American Express Informative - If you think they treat customers bad...
If you think they treat customers bad, you should know how they treat their employees. I currently work in customer service for American Express and wanted to let you all know how unfair they are to their own employees.
There's a million things I could share, but the one that stands out most is how they grade our performance. There are only two pieces of information they use when determining if you do your job well. These pieces of information decide whether you stay or go, whether you get a bonus or not and whether you will ever be promoted to something above phone representative
When a customer calls in, they will receive an email survey on how the experience was and if they would recommend American Express to their friends. The survey's results are broken down into two parts: customer service and "refer to a friend". Under customer service, the customer grades the call on a scale from Poor to Excellent with things like Very Good and Fair in-between. If we do not get an excellent, our stats drop. Period. It matters not what is said in the comments. Only an excellent increases our stats and anything less, hurts our stats.
Next, the customer decides if they would refer a friend to American Express on a scale from 1-10, 10 meaning they would absolutely refer AMEX to a friend. If we do not get a 10, our stats drop. Period. It matters not what is said in the comments. Only 10's increase our stats and anything less, hurts our stats. Now, you should know that THIS is the part of the survey that affects our stats more because it's weighted more. Refer to a friend score is like 60% and customer service is 40%.
Now, here's where it gets interesting. The customer gets to write in comments all over the survey, anything they want about their experience or AMEX in general. Often times, I will get a survey come back that will be a "Very Good, 8" for example. Now, mind you this result actually brings my stats down. Then I will read the comments and they will say, "Customer service representative was very polite and helpful. My problem is not with her. AMEX voice response system is too confusing and it takes forever to get to a live person. Also, I don't go around recommending credit card companies to my friends." Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much for saying kind things about me, but giving me an 8 on refer to friend instead of 10. You have no idea Mr. Customer, that because of you, I will not be receiving a bonus and I may not get that position I've been eyeing in project management. Customer's also use this survey to complain about things that have happened to them in the past or on a previous call. They will even specifically say in the comments something like, "This is not about THIS call, but last month I tried to pay my bill online and your website gave me an error message...etc. I'm sick of your website giving me problems" Management doesn't look at those comments, they only care about the NUMBER we were given. In fact, EVERY SINGLE one of my surveys I have ever received that were less than Excellent/10, specifically stated in the comments that I was wonderful. I was pleasant, knowledgeable, helpful, polite..etc. However, the comments will go on to complain about an AMEX POLICY or the way our statements are printed. Or our voice response system. Or our website. Or that AMEX won't waive a late fee (which, by the way we reps don't decide. We don't make the decision to waive or not. We run your request though a web "tool" and either get approved or denied. Period. We don't get to determine on our own if we feel a waiver is justified regardless of your circumstance)....ANYWAY bottom line is these are things that are out of our control as reps. Yet, we still get punished for them. Now, I realize customers don't know this. They have no idea that what they score is a direct reflection on THAT representative and that representative alone. I feel bad for customers because if most of them knew this, they would grade reps (well at lease ME), perfect and then use the comments to rant because the comments don't affect my scores. That way, they could get their message accross, but not hurt the representative they just spoke to who was wonderful and did her best. What ends up happening is a lot of reps will say or do ANYTHING to get a good score. Meaning, they will say things the customer wants to hear knowing full well it can't be done because all we care about is what number you will put on that survey you get tomorrow. If you call back later because you were told something that wasn't true, what does the representative care?, he got his Excellent/10 out of you already. See, AMEX has put us reps between a rock and a hard place. We are forced to look out for ourselves and not the customer. It's a shame because I am damn good at my job. I've been in customer service for many years and treat people kindly and always sympathize with them. I am well spoken and polite. Customers love me. They do not love AMEX though and AMEX has found a way to make this MY fault and MY problem. For those of you who truly had a nasty rep, I am sorry. Those people deserve the Poor/1's you give them. I do not however. I have personally known reps that have been let go because their scores were too low. Each of these reps have had wonderful phone skills, always spoke gently and politely and truly cared. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was too many customers chose to take out their frustrations about AMEX policies on those rep's surveys. It not the customer's fault. Like I said many reps can be nasty and deserve those scores. MY customers who liked ME, but not something about AMEX and their policies had no idea when they chose to give the call an 8 or 9 or 1 or 2 or whatever... that it would hurt only me. Me personally. Me and only me.
They have set us reps up to fail by their stupid policies and money hungry ways. They know full well that the surveys should be an honest place for customer's to express their disappointments with THEM as a company, but they chose to put it on ONE rep's shoulders, even if it is clear the venting is not about how that one representative treated that customer or handled the call. They've done this so they have an excuse not to pay us well or promote us. Sad. I'm looking for a job more suited to reward me for treating people with kindness and respect, which is what I am good at and passionate about.
I really am sorry for all of you who have had terrible experience with customer service. You deserve better. And so do I.