us that the domain name didn't recognize Blogger. If you waited the hour I told you to, and you did the other steps right, you should NOW be able to hit save. If you closed your screens that's perfectly OK!

Just go back to settings, basic, publishing, +add a custom domain name, type in your newly set up domain "www.mynewdomain.com" and make sure you use the "www" in front. Now hit Save. it should work this time with no error message.


Screen Shot of Blogger.Com adding domain name and cname


If you did everyting right so far, you should now see under Publishing a note that mydomin.blogspot.com redirects to www.mynewdomain.com


Screen Shot of Blogger.Com Domain Added success!


If you go ahead and go back in and edit there will be a little button you can click that will tell "mynewdomain.com" (without the wwww) to forward to "www.mynewdomain.com". But only after it recognizes the top level version with the www. You will see a small check box followed be "Redirect example.com to www.example.com". Then hit save. 




There are a few other things to talk about if you want to make sure things are working to their best ability for you.


Extra Credit; things you should also do or consider. 


Set up your A Records:


You will also want to set up your A Records. This will be done back on the DNS Tab. Simple use the drop down again and click on "A Record". This ensures that if someone types in your website without the "www" in front they still get to you instead of getting to an error message.

Screen Shot of Domain.com A Record


There will already be many A records there. But you will want to set up four additional ones.

Pasted from Google Bloggers Instruction Page:
  1. Optional: You can also enter A-records, which links your naked domain (example.com) to an actual site (www.example.com). If you skip this step, visitors who leave off the "www" will see an error page.
  2. Optional continued: After completing Step 8, enter your domain name in the format example.com, and list the I.P. addresses shown below in the "A" section. You'll need to create four separate A-records which point to four different Google IPs.
    216.239.32.21
    216.239.34.21
    216.239.36.21
    216.239.38.21
    End of optional section
So, simply type in your website without the www under host. "example.com" and then paste one of the four numbers from blogger 216.239.32.21 under Point To. Repeat for each of the four, notice they are all the same except for the (32, 34, 36, 38).

Choose a personalized Email:


One last thing you could do, not required but it's worth doing, especially since you paid for the domain name. Use your personalized email. example@example.com. Me@DarrellWolfe.Com and Darrell@DarrellWolfe.Com are mine. Feel free to email me if you found this article helpful. Also comment below.

Now under the Overview Tab find the link that says Mail and click on that.

Simply click on the the Plus (+) Button on the right.

Screen Shot of Domain.com setting up your personalized new email

Click on Forward to another mailbox. Select the email you want @yourdomain.com and then what email address you have set up with one of the free providers that you want it forwarded to when someone emails you. You probably are using GMAIL because you have to have a google ID to access blogger because Blogger is a google product. Therefore, you could use that email. But you could also use your free yahoo, hotmail, live, outlook, aol, or any other such thing and no one would ever know you've been using those services because they emailed you at "Example@yourdomain.com".

Just to clarify. By doing this. It simply forwards your email. So they send an email to me@darrellwolfe.com and the email is forwarded to example@gmail.com. I still use gmail to access my emails, but I get to use a nifty email address!

Pretty neat huh?!

Screen Shot of Domain.com setting up your personalized new email



Lock Your Domain


As an added precaution it would be good to go ahead and now travel from the DNS tab to the Security tab and "Lock" your domain so that it cannot be transfered. You can undo this later if you ever need to transfer ownership of the name.

Screen Shot of Domain.com Lock Your Domain

What the?! Why did I get an error asking if this is my domain? 


Best laid plans often have set backs. I set everything up. It worked. My site said the new domain. Then an hour later I went back and it looked like this:

Screen Shot. Potential error message when setting up a new domain is normal.


Why did THAT happen? Well it takes time for the servers all over the Internet to figure out what to do with your new domain. Go to bed and figure it out tomorrow. Sure enough. I went to bed and the next morning all was well. In fact, my darrellwolfe.com without the "www" worked too, because I set up my A Records last night before going to bed!

Conclusion I now have a Top Level Domain:


Hurrah! I'm set up with a new name for an old blog. I never moved the blog, changed it, imported anything. I just gave the web address a facelift, and I only paid $9.99 for my domain name!

Review the Steps:


  1. Buy a domain from Domain.Com (or you favorite place)
    1. Host your website with Domain.com! 
  2. In Blogger, Settings, Basic, Publishing, +Add a domain name
    1. Type in the name you bought.
    2. Make sure to include the "www"
    3. Expect an error message. You WANT the error message.
  3. In Domain.Com set up your CNAME using the instructions Blogger gives.
    1. Enter the www and ghs.google.com as well as the 12 digit and 21digit numbers as mentioned above. 
  4. WAIT for it....WAIT for it....
    1. After an hour or two, once the system has had time to reset things for you...
  5. Go Back to Blogger and type in the new domain name.
    1. Make sure to include the www.
    2. Hit SAVE
    3. This time there should be no error! 
  6. You are basically done. 
  7. You should also, go back and set up A Name listings as well. See my whole post for more on that. 
If you found this to be helpful, feel free to try it yourself. Blogger is FREE and they charge nothing to host your domain name. So it's only going to cost you the going rate for a domain name at domain.com. Which can be anywhere from just a few dollars if you use a lesser used one like .info or .biz or something like that.

It may cost about $9-$15 for a more common one like .com or .org. You may even pay hundreds or thousands for popular domain names. So start with something that works well for you and doesn't cost you a bunch. After all. If you are using this method, it's because you didn't want to fork out hundreds a year for a self hosted site yet anyway... not that you won't, but you aren't ready.


Host your website with Domain.com!


Do you have any other powerful tips to help with setting up, using, or choosing a domain name? Please share by commenting below! 




Read more ...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Why Storytelling?

Storytelling is the lifeblood of the human race. Sure, many have replaced books with movies or YouTube videos, but great stories transcend.

From ancient times, The Storyteller, was a guest of kings and paupers. He/She was the keeper of legacies, histories, and entertainment. Unlike the best selling "5 secrets to a better ...." or "10 things you need to know about...", type books, stories stick with you. I can't remember the 7 habits, but I remember Frodo beating all odds to get that ring to the volcano.

When you think about all the elements of your brand, story is among the most important parts. Once your brand story is simple and simply told, it informs the rest of your brand. It decides the fonts, colors, and styles you use.

Your brand story will be the the thing you use to get who you are into the mouths of your truest fans, so they can tell others who you are. Often without knowing they are telling your story.

Food for thought...

Here are some clips from great articles about using story telling in Brand Marketing:



FastCompany: Why our brains crave storytelling in marketing

When reading straight data, only the language parts of our brains work to decode the meaning. But when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well.


i-Scoop: Questions to ask yourself about your brand story


  • What is the story and narrative behind everything you do as a brand, ranging from what you stand for to the reason why you developed solution X or decided to support ‘good cause Y’? 
  • How can you get to that story that’s part of your brand and even people’s DNA instead of to just the facts? 
  • How do you actually connect with people in the language they understand best: the language they can “visualize” in a story-like context?
  • What types of stories appeal to your content marketing “personas”?
  • What about the stories your customers and ‘audiences’ are already telling? How do you listen to those and include them? 


Entrepreneur.Com: Storytelling Could Bring Your Brand to Life and Strengthen Your Marketing Impact

A brand's story is no longer limited to or controlled by the media outlets and advertising that it uses. One would even say that this has been completely reversed: the media now runs stories based on how much traction they've gained elsewhere. Your customers and advocates are now the tastemakers, giving power to the stories that resonate with them.


Forbes: 5 Secrets to Use Storytelling for Brand Marketing Success

Honesty and transparency are important in brand storytelling. Yes, you’re crafting “stories,” but they need to be rooted in the reality of your brand, products, and industry. In other words, even brand stories must adhere to the three primary steps of brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint.

Darrell
Read more ...

Topos Consulting Questionaire


If you think you'd like to have me help you tell your story, work on your website, or polish your personal or business brand, just email Me@DarrellWolfe.com and provide me the following:

Your Contact Information:

  • Your Name 
  • Your Position
  • Brand Name
  • Industry
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • How did you hear about Topos Consulting?

The following are questions to consider. Don't worry if you don't have the answers yet, this is part of why you are using Topos Consulting. But these will get you thinking:

What is your story?

  • What product or service do you provide?
  • Why did you decide to pursue this business?
  • What makes you special, unique, or qualified to do this?
  • What is your favorite part of doing this work? 
  • Why do you find it rewarding?
  • What value do you provide?
  • What impact has it had on the people you serve?

What are your brand elements?

  • Colors (Do you have RBG, or Hexidecimal Codes?)
  • Fonts (Georgia, Times New Roman, Etc)
  • Logos (or images)
  • Do you have digital copies for any of these?

eTools: Do you already have any of the following?

  • Website
  • Domain Name
  • Facebook Account (personal not business)
  • Facebook Page (business not personal)
  • Email List Service
  • Google Place Listing

eTools: Do you already have user ID's for any of the following?

  • Wordpress.Com or Blogger
  • Domain.com
  • Facebook
  • Google Place
  • MailChimp
  • Gumroad or another way to store and deliver the PDF?

Darrell
Read more ...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Topos Consulting

Hey, my name is Darrell Wolfe, and this is Topos Consulting.

I help individuals with passion strengthen their strategic position of opportunity and influence, so they can make a positive impact on their world.

Disclosure: I am a jack of all trades, matter of none. I am a wealth of random information.

I'm not a:
Tax Advisor
Investment Advisor
Legal Advisor
Etc....

The information here is meant to be informative, educational, and just passing along the lessons I've learned as I worked in various fields over many years.

I am a guy who's been around the block, seen and heard a lot, and knows a lot about a lot. Consider me a teacher of the things I know, but implement them at your own level of understanding and risk.

Read more ...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Credit Building

I just met three people working at Carl's Jr. We had a great talk about income, credit, and demystifying credit.

So many people need a financial doctor and don't know it. Or they do know that they need one but don't know how easy it is to have one.

I gave them a few tips, my business card for credit, my friend Ben's business card for Insurance and Investments, and told them to come see me so we can get into more details.

They didn't realize that someone would be willing to help without having to pay a consulting fee or go or a class.

I love helping people. Love it. And as Zig Ziglar said: You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.

I don't concern myself with whose going to make me a sale, who I can get something from, etc. If I simply help everyone I can, without regards to my reward for it, the reward will come as a byproduct.

It was a great reminder that I'm on the right path.

Darrell

Read more ...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Open Letter: John Stumpf, Wells Fargo Board, and Policy Making Departments


On 12/28/13, I wrote the following letter to the then CEO & President of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf. It was in part, a response to the LA Times Article and the poor response from Wells Fargo leadership.

I later worked for the executive office and saw how they handle these letters. They assign them to a paper-pusher who could care less. They draft a form response, and it gets tallied in the statistics.

By the time it makes it to the CEO, it's only data in a pie chart. "We had 365 complaints this month. x number of complaints about checking, y number about sales practices, Etc." They tally it up, if it's not a big enough stat, it gets zero attention. Most things that do require attention get just enough to make it go away, but never deal with the root.

I was one of many hundreds who spoke up loudly and actively for years before 2013 and years after. The news cycle of 2016 showed that it cost them $185 Million dollars to ignore the feedback their frontline Team Members tried to give them.

The final straw for me and my 11-year career with Wells Fargo came when they promoted Tim Sloan to CEO. I'd been watching Tim since he gave the official Wells Fargo response to the LA Times article about the sales goals issues. He said:

"I'm not aware of any overbearing sales culture," Chief Financial Officer Timothy Sloan said in an interview. LA Times article "Wells Fargo's pressure-cooker sales culture comes at a cost", published on 12/21/2013.

When I saw that they replaced John Stumpf with an even more willingly ignorant leader, Tim Sloan, I made my escape.

I'm happy I left the mega-bank. I hope the sales industry can do better. A true consultative approach. I help you get what you WANT and NEED and I benefit. That's true sales, which hasn't existed for a long time.

Since that period of my life is over, the results are all public now anyway, I feel free to share this letter from 2013. Maybe other CEOs or future CEOs could learn from their mistake.

I hope you enjoy:


Darrell G. Wolfe

Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant | Multipotentialite


TO: John Stumpf, Wells Fargo Board, and Policy Making Departments

FROM: Darrell G. Wolfe

WhoAmI

My name is Darrell G. Wolfe. I’ve worked for Orange Phone Banker (Consumer, Premier, and IRA), Westlake Phone Bank (Consumer, Banker Coach), Branches as personal banker (various in DFW), and Westlake Inbound Sales. I’ve taken over 95,000 phone calls for the Wells Fargo Call Center network between service and sales.
I’ve spent 8 years working for Wells Fargo in two states, two call centers, multiple positions, and several branches. I am a leader in sales and service and I provide constant value to my team, providing insight into their calls, and helping my teams succeed one customer situation at a time. I’ve been a Banker Coach, Navigator, Rising Star, MVP, and won several Service Excellence Awards.
I fully bought into the Wells Fargo Vision and Values, and I’ve lived them every day of my career. I’ve been passionate about the Wells Fargo & Co. Brand and a Wells Fargo evangelist for many years. That passion has turned to sadness as I see a company void of even pretending to live by those standards on the front lines, in all lines of business.

Wells Fargo at a Crossroads

Wells Fargo Bank has a strong reputation for being conservative, strong, and stable because we don’t lend to people we shouldn’t lend to, we keep strong reserve requirements, and we have a strong reputation… which I believe has been slowly degrading since 2008… maybe since 1998…  
Ever since the Norwest Merger Wells Fargo has slowly lost a reputation of doing what’s right for the customer at the grass roots level. You may find an article here or there by a bank-industry magazine that fluffs our image, but the street isn’t saying good things, and it’s been heading in the wrong direction ever since I came in 2006.
Sales are fine, but sales without integrity are not fine, and Wells Fargo & Co. has not demonstrated to me in my 8-year career the high level of integrity at the Community Banking or Phone Bank Level that we have in our written literature, for some time now. We may be treating our highest net worth clients well, and our business clients well, and since those relationships account for 80% of more of our profits we’ll likely be in business for some time to come.
But I am personally and professionally appalled at how we (as an institution) treat the everyday person.
Blind visits to branches by independent auditors and impartial phone call observations I believe would reveal a bank that is far more interested in selling you more things you don’t need than servicing what you have.
I actually just talked to a young lady who had been a Sales Banker for BofA for 8 years came to Wells Fargo one month ago only to discover that even though our sales “goals” are lower the pressure we put on the sales people to sell, the micromanaging, is higher. In my opinion, we don’t even know the basics of customer service. As a company, we’re so focused on sales we skip service to meet our sales goals.
In short, we’ve been on the slow road to becoming the next Bank of America: “the bank too big to care about the little guy.”

Positive Memorable Customer Experience


For years I heard the words FCR (First Call Resolution) and PME (Positive Memorable Customer Experience). I don’t hear that talked about at all anymore. When a bad experience is had by a person they are likely to share that with 10-15 people in their circle of influence. But more importantly, people don’t buy products and services. They don’t buy from companies. They pay for BRANDS they trust from PEOPLE they trust. But they don’t buy a product. They PAY for a product.
They BUY how that product or service will make them feel, they buy the experience. Think of the iPhone. Not only is it a TOP OF THE LINE product, but it comes in an amazing package, it’s stylish, it’s enviable. They aren’t buying an iPhone, they are buying connections to their friends and family (facebook/twitter apps), they are buying time savings apps (better connectivity to schedule and tasks), etc.

There are many amusement parks, but only Disney creates a magical experience, there is no other like Disney. They don’t sell rides, they sell a magical experience, and rides are weaved into that tapestry, and so our products and services and popcorn balls, and overpriced burgers… but you willingly pay more because you are there for the experience. My wife is convinced that there is no other cruise ship company worth using except Disney Cruises, and so am I. I am loyal to the brand, because they create magical experiences, they do it seamlessly, they do it consistently and they are always raising the bar for themselves, out doing themselves every time I visit a Disney facility.
Wells Fargo has turned this concept on its head. If Wells Fargo ran Disney Land we’d have cast members chasing people into the street trying to convince them to buy another lemonade when they had one in each hand already and pressuring them to buy a third “just for emergencies”. We regularly put sales ahead of customer experience. We pay very little but lip service to the customer experience. And that’s been consistent across two states, two call centers, four departments, 4 branches, and conversations with many people from other places in Wells Fargo.

Goals vs People

My experience at Wells Fargo & Co. has been that we love our goals, stats, and spread sheets. We’re more interested in meeting goals than we are interested in how those goals are affecting the Positive Memorable Customer Experiences, both with our External Customers (customers) and Internal Customers (Employees). Most goals feel as though the goals are set for the sake of the goal.
Unnecessarily overly complicated ICP/MPP systems are set up in twisting curves of “if this then that” formulas every winding into more and more metrics to keep track of, all in the name of meeting the goals. But for what? What happens over the next 20 years if we lose our loyal customers to smaller banks that can provide positive memorable customer experiences while we were trying to track our goals?
The very existing of Alabang indicates we care more about profit than customer experience. Alabang call center hardly ever meets the customers need, transfers them to sales without telling them why (or the customer understanding why). They actually speak very decent English “linguistically”, but they have very little conceptual understanding about what they are talking about. Their referrals are anything but needs-based, often reading the entire list of ECPR offers at (not to or with but at) the customer and receiving banker.

Phone Bank

Our service bankers are not looking for needs and meeting them. They are pushing whoever they can into the sales department to meet arbitrary goals created by people who, it seems, don’t live in the real world and don’t listen to these callers. The people who end up in sales are almost always the very young, very old, English-as-second-language (language barrier) people, or mentally disabled. These are the easiest to push over to sales without getting an objection, but almost none of them know where they were transferred or why.
Specifics, ask bankers on the sales floor for any phone bank sales dept and these are the referrals they get day in and day out. These examples are not the exception they are the norm. It’s actually quite rare to have a customer transferred to sales that belong in sales and knows why they were transferred to sales. At this rate there should not be two departments, let’s just make all bankers both service and sales and blend the goals, most sales bankers spend their whole day doing service requests that service didn’t complete or transferring callers to the department they should have been transferred to in the first place.
Here are examples of the calls inbound sales bankers get over and over and over:
·        Bill Pay - Elderly Lady who doesn’t own a computer
·        Bill Pay – TEEN Checking customer, the teen checking doesn’t get it for free AND they don’t have any bills!
·        Bill Pay – But Online Banking shows DISABLAED and they should have been transferred to Online not sales if they really wanted it.
·        Second Savings as ODP  - To protect the “real” savings account from overdrafts in case of fraud, the account is already covered for fraud with Zero Liability so this is a scare tactic to sell un-needed products.
·        “Online Checking” – for someone who does two online purchases or less per month, really? That was finding and meeting a need? Pay a monthly service fee for two transactions a month?
·        New Joint Checking/Savings – because they couldn’t figure out how to transfer money online between other Wells Fargo customers. But setting up an account just to do transfers once in a while will have fees associated and they don’t tell them that part.
·        Second Checking – Not based on expressed or discovered a need, but as a default referral. The customer isn’t managing the account they have, doesn’t want a second checking, cannot use a second checking, and often hangs up as soon as they are transferred.
·        Account Reviews – customers think they’re being transferred to a fraud department or aren’t given a reason for being transferred or they are told: “You’re account has been flagged, let me a get a specialist for you”. Nearly no customer is told they are being transferred to sales for a review to discuss new products and services.
·        Debit Card - They are transferred to order a debit card when it should have been replaced in service.
·        New Checking/Savings – when it should have been an account conversion in service
·        ATM Card – “As a back up in case you lose your Debit Card” when we offer temp debit cards, AND VL explicitly tells the banker NOT to refer a backup ATM card and they do it anyway.
·        New Account: Current Accounts are Negative/Charged Off/Opportunity
·        CD: service banker tells the customer to look into CD’s and transfers to sales with the promise of earning the customer more interest (or way more interest) but there was only $200 in their checking, no savings, and no money elsewhere. This is also common.
·        Online Banking: transferred to sales for online banking but the online was disabled and it has to be handled by online customer service.
·        Order a new card: when the old card should have been replaced or re-linked.
·        Just to name a few

ECPR is our enemy, not our friend.

When I was a service banker the referral would sound like this: “I see here you are using ACH to make payments. ACH can cause problems, lead to overdrafts, and you are open to the potential of merchants taking money you didn’t agree on, or other errors. To prevent that we offer our Bill Pay service. It prevents overdrafts by taking the money our first, and errors by not ever giving your account number or card number to the merchant. Do you use our online right now? Great, you’ll use the same username and password to access Bill Pay. Let me get one of my specialists on the line to activate that for you, ok?”
Now they sound like this: Banker sees Bill Pay in ECPR “I see here you’re Bill Pay hasn’t been activated yet, let me get someone to take care of that for you…”. The customer comes over and their online is disabled because they don’t use online banking and have no use for Bill Pay.
Bankers are not making needs based referrals, they just offer what it’s in ECPR because it’s there, and what’s in ECPR is almost never the right thing for the customer. They aren’t even putting basic common sense or thought into it. If ECPR is to continue, it would make sense to say “I see this customer has an offer for Bill Pay, let me ask some questions.

In short our service department lies, misrepresents, or mishandles customer more often than not. It’s not just phone bank though.

The Branch

When I did my year and a half tour at the branch I saw the same thing. Praise is given for sales credit despite how it is made. The people that broke the most rules to meet goals were promoted the ones who stayed honest and couldn’t meet goals were asked to leave. The role of the sales banker at the branch is to sell products for sale's sake, not because it’s doing what’s right for the customer.
They are so sales oriented that I think you would be hard pressed to find a customer who is enrolled in the debit card overdraft service that actually knows what it is and that they were signed up for it. Bankers are just enrolling them without telling them to meet pressure from their managers.
They open products people don’t need, when things really get tight the manager comes to you and tell you to open accounts for your friends and/or family and keep them open for 45 days and close them.
Working for Wells Fargo branches was like working for a sleazy used car dealer (I worked several branches in DFW), but it’s so hard to meet sales goals that the banker doesn’t even get the commission the used car salesman would have gotten. The managers weren’t bad or evil, the one of the district managers might have been, but the pressure to meet goals rolls downhill.
Examples of patterns (not isolated incidents) at the branches are:

·        Pushing people into the Debit Card Overdraft Service: the customer isn’t right for the debit card overdraft service, the pros and cons are not being clearly explained, the customer isn’t sure it’s right and the banker/manager gets pushy and argues with the customer that they really need it. They stop just short of demanding it. In fact, in MANY MANY cases the customer is being enrolled without even asking, or they are told in passing they are going to enroll the customer without telling them what it is.
·        Second Savings: opening a second savings for someone who can barely save in the first savings and they customer ends up with TWO savings with monthly service fees and no money in either, all under the guise of having one “real savings” and one “overdraft savings”, just to get a sale.
·        Second Checking: but the customer cannot even manage the one account they have.
·        Bankers open opportunity accounts: but doesn’t explain to the customer what that means.
·        Bankers take application: then avoid telling the customer the loan app status, lie and tell the customer that they don’t know to avoid confrontation.
·        Open New Checking: instead of just converting the account they already have, making the customer go through un-necessary changes of direct deposits and ach set up.
·        Open New Checking: Not tell the customer what the requirements or that it would be getting a MSF.


A Concerned Team Member
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Topos Transitions

Transitions are rough.

I've been through many seasons of my life where I had to make a transition. At each and every stage it was tough.

There are always things you miss about the last season, things you are hoping for in the next season, and things you can't wait to be rid of in the season you're leaving behind.

Whether you are sensing the winds of change blowing you out of your current situation, you are in the middle of the trip, or the winds are at your back and you settling in to your new spot... Remember this word: Topos

Topos is a Greek word and it essentially means:

Your strategic position of opportunity and influence.

Make your Topos count today, wherever you are.

Darrell




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Monday, June 5, 2017

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger????

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Ask a Vet with an amputated limb if they feel stronger now or before the limb was taken... I'd bet before. Injury, all injury, is by definition a lack of perfection.

What doesn't kill you, more often than not,  makes you weaker, more timid, more cautious, slower... Not stronger.

Sure, we can learn from the past, become more resilient. We can use pressure, under certain circumstances, to build resistance based strengths, like a body builder pushing back on the resistance of the weights...

But by no means is the saying: "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" an accurate portrayal of Truth, nor should it EVER be spoken to someone in pain.

The enemy comes ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy, that's why the pain/attack came, not to make you stronger but to kill you.

God's Grace brought you through but He didn't bring you to...

God's Grace can heal you too.

Selah

#LiesAboutGod

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The Good Will Hunting Dilemma

Do you know the problem with having a 148IQ (Genius, for those who don't know)?

You know so many things, memorize things easily, perform tasks that take others time to learn in practically no time, excel at almost everything fact based (except human relationships)...

You can do anything, be anything...

Therefore, nothing holds your attention very long. You have trouble sticking to a task long enough to see the payoff.

I've started and restarted more careers than most people have in a lifetime.

I've been:

Cart Attendant/Cashier
Western Clothing Salesman
Hat shaper/Cleaner
Pool Cleaner
Maintenance for a Summer camp
Restaurant server for five separate companies in eight locations.
Call center customer service
Call center sales
Branch/Retail banking sales
Executive Office complaints management
Policy & Procedure (P&P) writer
Freelance writer
Blogger
Audio Technician
And many other things...

I went to Jr College for six years, changed majors three times, collected 78 units, never graduated...

And after all that, at nearly 37 years old...

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I have inklings, ideas, I'm clearer now then I was earlier in life... But I'm still totally unclear on the path...

It's like in Man of Steel, young Clark Kent is getting so many inputs he can't handle it, he runs to hide in the closet...

That's how I've felt my entire life...

You can tell me how great I am at X, Y, or Z... But it's hard to feel successful when you're this far along and you have no better ideas than you did in highschool...

I often wish I was dumber, that way I could settle down into a single career, be happy enough, go out for drinks with the boys on Friday, watch the game, etc... Normie stuff?

Being a genius has not helped me one bit...

God must have a plan but I'm not seeing it...

Here's hoping it comes soon..

#GoodWillHuntingDilema

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Freedom From vs Freedom ToBe

For many Freedom is understood through the lense if being free from...

Addiction
Pain
Loneliness
Him/Her
The Situation
The Job
Debt
Poverty
Etc.

So we follow the rat race seeking whatever we think will make us free. When that doesn't provide the freedom we sought, we seek another fix, and another... An endless cycle of seeking freedom but never being free.

What if Freedom has nothing to do with whatever jail you are in, however you've defined your personal jail.

What if Freedom is about becoming WHO you were always meant to be... And in that pursuit all the "other" (addiction, pain, the jails) falls off when you aren't even looking...

You don't know when you got "free from", you just look back and realize you don't have all the issues you had. You have battles in front of you but you have definitely won some battles too, and you didn't​even notice you had won.

It's as though the act of becoming a butterfly was so profound that you have trouble remembering what it was like to crawl.

People who lose a limb often experience phantom pains in the missing limb. This is because the neural pathways are still there even though the limb is gone.

Prescribing meds for the pain only serves to reenforce the pathway telling the brain the limb is still there.

The key is to retrain the brain, create new pathways, show the brain the limb is gone. To do this, the new nerve endings must be activated. Rubbing the new stump of the leg with a variety of materials, soft, hard, scratchy, etc., causes the brain to rewire and recognize the new stump, creating new neural pathways.

That's your job, and my job, now... Scratch the new limb. That's the purpose of prayer and Bible study, church, small groups, etc...

They are not dead religious activities, they are opportunities to scratch the new limb (your born again spirit).

Go scratch something...

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Monday, April 24, 2017

What is a Topos? A strategic position of opportunity and influence

What does Topos mean?

Topos is a Greek word meaning: "Place, or Opportunity"

Properly:

  • Any portion of space marked off, as it were, from surrounding, space

Metaphorically:

  • The condition or station held by one in any company or assembly
  • opportunity, power, occasion for acting
  • A spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas chora is a large but participle locality).

As used by me: 

Topos is a strategic position of opportunity and influence

Topos: Your Calling

Everyone has a God given calling on this earth. There is something you were created and designed to do. What you are doing now may be "The Calling"; or, it may be the calling for this season of your life. Either way, you are either in your Topos, or you need to find it.

As you read the stories of biblical heros like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul... etc... you find that God put them in the right place to do the right thing at the right time.

They ended up in their Topos, a strategic place of opportunity and influence. Some men, like king Saul before David were in their Topos but never reached their full potential because of sin, disobedience, or laziness. 

I'm on a life-long quest to reach the center of my Topos... and I want to help you find yours too. 

Follow this blog to take that journey with me.

Darrell
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What does it mean to be Empowered To Prosper?

*I'm combining several former blogs into one, some pages or posts are being republished. Enjoy!

What does Empowered Too Prosper Mean?

Those who belong to Jesus are EMPOWERED TOO PROSPER.

I say TOO because we are ALSO:

The curse came into this earth as a result of Adam's sin. We are redeemed from sin through the finished work of Jesus. The Blessing of Adam, Noah, Abraham, then Jesus is now restored to US. We have all the blessing says we have. We are redeemed from the curse and the blessing has been restored to us. Abraham was BLESSED! If you research people who walked in THE BLESSING throughout the scripture you see that they all prospered in every way. So to be BLESSED is to be empowered to prosper, spiritually, physically, financially, socially and in all other ways.

THE original BLESSING that was passed to us:

Adam:
Genesis 1:28

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."


Abraham:
Genesis 12

1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Genesis 14:14-24

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.

To Believers:
Galatians 3:14

14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Romans 8:11

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you.

The Result:
Proverbs 10:22

22 The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.

Mark 16:15-18

15 And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them."

We are Empowered to Prosper through His Word. Come take a journey with me. My Daddy in heaven takes GREAT JOY in my prosperity and your too.

Psalms 35:27

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

Other Scripture:
Galatians 3:13

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),

Joshua 1:6-8

6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalms 35:27

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

Deuteronomy 8:18

18 And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 28

Describes THE BLESSING and the Curse! If it's under the curse you've been redeemed from. Including poverty and sickness of all kinds.

Genesis 28:4

And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham."



Darrell G. Wolfe

Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant | Multipotentialite

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Change: It's harder than you thought and better than you imagined


I'm at the tail end of an end and the head of a beginning.

After 7 years in Nort Texas (Fort Worth), we moved. We spent the last few months getting the house ready to sell, selling the house, and moving. A week (03/19 - 03/24) was spent on the road and since then we lived in a hotel until we could find a place to live.

On Friday (03/31/17), we moved into our new house (rental). We're still unpacking, building storage shelves, figuring out to live with a basement for washer/dryer (odd).

We just found a store (EntertainmentMart) that sells games, Pokemon cards, and more. They allow the kids and adults to come play against each other live every Monday and Wed. So the kids are now adjusting.

There are things I already really enjoy about North Idaho... some of the transitions were easier than others.

Some things didn't go the way I wanted and some things went better. I just needed to learn to flow, slow down, breath, and listen... it's always about listening to the Holy Spirit.

Well... that's my update for now. I'll write more later.


Darrell G. Wolfe

Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant | Multipotentialite

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