A couple of days ago I had to call my bank to get some information as I had locked myself out of the online account -- how many passwords can you really remember before they all jumble? My bank is ING Direct and I chose it first because I liked what I heard about the way they do business: no fees for their Orange Savings Account with great interest rates, no application fee for the Orange Mortgage and a simple application. Then I met Arkadi Kuhlmann, the bank's President and CEO -- see a video with some of his remarks about the bank here.
We were at the last Fast Company Real Time live event and I passed him in the hallway after he spoke. I had to tell him how much I enjoyed doing business with them. He had just asked us to pick the one TV commercial they were going to air -- and they did use that one -- and it felt as if we could chat amiably as colleagues do. We did. I've even used their Cafe' in Philadelphia as a venue for some of our events: Dan Pink spoke there about Free Agent Nation and so did Ben McConnell about Creating Customer Evangelists.
As a marketer, I also like the way they get the word out about their mission: to help you save money. Simple, highly creative and memorable. That is secondary to the experience of their service. Clever marketing cannot substitute behavior -- you actually need to do what you say you do. And that's why I say that customer service is a mindset in today's post at FC Expert blogs. Communication of any kind needs to be followed through with action: walk the talk. Is ING Direct fun to deal with? Absolutely. So that's why sitting on a Harley Davidson and leading 700 other riders over 60 miles in San Francisco for the Freedom Ride is not a stunt. It matches the company's service mindset.