Do you serve customers or transactions?

A colleague forwarded me this article, How can American Express help you?, with the comment, “Have a read of this brilliant article from Fortune, it reinforces all we advocate.”

In this interview, Jim Bush – American Express EVP of world service – talks about how they moved away from viewing service as a cost of doing business to an investment in building relationships with their customers.

Their call centre moved from a transactional, scripted environment to a conversational one that empowers their frontline to “pull out their personality” and engage with their customers.

Bush talks about the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated. At Peak Performance we take it one step further with our Platinum Rule, which recommends you treat others as they want to be treated.

Like a number of our customers, American Express uses Net Promoter Score to measure customer advocacy. Based on one question, “Would you recommend this company to a friend?” American Express is influencing their customers to influence their social circle. The strategy is paying off. Customer spending is up, attrition is down, and American Express has measured an increase in value to shareholders.

Getting customer service right can have a profound effect on the bottom line. This is why our training focuses on shifting mind-sets about customers and service, and building people’s confidence to engage authentically.

Relationship building requires basic communication skills that are often overlooked or not prioritised as highly as system or product training.

When you break it down, ‘basic’ communication has many layers: building rapport, flexing communication styles to match that of the customer, listening empathetically, asking relevant questions to truly understand, and adding value at every opportunity.

Ultimately, organisations that are genuinely customer-centric and who empower their service teams to care for their customers will eclipse those that provide
stock-standard transactions. Great service is great business.

Read more about the
Net Promoter Score.

Posted: Thursday 17 May 2012

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