I was a “member” of American Express for 35 years. No more. And Amex doesn’t give a shit. So fine. We’re well rid of each other.
Tonight I had a fraud call, finding false charges made on my account in Brazil. It’s a great thing that they caught this. Amex took care of it. The person I talked to couldn’t send me a new card. That was the first of many unempowered employees I spoke with.
I stopped using my Amex cards, apart from automated billings, months ago. The first problem was that it no longer gave me Continental miles. OK; I don’t know whose fault that is. The next problem was that they started tacking on fees for foreign exchange (in addition to the markup the get on the currency conversion). That’s bullshit. For years, they taught us that the best way to deal with foreign exchange was to use the card. No more.
I’ve charged a fortune of personal and business exchanges on Amex over the years. Suddenly, I stopped. If they had customer-service data mining worth a damn, they’d have found that and contacted me to see what was wrong. No. Tonight, I told them what was wrong.
I thought they’d try to retain me as a customer. The first person only tried to sell me a platinum card for $400 a year. Oh, yes, I’m unhappy, and now I’m going to spend *more* with Amex. Is that what you have to say to me? Well, the woman said, she was not authorized to do any more. So she transferred me to the next person, who supposedly was.
He only tried to sell me Amex travel services. He would do nothing more. “Retain me,” I offered. No, he said. (And I wasn’t even nasty. Oh, yes, I can be. But I wasn’t. Since my heart problems, I’ve stopped getting my blood pressure up on calls such as these.)
I got disconnected. Accident?
I called back to get a card sent to me. Instead, I just canceled. Again, no one cared. I had to get transferred one *more* time to deal with transferring my many, many miles to my Continental account.
That’s that. A 35-year customer relationship with untold thousands of dollars of business gone. And no one in Amex could care. No one was empowered or motivated to talk me out of it, only to try to upsell me as I walked out the door.
When Amex calls me a “member” it’s a joke. Always has been. Membership means something. It means that I’m part of a group that cares about me and that I care about. That’s not American Express.
Members is how every business should be looking at the people formerly known as customers today. American Express makes a mockery of the word.