American Express transformed its customer service by transitioning from a transaction oriented culture to a customer relationship development culture.
Call-center customer service has become a finely honed discipline, but usually it seems honed to cut time: The agent is superficially friendly, but nothing can derail that persons mission of getting you off the phone fast. Service at American Express AXP wasnt much different from that before Jim Bush was put in charge of it in 2005. His basic insight was that breaking with industry orthodoxy by transforming those conversations into less structured, more human engagements would pay off. Instead of evaluating service reps mainly by how quickly they got you off the phone, as many companies still do, he switched to the net promoter score developed by Bains Fred Reichheld. Its based on one question: Would you recommend this company to a friend? AmExs score has risen significantly under Bushs direction, and he was right — it pays off. Customer spending is up, attrition is down.