Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is a follow up to my earlier post ( about my experience with the ING Bank.
The last time there was a person who was mistakenly ‘authorized’ for my mother’s account. So, we had to send in a form to have that person removed.

Yesterday I did go to the bank and I was in for a big surprise....... I was no longer authorized myself. Mistakenly they had removed me as well!
The person at this local branche had no explanation for this. The only suggestion was to restart up the whole authorization process from the beginning. Needless to say that I also couldn’t perform the transaction that I was supposed to do.

This is really an incredible experience. They can add and remove people who are authorized to your account, without your consent! I do think that trust is a very important cornerstone of the financial system. I told them that my trust was damaged and they totally understood. But they said that they could do nothing about it.

The message of empowering your employees to help customers wasn’t being heard in the ING HQ. Also there were no quality processes in place to check the actions.

I did ask whether I could use social media to complain about this, but the answer was ‘no’. I did find out that there was only one account (@ING_news) which they only use to broadcast their news. Clearly they had decided not to use social media to listen to customers.
Then I said that I wanted to file a formal complaint. The only way to do this was via the system, which the CSR used. So, he had to type in the complaint.

I would say that there is a structural disrespect for customers as well as for their own employees. Their employees were totally not empowered to satisfy customers or to help solve any issues. Everything is centralized and set up in a ‘broadcast’ only mode. ‘If we make it difficult to complain, customers will not complain.’ It looks like they have missed the profound market shift and that they are still living in the Stone Age. That attitude makes it very difficult to survive.

The only companies who will thrive are companies who are happy to help customers and who empower their employees to act accordingly.

Are you convinced that only happy employees can create happy customers?


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


A friend told me about a meeting with people from a multinational (Cargill). Out of the 40 HR people present, only 2 were on LinkedIn and Twitter was blocked for internal usage.

This ‘policy’ proves a couple of things:
-       their leaders don’t trust their employees
-       they see social media as a waste of time
-       they shut of their capacity to learn from the outside world
-       the NIH (not invented here) syndrome is still very active

Of course they can block this access internally, but more and more employees are using their own tools (gmail, chatting, social networks) anyway to do their work. This is because the IT department cannot meet their needs with its legacy environment.
And the job must be done, so they use any tool that they deem to be appropriate for that.
Research has also proven that people who have a break to e.g. check-in with their friends are more productive.
When they go home every day. They started using those media immediately.

It is interesting that those companies have a strong opinion about dictators and censorship in other countries, whereas they apply the same methods. They can see in the Mediterranean that this isn’t working any more and that people are resisting.

If you want to grow as an organization, both Professionally and Personally (ProPer), you need to be open to what is happening in the market.

Are you building or destroying barriers for market savviness?


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Thursday, May 5, 2011


This week I had a revealing experience with the ING Bank.
At the moment I am (formally) authorized to do financial transactions for my mother. I have been doing this for many years now. My mother has no computer, so the transactions have to be done via paper or via the phone. Many banks seem to forget though that elderly people are a significant segment of their customers.

I will not bother you with all the ‘bloody’ details, but here are some experiences:

-       I did sell some shares on a Wednesday and they confirmed me that the money would be in her account the next Monday.
-       When I called on Monday, the money wasn’t there. She said that this was impossible and that her colleague did something wrong.
-       Previously I could transfer money to for a rush order, by phone.
-       Now I had to visit a local branch to make that happen.
-       The computer system in the branch indicated that I wasn’t authorized to do this. There was another person ‘authorized’ which we don’t know at all.
-       Etc

What is clear is that this bank .....
-       has never given any serious thought to create special processes for the elderly
-       has not synchronized the local and the central computer systems
-       has no controls in place to check authorizations
-       has typically designed processes from the inside-out

Wouldn’t it be great if they designed their services from the customer’s point of view? A Customer Journey Map could do some wonders in this respect!

So, how are you designing your processes?


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