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Today I received an amazing customer service experience from American Express.  My cell phone rang and it was an Amex customer services representative calling to ask me to verify some of the recent charges I had made.  The pattern looked like my card had been compromised and there were fraudulent charges in the past 12 hours. Sure enough, after several questions, it was determined that there were about a dozen charges from the other side of the world that I had not made.  Someone had “stolen” my number and was going on a spending spree. The customer services rep assured me that I would not be responsible for any of those charges.  She informed me that the account would be closed and I would receive another card in the next 24 hours.  The only problem was that I was going to be in Dallas that evening, staying at a hotel for a speech the next morning.  That didn’t deter her at all.  She simply asked if it would be okay to send the card to the hotel.  It would be there by 10:30 am or sooner at the front desk. WOW!

Here is what makes this a great lesson in amazing customer service:

  1. They were proactive in solving my problem.  Had they not taken the initiative, I wouldn’t have known the problem existed until my next bill came.  By then, who knows how much would have been illegally charged to my credit card?
  2. My problem became their problem.  They took ownership of the problem.  I didn’t have to do anything but accept their help and support.
  3. They came up with an immediate solution to get me a replacement card with a new number, even though I wasn’t going to be at home.
  4. This is “business as usual.”  What I realized shortly after the call was that American Express does this every day for their cardholders, also known as members.  They do this all of the time.  They have a system and a procedure to protect their members, and that’s reassuring.

This is more than customer service.  This is confidence creation.  Confidence comes from trusting a company.  A company’s product has to work, its people have to create a great service experience, and it has to be consistent.  It has to be good all of the time, not some of the time.  The goal is for the customer to “own” the experience.  And when that experience is consistently better than average, the company is operating in the zone of Amazement.  American Express has amazed me!

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

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