American Express Customer Service

American Express is such a well known company that I thought they would be interesting to talk about. Recently, American Express has not gotten too much publicity (good or bad) regarding their customer service. The credit card companies seem to stay fairly neutral – no one really likes them, but no one really hates them. This is better than a lot of industries, but not great.

If you aren’t aware, American Express was founded in 1850 as a mail service. They later started offering money orders, and then travelers checks. They followed the Diners Club and launched a credit card service in the last 1950’s.

American Express is one of the first and most famous companies to offer different levels of cards/service. In the early 1980’s the company launched the Platinum Card, which was an exclusive card that offered high spending limits and better service. Then in 1999, they launched an even more exclusive card called the American Express Centurion Card (black card) which has a high annual fee, is very exclusive, and offers a lot of service.

According to Wikipedia (which is where I have fact checked a few things for this article), the Centurion card offers a lot of features such as complimentary companion airline tickets on trans-Atlantic flights, personal shoppers at high-end retailers, airline upgrades, access to airline clubs, and more. Members also have a personal concierge (with a direct phone number and email address).

That is the ultimate of customer service. Some other credit card companies have similar services, but American Express has always had some sort of a reputation as a leader in that space. The Platinum Card isn’t too shabby either – they still get a very high level of service and a lot of perks.

The question is how much of those perks can be given to people who do not spend $250,000 per year on their credit card? Some of the things are very expensive, while others aren’t that bad (the personal account manager is pretty common in other industries – Rackspace gives you a team).

Does your company have “VIP” levels of service for your best customers? It is something worth considering.

How hard is it for a senior employee to call up a good customer and say: “We value you as a customer. Here is my direct line and email address in case you ever have any problems.” That doesn’t happen often, and I bet it’d shock a customer (in a good way) if it did.

And on the subject of American Express – does anyone remember a commerical they had: it was a guy calling a concierge at AMEX about something to do on a date. The concierge suggested the circus, someone was afraid of clowns, and a few other actitivtes. It was a very interesting commerical showing great customer service being provided. They have had a few like that and I think they have been fairly effective.

6 Responses to “American Express Customer Service”

  1. Fiona Lim said:

    Aug 14, 07 at 5:47 am

    American Express Call Centre in Australia is useless and the staff are either from the streets, uneducated or have mental illness. They are somewhat grumpy, miserable and stress. They were unable to help me resolve my problem and even had the nerve to raise their voice at me and hang up.

    What kind of service do you call that?

    I’ve had the same problem with my credit occur last year with no problems but for some reason this year, the staff are cursed with bad attitude.
    I’ve cancelled my amex account and told my family and friends how incompentent the call centre staff are.

  2. james c holten said:

    Nov 01, 07 at 6:05 pm

    I was making a flight transfer at denver on Sat. 10/27 when I noticed that my wallet was missing containing all my credit cards. Not having time to stand in line at the airline customer svc counter,my biggest concern was my AmerEx card. I immediately phoned AmerEx and spoke to a Ms.Holliday (sp) and had my current card cancelled and she informed me that I would have a replacement card delivered to my home address by the following monday afternoon, and it was! I spent hours on the phone trying to get the correct numbers for customer service for my other cards and was informed new cards would take 7-10 days. Thank You…AmerEx

  3. sarita said:

    Nov 06, 07 at 3:58 pm

    American Express customer service in Germany is also bad. Their point system is confusing. We tried to book a vacation in a starwood hotel in Mumbai using their point system and the amex customer rep had no idea how many points were needed to book the hotel. We somehow made the booking by calling back and forth starwood and amex. One week before we leave for our trip we got a call this evening from starwood customer service that 20000 amex points are equal to starwood 6000 points and that we dont have sufficient points transfered to starwood. But this information is too late and American Express takes two weeks to transfer more points, which is pretty much useless as we were leaving in a week. Our plea to the rude customer service at amex went unheard and the woman said she can not make the transfer happen ealrier. We are now stranded in Mumbai with no hotel thanks to no help from Amex Customer Service. We have decided to cancel our card after our trip.

  4. nikoleta said:

    Nov 15, 07 at 2:16 pm

    American Express Customer Service is outrageous in Canada. I bought some travel checks in EUR and I wasn’t able to cash them, although American Express assured me they are like cash in every country working with euro. It took me 1 day to find out a bank that would cash them in Sardinia and that was time taken from my already short vacation. Of course I asked retailers if I could pay in checks and they were hearing about those for the first time.
    I spoke to their “Customer service” representative and she promised to have someone call me back. I am still waiting for that call after 2 months. The problems is I am stuck with my EUR in their “system”. In my opinion this is a very well thought hoax.

  5. Karott said:

    Jul 28, 08 at 5:26 pm

    American Express Customer Non-Service is an experience that left me spitting nails! I called up to inquire about my membership fee. It was $95 this year when I had been charged $30 over the past several years because I had an additional AMEX account. When I finally got a live person on the phone, this kid was so officious I wanted to spank him! He told me that I had never been charged $30 for my annual fee, it was always $85 and they just raised it $10. I told him I believed he was wrong and that I would dig up my bills and call a supervisor back. I did this–$30/year for four years running–the little snot-nosed brat lied–he didn’t look up anything or even try! I called back and asked for a CS Manager, which I supposedly received. She argued the point as well, but admitted that I was correct about the $30. I had been told years earlier that the “Blue” card I had would suffice in tying to my Gold card and would allow me to keep the annual renewal down to $30/year–so I cancelled my other Gold card (yes, there were two) over two years ago. What this CS Manager had the nerve to tell me was that they finally ‘caught’ me with the discounted amount and thus were charging me accordingly. I asked her to reconsider the discount this year, as I had not been told the BLue card was not eligible, but in fact, the opposite, as exhibited by the fact that for two years running they had given me the discount. I told her I would be happy to pay the full fee next year as now I know the policy. She would not give me the discount and would not budge. I asked her was she willing to loose a 17 year customer in good standing over $65? Apparently she is, as she stood her ground over the discount. They are loosing a LOT more than $65 a year now. I used my card for EVERYTHING. I will now use my MasterCard and I will tell everyone I know about the lack of customer care and willingness to compromise in order to keep good customers–in other words, they don’t give a rat’s patoot about any of their customers. Good riddance AMEX! For the past year their customer ‘service’ has been bleak at best. I will laugh when they announce bankruptcy because their customers all jump ship.
    NOTE TO AMEX: You can’t treat your customers like dogs and expect to stay in business. Your customers will leave and they will tell 10 friends, and they will tell 10 friends, and so on and so on…Hope is was worth $65 to you.

  6. Aimee said:

    Sep 25, 08 at 9:10 pm

    I am sooooo fed up with Amex at this point. My mother and I own a small business (3 women’s clothing stores). One of our vendors took it upon themselves to charge $5000 to our Amex card (from a number we gave them and told them to use once and dispose of 2 years prior)- after the first charge of $1900 I called Amex IMMEDIATELY to dispute the charge, explaining that we did not ever give him permission to charge the card, and that we had canceled the order. THEN they approve him to charge an additional $3300 two weeks later!!!! – That was in March, it’s now almost October. WE NEVER GOT THE CLOTHES, AND AMEX FOUND WITH THEM 4 TIMES saying we owe the money!!!! SO AWFUL! 2) ANOTHER vendor charged $11000 to our card and sent us $7000 worth of goods, admitted to it, AND STILL AMEX is doing NOTHING, they said I HAVE TO SETTLE IT! THEY DON’T STAND BEHIND THEIR CUSTOMERS! Between my mom and I we spent upwards of $350,000 a year on the card… no longer, we canceled them!

    Note: when we called “customer service” 98 times now, and spending countless hours we were made to feel like thieves! Honestly! DISGUSTING!

    I don’t know what had happened to that company, but it’s NOT the old Amex, that’s for sure!