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ING Direct USA

How to EnterCompany: ING Direct USA
Company Division/Group: ING Bank Fsb
Company Description: In 2000 ING DIRECT USA embarked on a mission that broke tradition from the way most Americans live their financial lives. Eleven years later, we have approximately 2,300 Associates in 8 locations spreading the word of saving to over 7.7 million Customers through simplified financial products.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Award for Innovation in Customer Service

Nomination Title: ING DIRECT

Tell the story about your organization's innovations in customer service since the beginning of July 2010 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:


What did we learn from our success in 2010? We learned that we could be better.
Our conversations could be more neighborly and relaxed. Our calls could be more
positive. Our expertise could be used more effectively. We were proud of the
way our calls sounded last year. We love the way they sound now.

88% of our Customers now say they would hire the Associate they spoke with if
they were starting their own company. That’s because we hire Associates who
have an entrepreneurial spirit. We don’t believe in scripts. In fact—there are
only 15 words that an Associate says on every call, “How can I help you save
your money?” in the beginning and “Thanks for your interest in ING DIRECT.” at
the end.

This year we implemented the Ideal Customer Experience (ICE). Using four
primary ICE strategies and a strong foundation (that we learned from our
success in years prior), Sales Associates can identify Customers’ needs and
personality types to service their call, and sell our products.
•Personality Gauging – Knowing your Customers
oController – “Just resolve my issue.”
oFeeler – “Understand and be sympathetic to how I feel about my issue.”
oThinker – “Explain the how and why behind my resolution.”
oEntertainer – “Treat me like a person, don’t give me generic answers.”
•Positive Language – Avoiding the negative emotions
•Advocacy – Taking a position of support on the Customer’s behalf
•Anchoring – Strategically placing an option within a range of select

An Ideal Customer Experience…
•Builds the Brand
•Saves Customers money and/or time
•Reduces perceived Customer effort
•Increases Customer loyalty

Avoiding specialization allows our “do it all” Associates to take an array of
calls. In 2010 our Sales Associate to Customer ratio was 1:23,434. We improved
that number by 21% in 2011 to 1:28,407!

We’re as proud of this ratio as we are anything in our Sales Center. Our
efficiency saves our Associates, Bank and Customers money. We like that. We
also like being efficient on the phone. In 2011, we saw an 8 second improvement
in Average Handle Time. That translates to $400,000 in savings. Those 8 seconds
reduce our total number of Associates by 8 full time employees (via natural
attrition); saving us $300,000 annually.

We attribute the 8% improvement in our Customer Effort Score to ICE. In fact,
we took “effort” completely out of the mix and have branded this metric as
Simplicity Score. We’re always trying to make the Customer Experience as simple
as possible. Customers who refer to banking with us as “fast and easy” are 48%
more likely to increase their account balance and 64% more likely to open
additional accounts. Also, they call about half as often as high effort
Customers, but login 3 times more often. It’s no secret that Customers buy from
people they like. By using ICE, we increased account acquisition by 11%. We
love being a self-service bank, but when our Customers need help, we’re here to
deliver the Ideal Customer Experience.

List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:


Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated customer service organization:

At the forefront of “Leading Americans Back to Saving”, Brian Myres, Jason
Heupel, Bill Watt, and Cleo Brown are the leaders of the ING DIRECT USA, Sales
Organization. This includes 8 cafés, 3 Sales Centers, and 4 Sales Support Teams
in 8 different locations. Together, they share a vision to simplify financial
products that meet the needs of consumers and keep Customers and Associates at
the center of everything ING DIRECT does. With more than 104 combined years of
financial, sales, and retail experience, they drive an innovative and unique
approach that you won’t find in any other Sales Organization.