American Express, also known as Amex is an American multinational financial services corporation known for its credit card, charge card and traveler's cheque businesses.
American Express, also known as Amex is an American multinational financial services corporation known for its credit card, charge card and traveler’s cheque businesses. American Express also provides corporate payment solutions that help organizations contour expense management processes and transform them into opportunities for savings. Financial Express Online got a chance to speak to Pradeep Kapur, Sr Vice President & GM, Global Customer Fulfillment Network, Japan & Asia Pacific, and Global Process Excellence, American Express on various issues from consumer experience to brand loyalty. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q1. Being a global brand, how American Express maintains superior consumer experience owing to changing dynamics and parameters of customer expectations in different markets? How do you benchmark it?
At American Express, our vision of becoming the world’s most respected service brand is the touchstone that drives everything we do. Inextricably linked to this vision is our belief that American Express employees are ambassadors of our brand, and because they feel that they are valued, respected, supported and given opportunities to develop, their pride in working here runs deep. American Express has always been a leader in delivering excellent service which makes us a brand that for over a century and a half has been synonymous with trust, integrity and superior service.
We’ve been on a journey to redefine customer care at American Express, and we’ve been working for several years to turn every customer connection into an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the customer. At the core of our transformation is our unique Relationship Care brand of service. Relationship Care is our service philosophy at American Express, an ethos that says we serve customers, not transactions.
Q2. How important is good customer experience when compared with good product quality and best value proposition to garner brand loyalty in today’s time?
In today’s highly competitive world a customer is likely to buy a product basis good product quality and value for money attribute. What makes him or her stay loyal to a brand is the experience that he or she associates with the brand. When we talk about great quality and best value then we should also look at completing the matrix by providing great customer experience. Customer experience is the element that makes customers to carry on the relationship with the brand and provides a differentiating factor in today’s aggressive product market.
Q3. What are the best mediums/platforms that have empowered consumers to sort their most diverse enquiries at one go?
We operate with our core philosophy of ‘American Express is where its customers are’ and this drives ‘Relationship Care’ and our commitment to engaging customers the way they want to be engaged. This means being where they need us. Every customer has his or her own comfort level with different communication channels. Some are comfortable with social media channels since it’s effortless, on the other hand some feel reassured when they speak to a customer care professional. In a world that is increasingly connected by mobile and digital devices, an important part of our Relationship Culture is to allow customers’ needs and preferences to drive the dialogue. We believe all the customer engagement platforms should be equally effective and should empower customers to solve their most diverse queries. The trick is to let customers choose how they want to connect with a brand.
Q4. Do you think Indian customers’ mentality and expectations have changed over the last few years? If yes then please highlight the changes and the factors that have triggered them.
According to American Express Customer Service Barometer report which was released in 2015, Indian consumers have become more demanding in terms of engagement, personalization and a human touch from the companies they do business with or whose services they avail. They have higher expectations from brands when it comes to service. It was a firmed up notion that for Indian consumers price point is a huge consideration while making a decision. But the Customer Service Barometer, which was conducted in three Asian markets, revealed that Indian consumers are likely to spend more with brands they believe provides excellent customer service. They are also more likely to reject brands that do not perform as per their expectations and deliver poor service. This is primarily not just because they have higher spending capacity but also because now consumers have variety of options. They are also well travelled, have finer tastes and wider exposure so they aspire for great product quality as well as great experience.
Q5. Please share some insights from recent trends that you may have witnessed in terms of customer service in India?
Mobile penetration in India has increased considerably and brands are fast recognizing the need to go mobile. They are beefing up their chat processes to cater to their customers on mobile platform. For example, American Express now receives a considerable percentage of queries through chat. Customer service is now seen as a brand building tool instead of a cost centre. Companies today realize the significance of excellence in customer service and hence are focusing on right people, processes and platforms to achieve this objective. Brands including American Express are now giving greater control to consumers on the quality of their experiences.