American Express celebrates 100 years of being at the forefront of premium customer service in Hong Kong
One of the world’s most recognised premium payment service brands, American Express, marks its 100th anniversary in Hong Kong by further elevating its elite customers’ experiences.
American Express’ unique global infrastructure inspires unparalleled customer trust: it is the only company with a strong, global presence across the entire payments chain. The brand has operations in more than 130 countries and is the world’s single largest card issuer with 117.8 million cards-in-force and worldwide billed business of more than US$1 trillion. Its annual revenue topped US$32.8 billion in 2015 and total assets exceed US$161 billion.
“As a global leader in customer service, we strive to understand our customers, treat them with respect and go the extra mile to help them,” says Y C Koh, President, Asia. “Our brand is associated with such values as integrity, trust and outstanding customer service. Our vision is to become the world’s most respected service brand.”
Excellent customer service helps drive sales. Two thirds of Hong Kong customers are willing to spend more (up to 12%) at businesses if they receive outstanding service, according to the “2015 American Express Customer Service Barometer.” Poor service can greatly hamper a company’s sales. More than half (56%) of Hong Kong consumers decide not to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase based purely on a poor service experience. They find it important that a customer service professional is courteous, polite and cordial in addressing them. More than 40 percent of consumers believe that the key attribute of an excellent customer service professional is efficiency. Companies in fact have a massive opportunity to transform service into a real game changer. They should look at service not as a cost, but as an investment in long- term customer relationships.
American Express is the payment service of choice among premium customers and its top-notch service has received recognition number of accolades. It has won the Award of the Inbound Contact Centre of the Year for five consecutive times from the Hong Kong Call Centre Association Awards. “We have been redefining customer service to transform every customer connection into an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the customer,” he notes.
Innovation in Amex’s DNA
Synonymous with innovation, over the years American Express has pioneered a number of payment service changes in Hong Kong. It launched the first ever Hong Kong Dollar Card in 1978, followed by the introduction of a Corporate Card in 1982. The American Express Membership Rewards program was unveiled in 1993, the first card-based rewards program in Hong Kong. In 1997, it launched Hong Kong’s first Platinum Card. Susanna Lee, Vice President and General Manager, Card Services, Hong Kong, says, “Hong Kong customers were among Asia’s first to be offered our most exclusive Centurion Card beginning in 2000, enjoying the ultimate customized personal service and lifestyle benefits.”
Last year, American Express unveiled its Blue Cash Credit Card, tapping into Hong Kong’s young aspiring affluent consumer segment.
The next step in cutting-edge payment technology will be American Express’ partnership with Apple Pay which will be available to its Card Members in 2016. “It is critical to be at the forefront in providing seamless and innovative payment solutions for our Card Members. We are pleased to be able to deliver on that with Apple Pay,” she continues. “Card Members holding American Express-issued Cards will be able to seamlessly add their eligible American Express Cards and pay with their iPhone or Apple Watch in stores where contactless payments and American Express are accepted. When paying with Apple Pay, Card Members will continue to get all the protection and customer service they expect from us.”
A trusted global brand
With its heritage anchored on a commitment to premium customer service, American Express has developed into a trusted and powerful global brand. The company has the best customer base of any payment company. “On average, our Card Members spend about four times of the market average,” Koh says. “And we have the highest credit quality among major card issuers. We earn loyalty of our high-spending customers by providing them with industry-leading products, services, rewards and benefits.”
Being an innovative premium service provider, American Express understands the importance of sustainability and has also created a caring workplace distinguished by its embrace of gender diversity. The company is also committed in helping employees optimize their growth opportunities in every stage of their career and unlock as well as maximize the talents’ leadership potential for building them into future leaders.
American Express has been named Best Employer in Hong Kong by Aon Hewitt for five consecutive times, the Best Company for Women by Aon Hewitt and the Best Employer for Women by the AmCham Women of Influence. “I believe that having a growth mindset and strong will to win is the key to succeeding regardless of your gender,” Koh says. Mr. Koh is American Express’ highest ranking executive in Asia, who has spent his entire career in the region. His presence in Hong Kong as President of Asia highlights the brand’s commitment to the business and talent development both in Hong Kong and Asia.
Given its impeccable legacy and passion for innovation to bring premium customer experience to new heights, American Express is firmly on its path to becoming the “most respected service brand in the world”.