5 Reasons Why ING Direct’s Support Wins Gold

Although ING Direct Canada can bring in customers with its higher interest rate on savings accounts and fee-less banking, they have slowly been introducing other types of accounts to expand existing customer relationships.  The newest offer from ING is THRIVE, which is ING’s first chequing account.  This would be especially useful for existing customers.

ING’s customer service however, appears to be what is retaining customers and creating promoters of their business.  I am a satisfied customer of ING for a number of years now and they were able to resolve my issues quickly and efficiently when I needed to contact support.

ING Direct Canada has won a Gold Medal for their contact centre.  What is it that ING does to separate itself from the pack?  While you can review the criteria for winning the medal (it’s a panel of judges that makes the ultimate decision), there are many customer centric things that ING does.  They are leaders in the following:

  1. The Contact Centre
    Support is 24/7 and you will rarely have to wait more than a few minutes to speak to customer service rep. If you do have to wait, you will hear interesting sound bites and not regular boring “did you know” segments that we are used to hearing elsewhere.  The reps are friendly and helpful.  They call back when they say they will.
  2. ING Direct Cafés
    If you want customer service, you can get it face-to-face.  The cafés are intended to break down barriers between you and your money.  The ING staff will work with you and help you with financial questions that you may have.
  3. Planet Orange
    An interactive, financial literacy web site is provided free and is aimed at kids from 1st to 6th grade.   I plan to introduce my own first grader to this next year.
  4. Orange Key Referral
    Who likes free money?  ING has a program where if you refer someone who opens an ING account, you both receive $25.
    (For anyone considering opening an account, this is my ORANGE KEY 13279486S1
    Disclosure: I would earn $25 if you include my key when setting up a new account).
  5. TFSA Proactive Alerts
    Due to the unique nature of the TFSA account, ING has been providing proactive alerts for withdrawals /deposits reminding customers about the annual contribution limit.  Pay attention to those alerts to avoid over-contribution

    ING’s business model does not attract all customers since the majority of transactions are done online.  If you enjoy frequent face-to-face interaction with bank tellers, or look forward to weekly updates of your bank book, stick to a traditional bank.  For everyone else, there may be advantages to ING.

    In my next post, I’ll share with you a company that is widely accepted as a model of customer service.

    Readers:  Are there any other customer service-type strategies that ING offers worth noting?  What customer service strategies have you experienced from other traditional and online banks?

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    2 Responses to 5 Reasons Why ING Direct’s Support Wins Gold

    1. wendy says:

      i tried to get a mortgage with ING and was denied. My credit bureau is not the greatest (outstanding debts are from over 6 yrs ago)but i was not even offered a rate that was maybe alittle higher then their posted rates. I’m with mcap been with them for four yrs and am paying 8.3% (never been offered a lower rate )also payments stay the same -i was under the impression that as the principal goes down less goes to interest.
      i’m working on my bureau now any way of getting a mtg with a so so bureau

      • Support Spy says:

        @wendy: Thanks for the comment.

        A customer’s credit rating definitely weighs in on the bank’s decision to offer a mortgage, as does your income and liabilities. Since the 2008 financial meltdown some banks have tightened up on who they will offer mortgages and lines of credit. There is likely someone doing an analysis that has determined that your situation does not fall into their target market.

        The benefit of going with MCAP is that they have a broker community. My understanding is that this works much in the way that an insurance broker works. You can essentially apply to MCAP (one application) but in reality be applying to multiple brokers. Chances are more likely that someone will offer a mortgage (compared to a bank) but the interest rate is likely to be high because of a real or perceived increased risk.

        Depending on the type of mortgage you have (sounds like a closed mortgage, perhaps 5 years, since the rate hasn’t changed and you’ve been with them for at least 4 years), they may not be able to offer a different rate.

        You are correct; as your principal goes down, you are paying less interest and the payments don’t change. What is changing is the percentage of each payment going toward principal. So if you were paying $1000 / month, and 4 years ago you were paying $400 in principal and $600 in interest, you may be close to $500 in principal and $500 in interest today.

        I would recommend contacting the bank you have had the longest relationship with and setting up a meeting with them to see if they can consolidate any outstanding loans. If it’s not possible, you need to focus on paying down the debt with the highest interest rate first.

        As you pay down your debts, your credit score will slowly improve. You may want to discuss a payment plan or request a decrease in interest rate on a loan if you can show a pattern of consistent payments. For more detailed information on this, check out Gail Vaz Oxlade’s site which is a great place to get started.

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