American Express Proves Customer Service Innovation is a Competitive Advantage

March 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

American Express was founded in 1850 as an elite express shipping company. Today American Express has over 61,000 employees. Famous for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s cheque business, American Express has 102 million cards around the world. American Express is one of the most valuable brand names in the world. J.D. Power and Associates ranked the brand as highest in customer satisfaction among credit card issuers. American Express was ranked 51st on Fortune’s List of the Top 100 companies to work for in 2013.

American Express has a strong track record of delivering service excellence. This is due to a vision, mission, values and operating principles that support a business strategy of providing excellent service. American Express views delivering premium service to its card members not as an expense but a critical strategic asset, that provides return both short-term and long-term.

Their vision is to work hard every day to make American Express the world’s most respected service brand. One of the key strategies that support this vision is to view their customers not as clients but as members. Every single holder of an American Express Card is a “cardmember.” Many members can quickly tell you without even looking at the date on their card, exactly how long they’ve been a member. For the member it is a badge of honor. It means they are appreciated, that they have the right and expect, to be served in a premium fashion. American Express has done a great job providing its members with exclusive rewards and innovative amenities that make the experience special. American Express believes card members will maintain their relationship with the brand if they treat them with high regard. The entire American Express organization is engaged in serving those members.

American Express does not think of themselves as a credit card company. They view themselves as a premium service company. They are in the services business. Service is their most powerful competitive advantage. American Express is not perfect but they continue to invest and improve the experience for their members.

In summary, American Express has built a powerful service brand by treating customers as members and investing in service and amenities to keep them loyal.

In your opinion, what brands provide the highest level of customer service?

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