Gold American Express card representing AMEX Relationship Care

Will you take American Express?

I found this little snippet that arose a couple of months ago and thought it was pretty astounding, in a really positive transforming kind of way. Most large organisations see customer care as a cost. Let's say that again slowly. cost.

Well, we believe a little differently to most large organisations. We believe that is it is impossible (Apple withstanding) to develop outstanding customer experiences without intimately understanding your customers and the way you do that is by getting up close and personal, not getting them off the phone in 93 seconds.

Hats off to Amex and if only they stop calling me and being faux friendly, I will start loving them again. For now, I am professionally impressed.

Jim Bush, head of worldwide service at American Express, led this charge to again reinvent the company's approach to customer service. Bush rolled out a three-pillar enterprise strategy called Relationship Care to facilitate this transformation. "The way we look at the service environment is the number of interactions we have with each customer every year—it's hundreds of millions… Historically companies view that as a cost…we said, 'Let's make that into an opportunity to build relationships with customers,'" he says. The strategy centres on cultivating a personal connection with each customer when they contact the company. This meant hiring employees from industries like hospitality and sales who can bring real customer savvy, and investing in new technology that can empower American Express' customer care professionals to increase their knowledgeable recommendations to customers. "We said…let's leverage [the customer care centre] as a means of reinforcing product features and services and deepening relationships with customers," he says.

For more information on how to get closer to your customers, visit Proto or drop us a line on 02 8379 6600 for some great insight into the value of Service Design.

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