But one company consistently blows me away and that's ING Direct Bank*. Their products are simple and work as advertised. The web site is intuitive and easy to navigate. Their communications are clear and understandable. Their client reps know their stuff and are unfailingly pleasant. (In fact, at the 2011 Contact Center World North American Finals in May, they won best mid-sized contact centre in North America). As an innovation specialist, I respect their passion to change the way banking is done: without traditional branches, they deliver superb products over the Internet and the phone.
ING Direct has now found a new way to surprise and delight me as a customer - the new ING Direct cafe in downtown Toronto. They've transformed a heritage building at 221 Yonge with heritage brick walls, and lots of natural wood and light, and there's only one word for the result: gorgeous. It's a place where ING Direct wants to interact their customers in a new way, to be a vibrant part of the Toronto community, and to manifest their commitment to sustainability.
|Main floor of the ING Direct Toronto Cafe|
On the main floor ING features companies whose principles coincide with ING's, dubbed Saver's Friends. There was bike from Curbside Cycle on display the day I was there. The $650 bike was being sold for $400 - again with all the money being used to build cycling education and mechanics facilities in St. Jamestown as well as purchsing bicycle helmets and locks for kids. The bright orange bike embodied many messages - saving your money, saving the environment, community partnerships, and of course the link with the Netherlands famous for biking (ING's parent is Dutch and the bike was the Batavus brand from the Netherlands).
|ING Direct Cafe's Green Wall|
The third floor is a satellite office for ING Direct staff - a place of experimentation and innovation. It's a coveted place for ING employees to work. Once you've experienced this fresh and friendly space, it might just become a coveted space for you too.
* full disclosure: I am on the board of ING Direct Bank. However I was a delighted customer long before I was a director, and this post is written form the point of view of a customer.