Amex deserve their repution

Once again, I’m reminded that people are the most obvious – perhaps the most critical – touchpoint an organization has with its customers.

I opened in the mail my new ‘upgraded’ Amex card today, to discover that the card had a new account number on it. Now the upgrade would double the Amex points earned, so I wanted it. But the hassle of changing all the places and payments that are registered to my old account number was just too daunting.

With a heavy feeling of dread, I call the customer service number. I just know that I’m going to be in a bad frame of mind by the time I finish this call. Sure enough I get the voice activated system. And it recognizes my accent (many do not!) and tells me what it is doing. So far, so good. After the usual questions I get to a representative. She is bright, breezy and talks as though she is a human talking to another human (unlike my experience this morning with audible.com).

“Oh sure”, she says, “I wouldn’t want to go through all of that either”.

She cancels the new card, arranges for a cancellation note to go to me (So I can be sure that the card is dead), then upgrades my current account number, arranges a new card to be mailed and assures me that all will be fine and wishes me a good evening.

What a pleasant experience! Boy am I a happy Amex customer.

The lesson? Well trained, motivated and interested staff make a huge difference. They can save a bad situation, they can make an advocate out of a customer. They are worth their weight in gold. I’ll be using more of Amex, not less in future.

And Audible.com? Well, he was not in a good position to start with. An unexpected, unauthorized charge to that same Amex card. But this person read, stiltedly, from a script. No attempt to relate to me, no sympathetic ear, no connection with me. Also, most importantly, no attempt to satisfy me. The only way to keep the account open was to pay $229. So guess what, I’m no longer an Audible customer, even though there is (was) credit in my account that I gave up.

It’s not the guys fault. He was clearly executing corporate policy, reading a corporate script and had (in my opinion) nowhere near the training and experience needed. It’s the corporate folks at fault. Audible’s management should be whacked around the head for allowing such policies, procedures and such abysmal execution.

Which is closest to the way your company looks to your customers?

Are you sure?

{WOM, Brand, Customer Service, Phone, Product}

Technorati Tags: Brand, Customer Service, Phone, Product, User Experience, WOM

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