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Here is another lesson from The Amazement Revolution.  It focuses on the first customer service strategy in the book, which is about providing a “membership” experience. The concept behind membership has nothing to do with calling your customers “members,” although nothing is wrong with that.  Regardless of whether you call your customer a customer, client, guest, patient or some other phrase, membership delivers recognition and a high level of value that is not easily available elsewhere. American Express is an amazing role model for the membership strategy.  They actually refer to their customers as members and have the motto: Membership has its privileges.  Jim Bush, their Executive VP of World Service, says, “We create a membership, which our card members treat as a badge of honor.  It’s not elitist.  It’s inclusive.  It means they are appreciated and have the right, and expect to be served in a premium regard.” To most people, American Express appears to be a credit card company.  In reality, they are a premium service company.  Pay a fee for their product, which gets you their card, and you receive a host of premium products and services that range from an awards program, dining privileges, the ability to purchase tickets to exclusive theatre engagements, access to airport clubs and more.

Here’s the lesson:

Start by thinking of your customers as members.  Remember, you don’t have to call them “members” to do this.  Just treat them as such.  Words I use to describe a membership experience include recognition, inclusion, special access, unique programs and more.  Any business can find a way to incorporate some of this into their own customer service strategy. There are a number of membership strategies I could write about here, but this short article would become a small book.  If you haven’t done so, I urge you to click on the link below, read the chapter on American Express, and learn how this company turns its customers into members.  It won’t cost you a penny, but I know it will be a valuable investment of your time. 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. (Copyright ©MMXI, Shep Hyken)

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