otter wrote:I wrote a post a while back in which I asked if Amex has cheapened their brand and you hit the nail on the head. It used to be you would get exceptional customer service no matter what Amex card you had. Sure, you might not get as incredible of an experience as someone with a platinum card, but you always got off the phone with someone who not only cared, but also understood you. If you have a green card, a PRG, or a revolver (especially one with no AF), you might as well be speaking to Crap One or GE Credit reps.
They really have. I'm not saying they're horrible or anything but there was a time when they were a premium card and offered premium service. This was back in the days before the Platinum Card and having a Gold Card was something special.
I think their customer service quality started going down with the introduction of the Optima Cards. I remember applying for one around 1990 and thinking, "Great! An American Express card that I can run a balance on if I need to." The difference in dealing with the regular American Express folks (Green/Gold/Platinum) and the Optima folks was night and day. Always had a good experience with the charge card people. At best it was OK with the credit card side.
Since then they've muddied their name more with allowing other banks to use their network so "American Express" doesn't necessarily mean that you're dealing directly with American Express, but you may just be dealing with an intermediary bank. This isn't necessarily bad but it did muddy the waters a bit.
I think they've also muddied the waters with having too diverse of a product line - just the line offered by American Express itself. I just went to their site and counted 38 separate cards. I mean, think about it - they have two types of gold charge cards. How does that make any sense?
The point being that it used to be:
- Amex Green (charge) - Just about anyone could get but it was an upper-end card
- Amex Gold (charge) - Fewer people had these but it gave you superior customer service and some perks
- Amex Platinum (charge) - you used to have to be invited to it. Few were out in the wild.
That approach gave them a sort of elite status. Now, no one cares. Amex really isn't any different than Visa or MasterCard. It's just another icon on a card in someone's wallet to most people.
Further, I really can't remember the last time I saw someone with an actual Amex charge card in their wallet or in use. Most people have a co-branded card when it comes to Amex like Delta Gold or the Hilton or Costco versions. This actually makes some sense. I really can't justify their regular charge cards any longer and I figure that's the same with most people.
I'm not saying Amex did anything wrong with any of this. I just think it's interesting how it has all changed. Most people try to do everything online now with regards to their account. I avoid calling in, if at all possible, because I don't want to talk to someone on the phone. If anything, I'd rather just do an online chat with them so that my intent is clear and it is clear what they are saying.