American Express: A new definition for superb customer service
More prestigious lifestyle experience than payment service, the impeccable personalised privileges enjoyed by American Express’ Centurion members and the trend-setting benefits for Blue Cash members redefine industry standards worldwide.
Renowned Chinese antique specialist William Chak, founder of Chak’s Co Ltd, has been a Centurion Member for a dozen years. Mr Chak enjoys celebrity status in Mainland China: he is the chief antique appraiser on Beijing TV’s popular weekly show “Tianxia Shoucang” (World Collection), drawing tens of millions of viewers. World-class customer service is what he excels in. At the recent International Antiques Fair organised by his company, Mr Chak attentively listened to clients’ enquiries and gave detailed expert advice, while happily posing for snapshots with scores of fans. “A remarkable service provider should maintain a positive image and try his best in satisfying customers’ reasonable requests,” he says.
Mr Chak is a highly self-demanding individual: already a globally esteemed expert in his specialised field, he spent four years flying between Hong Kong and Beijing every week to pursue a Masters Degree in Chinese Archaeology at Peking University (considered the world’s best) in the early 2000s. He has equally exacting requirements for premium payment services. “I have had over 30 credit cards over the years. The customer service offered by Centurion is the best … it provides incredible convenience,” he notes.
To the select few, Centurion offers holistic card services which are now synonymous with prestige and the ultimate in lifestyle services: each Card Member is assigned a designated Relationship Manager delivering a comprehensive range of unrivalled personalised privileges. Travel, hotel and exclusive dining privileges are just a few benefits enjoyed by Centurion Members.
These personalised privileges complement Mr Chak’s jet-setter lifestyle. With an international clientele, he needs to entertain VIPs wherever he is. “Once we needed to throw a dinner party for an important client in Beijing at the last minute. Only the capital’s most exclusive restaurant would do. I immediately called my Centurion Relationship Manager who was in Hong Kong,” Chak recalls. “In no time, she came up with several options, which only welcome Centurion Members. After we decided on a restaurant, she helped us secure a table and arranged everything. We had a fabulous time.”
The prestige of Centurion is evident in another example. A friend of Mr Chak’s found his credit cards were not accepted as he tried to pay for a last-minute birthday present at a top international brand’s shop in Beijing. “It was a fine watch costing hundreds of thousands of US dollars. Out of desperation, he called me for help as I happened to be in town,” he says.
“I went over to the shop and paid with my Centurion card. It was promptly accepted, with absolutely no question asked,” he says, still relishing that extraordinary experience. “I simply sauntered into the shop, made the payment and left with my happy friend carrying the birthday present.”
Centurion Relationship Managers are the single contact point, connecting Card Members with the comprehensive one-stop custom-made services. Different time zones and geographical regions are no barrier to the meticulous 24/7 services delivered by the Relationship Managers. “If there is an emergency, my Centurion Relationship Manager delivers solutions promptly. I was once at an auction in New York City and needed to make a multi- million payment at 4pm local time. I called her up in Hong Kong and she was on the job immediately. The transaction was completed smoothly. I was totally satisfied. –The professional services provided by the Relationship Manager shows genuine care to our business and anticipates our needs … that’s great service.”
“Centurion’s services are exceptional and personalised and I feel attached to it,” Mr Chak says. “I do not consider any other payment service providers or compare the services. It’s just unnecessary.”
Blue Cash - service for the chic
American Express’ Blue Cash credit card has been tailored to meet the needs of today’s cool and smart consumers. Among the first batch of Blue Cash Card Members is Cecilia Ngan, or No. 7, a celebrity illustrator. Cecilia has built a following among the hip and young with her blog posts sharing unique lifestyle discoveries and trend insights.
“I was first attracted by Blue Cash’s stylish appearance,” says the fashion-conscious Cecilia. “Every time I pay with my Blue Cash card, it just inspires envy from my friends.”
Blue Cash offers great savings for Card Members: every purchase made with Blue Cash, locally or abroad, carries 1-percent cash back. “Blue Cash Card Members enjoy many privileges and special offers at trendy, hip restaurants and other retailers which are really relevant and useful to me. Once a restaurant put my order on the house and took snapshot of me and friends.”
Great customer service should be delivered from the heart, Cecilia believes. “Calls to the Blue Cash Card Member hotline are always promptly answered by live service executives. They are invariably warm, genuine and courteous … I can almost ‘feel’ their smiles at the other end of the line.” At American Express, Card Members are served under the Relationship Care philosophy – serving customers, not transactions. The company is continuing to enhance the customer experience to become the world’s most respected service brand.
Constantly in the quest for providing outstanding customer service, American Express sees each interaction with the Card Members as a moment to create more loyalty and value. The company pledges to continue innovating and listening to the voice of the Card Members, in order to identify ways to strengthen its position as a service leader.