The difference between a Newquay hotel and ING?

A while ago, I skimmed over a news update mentioning that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) planned to shake up its complaints handling rules after revealing that more than 7,000 gripes against retail banks are lodged every day.

Whilst on holiday in Newquay last week, this did cross my mind again. It’s one of those places where, when visiting off-season, you suddenly feel young again. Not sure if it’s to do with the sea air or if it’s because the average age of the punters there is about 25 years higher than yours truly.

Anyway, our idyllic time there was interrupted one evening when eating at the hotel restaurant. We were confronted with a customer service that was disappointing to say the least and it’s amazing how a grand place, such as the hotel we stayed in, can be brought down by an impassionate member of staff, someone who obviously doesn’t take satisfaction in customer servicing at all.

It reminded me of the FSA news update. But I have to say this is in stark contrast with what I’ve experienced so far with my bank, ING. I recently moved house and had to liaise with the bank on a number of occasions as a result.  I was amazed by the level of service my local branch offered me. And that was down to a few individuals who seem to take pride in the job they do. They even managed to sell me an insurance that I probably don’t need but was glad to buy.

And it doesn’t take much. Just a bit of attention, friendliness and helpfulness is enough. It’s amazing how just one person can turn around your customer servicing experience for the better or for the worse. John Hagel, an author and former McKinsey consultant, recently mentioned that passion is one of the key drivers of company performance. I couldn’t agree more and am sure that this is especially true in the consumer finance industry.

So what about the Newquay hotel? Well, I’ll surely be back but before eating at the restaurant I’ll check that the waitress who served us is on dishwashing duty. Who’d have thought that a bank wins the race for customer satisfaction and passion?

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