Oliver Rack, VP World Service at American Express has a great, easy to listen to, presentation style. And the subject of his presentation was also great - the focus on becoming the world's most respected service brand.
American Express has been in operation for 160 years in operation. Service has always been central to the strategy. The three pillars of their ongoing strategy are:
- Drive growth
- Drive efficiency
- Drive superior service
To help target their focus, they have looked at the best service providers in other industries such as:
- First Direct
- Singapore airlines
Customers are more mature and have more demands. There is a lot more to consider:
- Expectations are informed by broadening service experiences across industries
- Impact of social media
- Want it now demand
- Multiple touchpoints
Increased regulatory scrutiny
Customer care principles are at the heart of American Express' Relationship Care. It's about a human and holistic mindset based on extraordinary customer care and depending relationships that form a competitive advantage.
Key to this strategy is the empowerment of the American Express customer care professionals who are managing the relationships with Card Members. Empower them to achieve first time resolution. Remove scripted responses. Underatnd the differences between transactions and relationship care.
When hiring for these roles, Oliver highlights that they are not so interested in those who have call centre experience - unless they also have the passion for the customer. Understand that the card member is a human being and should be treated with empathy. The key foundation for getting the right staff and developing them properly?
- Hire for passion, teach the skill
- Act with humanity
- Create a culture of passion and pride
- Empower your employees
it comes back to the same ideas that Rob Markey raised. How can we have an army of customer promoters if we don't have an army of employee promoters? American Express have this and understand the reason for it.
One very interesting comment that came from the floor: Did it cost a lot to change the call centre?
Oliver gave a great answer. Change had to be made. Investment does need to be made initially so there is an uplift in costs at that point. But as your employees get into their stride, and you focus on resolution not call handling times, efficiency improves and your overall costs reduce. Job done!