Few things instill fear and dread more in people than having to contact their credit card company’s customer service department.  Whether it’s a billing issue, a lost card or an impending cancellation, many customers procrastinate initiating the inevitably unpleasant conversation that follows.

However, one company has completely revamped its customer service program, and what used to be an awful experience for callers has become a tool for building customer confidence and loyalty.  So keep on reading for an inspirational story that could help you change the way you do business!

A New Way of Thinking

In a recent interview with Fortune published on CNN, Jim Bush, the new American Express executive vice president of world service, dropped the age-old idea of measuring customer service success with call volume.  While it’s great not to leave customers hanging on hold, questions unanswered, Bush pioneered a new thought process within his company and instead declared that the most important question when concluding a call with customers was, “Would you recommend this company to a friend?”

After all, isn’t that what gets companies more business?  Great reviews on sites like Yelp often mean the difference between companies that succeed and those that waste away.  So how can you make sure that customers will pass along their recommendation of your business?

The Basics of Great Call Center Customer Support

Bush took it upon himself to overhaul the customer service representative training program at American Express.  He essentially shredded those robotic scripts we’re all so apt to hear when we call customer service departments or mistakenly answer calls at home from telemarketers.  Unlike many credit card companies, American Express no longer uses scripts at all.

These days, the primary focus of each customer interaction is to build a relationship with the individual.  Forgetting about the dollar signs that many VPs are apt to obsess over, Bush made an “investment in building relationships.”  Customer service reps were renamed “customer care professionals,” and were trained in the art of the conversation.  Now, rather than rushing or crawling through a pre-planned transaction, AmEx customer care professionals allow individuals to decide how long they’d like to remain on the call and are happy to stay on the line until every question is answered.

Measuring Success

Bush relies on surveys that customers are asked to respond to after every interaction with a customer care professional.  The scores on these surveys then drive incentives for the reps, which in turn makes them strive to treat customers with the utmost respect and kindness.

American Express not only has nearly immediate feedback on each interaction with which to measure their success, but in tracking the company’s stock, they can actually see that the revitalization of the customer service program has resulted in a 10 to 15% increase in business.  And that’s not something to scoff at!

Whether your company relies solely on a call center, online ticketing or a combination of the two, you can take a cue from Jim Bush and his views on customer care.  While basic scripts can be useful in certain training situations, placing an emphasis on building a relationship with the customer in need will almost always have a positive outcome that inspires happy customers to share their great experience and pass it on!